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Lightning prospect Gudlevskis could start in goal for Latvia

Feb 11, 2014, 6:37 PM EDT

Kristers Gudlevskis AP

BUFFALO — Latvia coach Ted Nolan has an interesting choice on his hand as to who starts in goal at the 2014 Sochi Olympics. The favorites to get the job are 33-year Edgars Masalskis and Tampa Bay Lightning rookie Kristers Gudlevskis.

Nolan spoke with PHT before leaving for Sochi and while he wouldn’t tip his hand about who starts, one of them has grabbed his eye.

“Right now we’ll make that decision at that time,” Nolan said. “We’ve got one experienced goalie and one up-and-comer and he’s playing well. He’s big, he’s athletic. So we’ll see how it all transpires. We’ll make that decision after we have one pre-scrimmage with Russia when we get there. After that we’ll make the final decision.

Nolan spoke about how 21-year-old Gudlevskis is “learning his way” as a goalie but lauded his play of late with the Syracuse Crunch in the AHL.

Masalskis was the goalie who helped Latvia qualify for the Olympics in 2012, but it was Gudlevskis who shined and took the starting job from him at the 2013 World Championships.

If there’s anything Nolan knows how to handle from his time with the Buffalo Sabres this season it’s goaltending. Then again, getting to choose between Ryan Miller and Jhonas Enroth is a little bit different.

  1. rbbbaron - Feb 11, 2014 at 6:55 PM

    Interesting that Ted Nolan is the coach. I’m guessing he doesn’t speak Latvian, so presumably every player on the team has at least a functional knowledge of English (or are the assistants helping out with the language barrier?)

    • c9castine - Feb 12, 2014 at 12:31 AM

      yeah maybe somebody can explain to me how/why is he is the Latvian coach? i thought maybe it was just a different ted nolan who was latvian, but still for some reason had the name ted nolan.

      • einarsh - Feb 12, 2014 at 4:55 AM

        Most of the latvian players understand english. They all have played abroad and hockey terms are pretty much the same everywhere.

      • c9castine - Feb 12, 2014 at 11:44 AM

        yeah i didn’t doubt for a second the things you just said lol.

        do you not need to be latvian to be the head coach of the team? i thought Nolan was Indian. and then secondly the why; does he have a history coaching over there or something that gave him the connection?

      • einarsh - Feb 13, 2014 at 1:24 AM

        he’s canadian. coaches can be hired from anywhere. latvian hockey federation just found him, gave him an offer and he agreed.

  2. pfhockey - Feb 11, 2014 at 10:20 PM

    Gudlevskis has the deepest voice I’ve ever heard.

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