Wednesday, May 19, 2004
Team Slovakia's World Cup Roster Nominations Announced
www.hokej.sk reports that coach Jan Filc has released his World Cup 2004 nominations for Team Slovakia.
As I expected, this line-up is heavy on NHL and North-American talent.
The only player without NHL/NA experience would be center Miroslav Hlinka, who won�t be at all familiar to North American hockey fans.
Basically, Hlinka is a smooth-skating defensive center who is adept on face-offs. He�ll be expected to have a key role in shutting down opposing centers and killing penalties. He�s too old to be drafted now, and he doesn�t put up great offensive numbers, so don�t expect to see much of him on this side of the Atlantic again.
My projected line combos:
#1 goalie � Jan Lasak
Backup � Rastislav Stana
3rd goalie � Peter Budaj
Lubo Visnovsky - Zdeno Ch�ra
Martin Strbak � Richard Lintner
Ivan Majesky � Rado Suchy
Reserves: Jaroslav Obsut - Branislav Mezei
Reserves: Orsz�gh, Somik, Radivojevic
This is a line-up very heavy on speed and skill, and short of grit, size and sandpaper. The Canadians might take them to the cleaners, if they can catch up with them ;)
Just 2 quibbles with this roster:
1. Ronald Petrovicky � I was quite surprised to see both Radivojevic and Somik taken over Petrovicky. Ronald is the type of pesky and gritty player that would be perfect for the 4th line in a tournament like this, and he played well this year for Atlanta and with Slovakia at the World Championships.
2. On defence, I don't really like the pick of the unlucky Jaroslav Obsut, as much as I like the guy.
Eurovet Ladislav Cierny had a great World Championships (as he usually does), and I would have taken him or Lubomir Sekeras over Obsut.
Brano Mezei also had a hella-weak performance World Championships, and he's not as well developed as expected when Mad Mike Milbury took him 10th overall in the 1999 draft. The reserve roster spot would have been better spent on a defender who can be more useful this time around, especially since Majesky might be too slow to handle the fast-paced play in this tournament.
I�ve heard comments that the Slovakian defence looks weak overall, but this unit has traditionally played better than the sum of its parts in International competitions. As long as Richie Lintner doesn�t go too crazy on the offensive forays, this unit should hold its own.