Feb 10, 2014, 9:00 PM EDT
Undermanned Slovakia had its first practice in Sochi on Monday, and wasted no time getting Chicago sniper Marian Hossa onto one of its top lines.
The line unites Hossa — the leading Slovak scorer in the NHL this season with 50 points in 55 games — with the 23-year-old Tatar, who has a career-high 13 goals and 24 points this season. Handzus, the oldest player on the Slovakian team, will center the two.
The other Slovak lines, per Hokej.cz:
Branko Radivojevic-Tomas Kopecky-Tomas Jurco/Peter Olvecky
Milan Bartovic-Tomas Surovy-Michel Miklik
Richard Panik-Tomas Marcinko-Marcel Hossa/Tomas Zaborsky
On defense, the team loaded up its top pairing with Boston captain Zdeno Chara and Carolina’s Andrej Sekera, who is enjoying a banner season for the ‘Canes. The other pairings were Andrej Meszaros-Ivan Baranka, Martin Marincin-Milan Jurcina and Tomas Starosta-Rene Vydardeny.
The Slovaks were dealt a pair of major blows leading up to Sochi, losing the services of Marian Gaborik (broken collarbone) and Lubomir Visnovsky (concussion). For a country with just 14 active NHLers, losing two as talented as Gaborik and Visnovsky really thins out the overall talent pool, and Slovakia has been forced to call up KHLers Radivojevic and Starosta as replacements.
- Report: Leiweke to head up Olympic bid in Los Angeles 6
- In praise of John Tavares 14
- It’s New York Islanders Day at PHT 21
- McDavid on teams possibly tanking for him: ‘It’s pretty crazy’ 18
- Fanspeak: Lemieux (stunner!) voted greatest Penguin in franchise history 39
- Under Pressure: Mike Johnston 17
- It’s Pittsburgh Penguins Day at PHT 33
- Captain no more: Sharks strip Thornton of ‘C’ 47
- Tank defense: NHL changes up Draft Lottery format 55
- Fanspeak: Clarke voted greatest Flyer in franchise history 36