Saturday, February 27, 2010

Slovakia Lose Bronze to Finland

The hands down selection as the "dark horse" in these Olympic games tournament has to be the Slovaks. Now built evenly with good goaltending and developed scoring talent, the Slovaks made a very good run in 2010. It is something that I hope they build upon during the next few years and rise up

However, team Finland once again proved to be a spoiler for the Slovaks who now only have a 4th place finish to show for their otherwise successful run. Jaro Halak, playing with the confidence of being the #1 goaltender in Montreal, was the first player who stood out and stepped up to the challenge. He saw an enormous amount of rubber his way during the opening round loss to the Czech Republic, but bounced back to earn wins against the powerful Russian and Swedish squads.

The three other players who were worthy of representing the Slovak Olympic might were: Zedeno Chara, Marian Gaborik, and Pavol Demitra. Chara was crucial in the Russia and Sweden games while he constantly slammed opposing forwards into the boards. The tighter confines that most other European teams that weren't used to North American sized rinks. Gaborik was the scoring threat that the team used to have with the now-retired Peter Bondra. If he didn't score, Gaborik created a lot of second and third chances. Pavol Demitra was clutch when clutch mattered in some of the later games against Canada and Sweden. If it wasn't for him, the Slovaks might have finished lower than what they did.

[Via: NBC Oylmpics]
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