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Posted On Tuesday, 01.07.2014 / 9:50 AM

By NHL.com Staff -  /NHL.com - Road to Sochi blog

Sabres coach Nolan, rookie Girgensons lead Latvia

Buffalo Sabres rookie Zemgus Girgensons is the only current NHL player on Latvia's 25-man roster for the 2014 Sochi Olympics, which was announced Tuesday, but there are others with recent NHL experience.

Girgensons will be coached in Sochi by Sabres interim coach Ted Nolan. This will be Latvia's fourth straight Olympic tournament and fifth in the country's history. The Latvians never have finished higher than ninth.

Eight of the players on the roster are teammates with Dinamo Riga, a Latvian-based team currently fourth in the Western Conference of the Kontinental Hockey League. Among them is former NHL defenseman Sandis Ozolinsh, who played for Latvia in the 2002 and 2006 Olympics but not four years ago in Vancouver.

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Posted On Tuesday, 01.07.2014 / 9:26 AM

By NHL.com Staff -  /NHL.com - Road to Sochi blog

Chara, Hossa, Halak highlight Slovakia Olympic roster

Slovakia again will not be short on star power at the 2014 Sochi Olympics as the country's 25-man roster announced Tuesday includes Zdeno Chara, Marian Hossa and Jaroslav Halak.

The Slovaks were the surprise team four years ago in Vancouver, qualifying for the semifinals and pushing Canada in that round before losing to Finland in the bronze-medal game. Chara, the Boston Bruins captain, will anchor a defense corps that includes NHL veterans Andrej Sekera (Carolina Hurricanes), Andrej Meszaros (Philadelphia Flyers), Lubomir Visnovsky (New York Islanders) and Edmonton Oilers rookie Martin Marincin.

Hossa, a two-time Stanley Cup champion with the Chicago Blackhawks, has 12 goals and 25 points in 15 games at the Olympics (three tournaments). He leads a group of forwards that includes Marian Gaborik (Columbus Blue Jackets) and a trio of intriguing young NHL players in Tomas Jurco and Tomas Tatar from the Detroit Red Wings and Richard Panik from the Tampa Bay Lightning.

Halak, who beat Russia in the preliminary round and Sweden in the quarterfinals four years ago, will be the No. 1 guy in net again if healthy. He has missed a couple of games recently for the St. Louis Blues because of an illness.

Here is the 25-man roster for Slovakia:

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Posted On Tuesday, 01.07.2014 / 9:08 AM

By NHL.com Staff -  /NHL.com - Road to Sochi blog

Zuccarello lone NHL player on Norway Olympic roster

Norway is returning 13 members of the 2010 Olympic team to the roster for the 2014 edition in Sochi, the Norwegian hockey federation announced Tuesday.

Mats Zuccarello is among the returnees and is the only NHL player on the roster.

Zuccarello, who is playing a prominent role for the New York Rangers this season, is on pace for a 60-point season, which would be the best of an NHL career that took flight because of a strong showing for the Norwegians four years ago in Vancouver.

Former NHL player Patrick Thoresen, who now plays for SKA St. Petersburg of the Kontinental Hockey League, also should be among the top offensive weapons for Norway, which finished 10th in Vancouver but provided a stern challenge for several teams.

On defense, Ole-Kristian Tollefson, who had a stint in the NHL, headlines the seven defensemen named.

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Posted On Tuesday, 01.07.2014 / 9:00 AM

By NHL.com Staff -  /NHL.com - Road to Sochi blog

No Saku Koivu on Finland roster; sixth go for Selanne

A pair of teenagers and the absence of a national icon on Finland's 25-man roster for the 2014 Sochi Olympics named Tuesday have signaled the start of a transition for the country.

Florida Panthers center Aleksander Barkov and Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Olli Maatta will provide a measure of youthful enthusiasm for the Finns, but Anaheim Ducks center Saku Koivu reportedly has declined an invitation to participate in his fifth Olympics and was not on the announced roster.

Finland is the only country to medal in three of the four tournaments since the NHL began taking a break from its schedule to allow players to participate in 1998.

