Hockey World Blog

Olympic Qualification Round News and Notes

The 5 through 12 seeds play Tuesday to determine the eight quarterfinalists. Below are some notable additions and subtractions before the puck drops Tuesday afternoon (early Tuesday morning in the United States).

Czech Republic: Elias to remain out with illness

Patrik Alias already missed the game against Switzerland with an illness. And according to a report from Zdenek Janda from Czech Republic’s iSport, he will miss the game against neighbor Slovakia. Janda’s tweet reporting the Devils forward will miss the game was backed up when he wasn’t practicing with the power play unit during Monday’s practice. The Czech’s roster was heavily scrutinized (no Jiri Hudler, Tomas Fleischmann or Radim Vrbata) going into the games, and it could be validated should they lose to Slovakia.

Slovakia: Laco to start in goal

After sitting out the first two games, Slovakia will roll the dice with their no. 3 goalie Jan Laco Tuesday against Czech Republic. After NHLers Jaroslav Halak and Peter Budaj combined for 10 goals allowed during the first two games, the 32-year-old who plays for HC Donbass of the KHL, stopped all 36 shots faced in regulation and overtime before losing in a shootout to host Russia. That could be just what the Slovaks need to give them confidence in Tuesdays game.

Slovakia: Kopecky out for remainder of tournament

After suffering a hit in the head with an elbow in the first period of Slovakia’s game Saturday against Slovenia, Florida’s Tomas Kopecky will miss the remainder of the Olympic tournament. During their game against Slovenia, forward Sabahudin Kovacevic laid an elbow to Kopecky, causing him to miss the rest of the game. Slovakia’s team spokesman Tomas Stulajter confirmed to The Associated Press on Monday that the upper-body injury will sideline Kopecky. This is the second injury to happen to the Panthers in the Olympics as rookie and Finland international Aleksander Barkov had his Olympic run ended with a lower-body injury.

Slovenia: Expect Kristian back in goal

Slovenia goalie Robert Kristian is expected to get the start against Austria. He got a break against the United States after making 57 saves on 63 shots against Slovakia and Russia. For Slovenia to pull off the upset, they will need to get production from Anze Kopitar. Kopitar played only 11:31 against the Americans, left the game in the second period and didn’t return. Reports say he’s battling an illness but he could return after having a couple days of rest.

One Comment

  1. Rico

    February 18, 2014 at 6:47 pm

    “For Slovakia to pull off the upset, they will need to get production from Anze Kopitar.”

    Man, Slovenia just can’t get no respect.

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