Tuesday, February 16, 2010
Team Slovakia...A True Underdog Story...
In doing our best to offer Olympic previews with players from the Bruins, we bring you...TEAM SLOVAKIA! (you have to love that baby outfit...)
Anyway, the USA can rally around the underdog label, but in true degenerate fashion, let's take a look at the Vegas line.
Currently the Slovak's (who have never won an Olympic Hockey medal) are +4000 to win the gold. That is correct folks. A wager of $100 dollars would win you $4000 if the team from Slovakia (population 5 million) can do the improbable.
And it is going to be a tough road to climb, as half of the NHL forwards on the team (Marian Hossa, Gabarik, and Satan) could all miss the opener against the Czech's on Wednesday evening due to injury.
A quick glance at the team...
From your Boston Bruins. Captain and D-man Zdeno Chara, and that's right folks, forward Miro Satan (who shockingly has his own "official" website that hasn't been updated in a LONG TIME: http://www.mirosatan.sk/ . Coincidence that the not so fleet footed forward is slow to update his official website, I think not. But honestly here, could we have two opposite ends of the spectrum for the B's? Chara can dominate a game, Satan could score goals in bunches (5 years ago). Still injured from his own stick cutting him we have this classic quote from Miro going into the games: "I'm out there, but it's not sure if I can play," Satan said. That quote alone should be a big confidence boost to the nation.
On to the Goalie: Our good friend from Montreal, Jaroslav Halak, who is getting the nod over CA-REY Price these days. Could Halak stand on his head to give the Slovaks a chance to go deep? My humble opinion is MAYBE. I think it's a bit of a stretch, but he's been playing good hockey of late. He's had 7 games this season where he has stopped over 40 shots. He'll be backed up by Peter Budaj from the Avalanche and some other dude from a KHL team.
In front of Halak- We have Chara and some other big dudes. This Slovak D can bang and shoot, so they may be able to intimidate some other teams. Jurcina can play, and both Visnovsky and Sekera can move the puck a bit. Overall-it's pretty clear that the Slovak's will be relying on their D in a big way.
Why? Because this forward core is SUSPECT. Injuries and old guys are weighing them down up front. As I touched upon earlier both Gaborik and Hossa are hurt (I guess we'll throw Satan in there) and Demitra has been on the shelf forever due to shoulder problems. Some other guys I've never heard of who apparently are decent in the KHL provide "experience." I guess. Either way, it's going to be HUGE if Gab, Hossa, and Demitra are healthy. If that happens and they can gel, perhaps the Slovaks can score goals. More so at least than their women's team who lost (wait for it) 18-0 to Canada. I had to work that in somehow.
So end of the day? Can Slovakia win gold and net 4000 big ones on a 100 dollar bet. It's a long shot. But if Halak plays way over his head, Chara and the D knock some people around, and some of those forwards put some pucks in the net anything can happen.
It's a long shot. But so was the U.S. in 1980....
Hey-who knows...maybe Satan gets hot and comes back to the Bruins with his old touch.
One can dream, it is the Olympics after all...