Belarus comes into the 2010 Olympics ranked 8th, the highest ranking this nation has ever had. Of course, they are still remembered for their miracle run in 2002 where they eventually fell to the powerful Russians in the bronze medal game after their miracle victory in the semi-finals over power house Sweden.
After that amazing finish they fell on hard times, doing as poorly as 18th just 2 years later in the World Championship tournament. The last 4 years have shown some promise as they have finished 6th, 11th, 9th & 8th just last year.
These Olympics they are going in looking to improve on the standings they have reached currently. They certainly realize another medal game isnt likely, but with 2002 still fresh in the minds of many, they will still try for another miracle run. They have a few NHLers scattered thru the line up, but they are not realistically going to be a huge threat to the top tier of teams again.
Andrei Mezin- MINSK DYNAMO (KHL)- The man behind the miracle 2002 run is still seen as the overwhelming #1 for this team.
Vitali Koval- MINSK DYNAMO (KHL)- A back up to Andrei in the KHL, Vitali will fill the same role here too.
Stepan Goryachevskikh- YUNOST MINSK (BELARUS)- Unlikely to get much if any playing time, he has been one of the better goalies in Belarus & is young enough that the experience of being here will pay off for the country down the road when Mezin retires.
Ruslan Salei- COLORADO AVALANCHE (NHL) As the sole member of his teams defense core in the NHL, Ruslan will be expected to take on big time minutes.
Vladimir Denisov- MINSK DYNAMO (KHL)- Putting up decent numbers in the KHL this year after a reasonable year in the AHL last season.. Probably will get lots of PP time.
Sergei Kolosov- GRAND RAPID GRIFFINS (AHL) His year & 1/2 of AHL play is enough to give him a notable spot on this team.
Alexander Makritsky- MINSK DYNAMO (KHL)- If healthy, he is on the team. Only 3 GP so far this year though.
Viktor Kostyuchenok- MOSCOW SPARTAK (KHL). A trade this season has slowed his offensive game, but he should still be on this team in some role.
Dmitri Korobov- UNKNOWN (last in KHL). At 20 yrs old & 6'6, he should be a lock for the team...even though I cant find where he is playing this season if anywhere. Maybe in Belarusian league? Hard finding stats from there.
Alexander Riadinski- UNKNOWN. Probably in Belarus. Was on their World Championship team last year & played the most minutes of any of their dmen. This gives me reason to believe he'll be there for 2010.
Andrei Antonov- MINSK DYNAMO (KHL) By default of being in a major pro league, he will fill out the defense core.
Mikhail Grabovski- TORONTO MAPLE LEAFS (NHL) The teams top offensive weapon will be expected to get along with his countrymen the Kostitsyn brothers, there is unfriendly feelings between them.
Andrei Kostitsyn- MONTREAL CANADIENS (NHL) Having a slight downturn offensively this year, Andrei will still be expected to take top line ice time.
Sergei Kostitsyn- MONTREAL CANADIENS (NHL) Where Andrei is, Sergei will be there too. Whether its supporting Grabovski, or on their own line is still to be answered.
Konstantin Koltsov- UFA SALAVAT YUALYEV (KHL)- A very good 2 way player will be expected to be a leader for the team & probably will be out there in all situations.
Alexei Kalyuzhny- MOSCOW DYNAMO (KHL)- Will likely be on the 2nd line. Just a question of with who.
Oleg Antonenko- MINSK DYNAMO (KHL)- a trade this season has possibly hindered his chances some, but even at 38, he is still producing decent enough numbers to see a spot on the team in one of the top 3 lines.
Alexei Ugarov- BALASHIKHA MVD HC (KHL)- Will be a suitable 3rd liner who can take 2nd line minutes if needed.
Sergei Demagin- NIZHNEKAMSK NEFTEKHIMIK (KHL). An early season trade away from Minsk has lit a fire under him. Gone from 1 pt in 7 GP to 19 pts in 23 GP since the trade.
Dmitry Meleshko- MINSK DYNAMO (KHL) First full year in Minsk is showing that he can produce offensively. Defensive game will be what they will probably require of him here though.
Dmitry Dudik- MINSK DYNAMO (KHL)- Has taken his role as a 3rd liner well, and will be expected such duties on this team will be within his capabilities.
Roman Voloshenko- UNKNOWN. A once promising top NHL prospect, Roman has quite literally fallen off the major hockey map. I'm assuming hes in Belarus, but not sure. I cant find anything about him having any career ending injury. So I am assuming hes still playing. I am putting him here purely on the fact he was a capable AHL scorer only a few seasons ago. Could be off the team if is regression has actually been this severe.
Sergei Zadelenov- MINSK DYNAMO (KHL)- playing checking line role in Minsk means a good chance he'll get that call on this squad as well.
Yarloslav Chupris- MINSK DYNAMO (KHL) Top scorer on Minsk last season has TWO whole points this year. Might make team based on last seasons performance.
maybes- Ivan Usenko, Aleksandr Zhurik, Andrei Mikhalev, Sergei Drozd, Sergei Kukushkin, Evgeny Kurilin.
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