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Posted On Tuesday, 01.07.2014 / 8:52 AM

By NHL.com Staff -  /NHL.com - Road to Sochi blog

Vanek, Grabner highlight Austrian Olympic roster

Three NHL players are on the roster for Austria named Tuesday to compete in the 2014 Sochi Olympics, including New York Islanders teammates Thomas Vanek and Michael Grabner, as well as Philadelphia Flyers rookie Michael Raffl.

Vanek is the unquestioned star for the Austrians. He has 36 points this season in 41 games split between the Islanders and Buffalo Sabres. For his career he has 265 goals in 626 NHL games. He will be playing in the Olympics for the first time.

Raffl has 11 points in 29 games this season, his first with the Flyers after spending the past two seasons playing for Leksand in Sweden

Grabner, meanwhile, has five goals and 12 points in 40 games this season. He has 259 NHL games under his belt.

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Posted On Monday, 01.06.2014 / 6:40 PM

By NHL.com Staff -  /NHL.com - NHL Live blog

Ducks' Hiller talks Olympics, contract on NHL Live

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Posted On Monday, 01.06.2014 / 6:35 PM

By NHL.com Staff -  /NHL.com - Road to Sochi blog

Ducks' Hiller talks Olympics, contract on NHL Live

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Posted On Monday, 01.06.2014 / 3:46 PM

By NHL.com Staff -  /NHL.com - Road to Sochi blog

Mikko Koivu surgery sobering news for Finland

While hockey fans in Finland were still celebrating a landmark victory in the 2014 IIHF World Junior Championships, the country received a bit of sobering news barely more than a month away from the 2014 Sochi Olympics.

Mikko Koivu, captain of the Minnesota Wild and possibly captain for Suomi in Russia next month, will miss "approximately" a month of NHL action after surgery to repair a broken ankle, the Wild announced Monday. Koivu sustained a broken ankle during a game Saturday against the Washington Capitals, though he did finish the game.

Koivu leads the Wild with 35 points (eight goals) in 44 games this season. He is projected to be Finland's top center in Sochi, and was likely going to be named captain for his country. Minnesota's final game before the Olympic break is Feb. 6, or exactly one month from this announcement.

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Posted On Monday, 01.06.2014 / 2:48 PM

By NHL.com Staff -  /NHL.com - Road to Sochi blog

Czech Republic's Jagr named to fifth Olympics

New Jersey Devils forward Jaromir Jagr earned a fifth trip to the Olympics, named to the official Czech Republic 25-player roster announced Monday in Prague.

Jagr made his debut for the Czech Republic in 1998, helping his country win gold in Nagano, the first tournament in which the NHL stopped play and allowed its players to compete. He also played in the 2002 tournament in Salt Lake, 2006 in Turin, winning a bronze medal, and the 2010 edition in Vancouver. Jagr, who leads the Devils in points (34) and is tied for the team lead in goals (13), will be 42 when the tournament begins in Sochi on Feb. 12.

Seventeen of the 25 players named to the Czech roster play in the NHL. Winnipeg Jets goalie Ondrej Pavelec, though, is the only goalie on the roster in the NHL currently.


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Posted On Monday, 01.06.2014 / 2:18 PM

By NHL.com Staff -  /NHL.com - Road to Sochi blog

Kings' Kopitar only NHL player on Slovenian roster

As expected, Los Angeles Kings forward Anze Kopitar headlines the 25-man Olympic roster, which was announced Monday.

Kopitar is the only Slovenian playing in the NHL. The national team is coached by his father, Matjaz. Anze Kopitar's brother, Gasper, did not make the Olympic team.

The rest of the team is comprised of players that play throughout Europe and the majority of the roster named to the Olympics is identical to the one that helped the country qualify for the Olympics for the first time.


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Quote of the Day

We've got a team filled with captains, that's what I think. With these first two games we got in, we're really dominating and moving the puck really fast, and it's worked out really good.

— U.S. goalie Brandon Halverson after a 6-0 win against Germany in the World Junior Championship on Sunday