Olympic Hockey Preview – Slovenia vs Russia


Poor Slovenia.  They are the unfortunate first opponent for a Russian team that is star laden and been chomping at the bit to take to the ice in their home Olympics.


7:30 AM EST


Feb 10, 2014; Sochi, RUSSIA; Russia forward

Pavel Datsyuk

(13) and forward

Alex Ovechkin

(8) laugh as they wait to take a team photo during a training session in advance of the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games at Bolshoy Arena. Mandatory Credit: Scott Rovak-USA TODAY Sports

Here is how the teams match up:

GOALTENDING:  Whether it is Semyon Varlamov or Sergei Bobrovsky in the net for the Russians, they will have a decided edge over whichever goalie the Solvenians sacrifice to the hockey gods.


DEFENSE:  Russia has 2 sets of NHL teammates on their blue line with Andrei Markov and Alexei Emelin along with Fedor Tyutin and Nikita Nikitin that will be big forces for the Russains.  If there was a weakness for the Russians, it would be on the blue line.  However, the Slovenians are still no match in this regard.


FORWARDS:  The hosts boast probably the most explosive offense in the tournament, with Evgeni Malkin, Alex Ovechkin, Ilya Kovalchuk, Pavel Datsyuk and Igor Radulov on the roster.  You can bet the Russians will have a picture of Anze Kopitar on their dressing room board, as he is the lone NHLer on the Slovenian roster and will be the target of the Russians all game long.

Anything can happen, but in this case it probably won’t.  Don’t expect the Slovenians to put up much of a fight in this one, as the home crowd will push the Russians to a show of force in their opener.

PREDICTION:  This one could get ugly fast.  Russia 9-0.