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Three countries qualify for Olympics, finalize tournament brackets

Feb 11, 2013, 8:59 AM EST

BUFFALO, NY - FEBRUARY 07: Thomas Vanek #26 of the Buffalo Sabres celebrates after scoring a shootout goal against Peter Budaj #30 of the Montreal Canadiens on February 7, 2013 at the First Niagara Center in Buffalo, New York. Buffalo defeated Montreal, 4-3, in an overtime shootout. (Photo by Bill Wippert/NHLI via Getty Images) Getty Images

Slovenia, Latvia, and Austria will all get to participate in the men’s hockey tournament of the upcoming 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi after winning their respective qualifying brackets, according to TSN and the NHL.com.

Assuming the NHL participates in the games, that means Buffalo Sabres forward and current NHL scoring leader Thomas Vanek will get to represent his native Austria. He’ll likely be joined by New York Islanders forward Michael Grabner.

Slovenia is equally thin when it comes to NHL talent, but they’re also projected to be led by a superstar. Anze Kopitar played a big role in the Los Angeles Kings’ 2012 Stanley Cup run and he now should have the opportunity to represent his country on the biggest international stage.

Unfortunately, Latvia doesn’t have an NHL star to rally around. 24-year-old forward Kaspars Daugavins is the only Latvian on an NHL active roster. Daugavins has an assist in five games with the Ottawa Senators this season.

Latvia will join Group C and play against Switzerland, Sweden, and the Czech Republic.

Group B will feature Canada, Finland, Norway, and Austria.

Finally, Slovenia and Kopitar will have their work cut out for them in a group that contains the United States, Slovakia, and Russia.

Related:

PHT Extra: How do Team USA, Canada, Russia look a year before the Olympics?

  1. derrico2 - Feb 11, 2013 at 9:16 AM

    You do realize Vanek is Austrian and not Slovanian right?

    • Ryan Dadoun - Feb 11, 2013 at 9:35 AM

      Vanek was correctly listed as Austrian in the second paragraph. I made a mistake in the final paragraph and it has since been corrected. Thank you.

  2. ethanmacleod1685 - Feb 11, 2013 at 9:22 AM

    Kopitar is Slovenian

  3. Lotārs - Feb 11, 2013 at 9:46 AM

    Former NHL player, Sandis Ozolinsh was the main person that Latvia was due to Sochi!

  4. chasestern - Feb 11, 2013 at 9:55 AM

    The headline should read: three wins for every other team just added to Sochi Olympics.

    • greatminnesotasportsmind - Feb 11, 2013 at 3:12 PM

      Because upsets never happen. Just ask Canada who I believed lost to power house Belarus. Or Russia who looked god awful at Vancouver

  5. bardown66 - Feb 11, 2013 at 11:12 AM

    I know it’s big for these countries, but USA, Canada, Russia, and sweden will all kill them. I’ll never understand the “happy to be here” attitude

  6. sheapuck - Feb 11, 2013 at 11:21 AM

    So if you were offered a spot on any USA Olympic team roster knowing full well that you would sit on the bench the whole time, you wouldn’t take it?

  7. sknut - Feb 11, 2013 at 12:19 PM

    I wonder how the groups are arranged the US group looks tough with Russia and Slovkia and Slovenia and Canada gets Finland and Austria and Norway, just seems strange unless there is a particular order to how these things work out.

    • buckyblackhawk - Feb 11, 2013 at 12:31 PM

      Teams are seeded based on performance in world championships that happen during the playoffs.

      • sknut - Feb 11, 2013 at 1:24 PM

        Ah that clears it up. Thanks for the info. So the better you do the easier path you should have. Should be fun either way. I love the NHL guys in the Olympics.

      • greatminnesotasportsmind - Feb 11, 2013 at 3:15 PM

        Pool A has teams seeded 1, 6, 7, and 12

        Pool B has teams seeded 2, 5, 8 and 11

        Pool C has teams seeded 3, 4, 9, and 10

        At least that’s how it was for Vancouver

      • buckyblackhawk - Feb 11, 2013 at 3:28 PM

        Correct, they used the standings after this past World Championship in Sweden/Finland. I believe it is a rolling standing, so it didn’t go straight off how teams finished in the last championship.

        Slovkia looked pretty tough in Finland last year. Norway should not be taken lightly as well.

  8. hockeyflow33 - Feb 11, 2013 at 1:52 PM

    How quickly can I obtain citizenship in Latvia?

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