Best of the Rest Rosters & Olympic prediction
This is the last of installment of my roster series before the Sochi Olympics. Today we’ll have the best of the rest consisting of Switzerland, Austria, Norway, Slovenia and Latvia. If you’ve missed anything, I have rosters for Team USA, Canada, Russia, Sweden, Finland, the Czech Republic and Slovakia.
I’ll have a final preview of the Sochi games with 10 burning questions and a prediction of the medalists at the games. If you have any comments, questions or concerns, please leave them below. You can also tweet me @DanMountSports.
Forwards: Andres Ambühl (HC Davos- Switzerland); Matthias (not Justin) Bieber (Kloten Flyers- Switzerland); Simon Bodenmann (Kloten Flyers- Switzerland); Damien Bruner (New Jersey Devils); Luca Cunti (ZSC Lions – Switzerland); Ryan Gardner (SC Bern- Switzerland); Denis Hollenstien (Geneve-Servette HC – Switzerland); Simon Moser (Milwaukee Admirals – AHL); Nino Niederreiter (Minnesota Wild); Martin Pluss (SC Bern); Kevin Romy (Geneve-Servette HC – Switzerland); Reto Suri (EV Zug – Switzerland); Morris Trachsler (ZSC Lions- Switzerland); Roman Wick (ZSC Lions – Switzerland)
Defensemen: Severin Blindenbacher (ZSC Lions- Switzerland); Raphael Diaz (Montreal Canadiens); Philippe Furrer (SC Bern- Switzerland); Roman Josi (Nashville Predators); Mathias Seger (ZSC Lions- Switzerland); Mark Streit (Philadelphia Flyers); Julien Vauclair (HC Lugano- Switzerland); Yannick Weber (Vancouver Canucks)
Goalies: Jonas Hiller (Anaheim Ducks); Reto Berra (Calgary Flames); Tobias Stephan (Geneve-Servette HC – Switzerland)
Who may have gotten snubbed: Sven Baertschi of the Flames has been underachieving this year. (He’s currently playing for the AHL’s Abbotsford Heat.) However, he’s still young and fast. I think he could’ve helped.
Breakdown: There are some talented NHL-level players in Brunner, Josi, Streit, Diaz and Niederreiter. Jonas Hiller is a heck of an NHL goalie that can frustrate teams. Wick earned himself an NHL deal after his solid performance in Vancouver. The forwards don’t make mistakes and are smart. They play defense really well. I wouldn’t sleep on the Swiss. They could be a thorn in a team’s side in the elimination rounds.
Forwards: Morten Ask (Vålerenga Ishockey- Norway); Anders Bastiansen (Färjestad BK- Sweden); Robin Dahlstrom (Örebro HK- Sweden); Kristian Forsberg (Modo- Sweden); Mads Hansen (Brynas IF- Sweden); Marius Holtet (Färjestad BK- Sweden); Sondre Olden (Vålerenga Ishockey- Norway); Ken Andre Olimb (Duesseldorf EG- Germany); Mathis Olimb (Frölunda HC- Norway); Mats Rosseli Olsen (Frölunda HC- Norway); Niklas Roest (Sparta Sarpsborg- Norway); Martin Roymark (Färjestad BK- Sweden); Per-Age Skroder (Modo- Sweden); Patrick Thoresen (SKA St. Petersburg – KHL); Mats Zuccarello (New York Rangers)
Defensemen: Alexander Bonsaksen (Vålerenga Ishockey- Norway), Jonas Holøs (Lokomotiv Yaroslavl- KHL), Henrik Solberg (Stavanger Oilers- Norway); Daniel Sørvik Vålerenga Ishockey- Norway), Ole-Kristian Tollefsen (Färjestad BK- Sweden), Mats Trygg (Lorenskog IK- Norway), Henrik Ødegaard (Chicago Wolves- AHL)
Goalies: Lars Haugen (Dinamo Minsk- KHL), Lard Volden (Espoo Blues- Finland), Steffen Søberg (Vålerenga Ishockey- Norway)
You may have heard of: F, Mats Zuccarello.
Breakdown: Zuccarello has really thrived under the system of new coach Alain Vigneault. He’s the only NHLer or the roster. (There are a few people like Thoresen that have played in the NHL.) Norway made a solid showing in Vancouver, but will be hard pressed to Group B members Canada and Finland. (Although a run isn't out of the question.)
Forwards: Armands Berzins (Beibarys Atyrau- Kazahkstan); Martins Cipulis (Dinamo Riga- KHL); Lauris Darzins; Kaspars Daugavins (Genève-Servette HC- Switzerland); Zemgus Girgensons (Bufalo Sabres); Miks Indrasis (Dinamo Riga- KHL); Koba Jass (Bili Tygri Liberec- Czech Republic); Martins Karsums (Dynamo Moscow- KHL); Ronalds Kenins (ZSC Lions- Switzerland); Vitalijs Pavlovs (Dinamo Riga- KHL); Mikelis Redlihs (Lokomotiv Yaroslavl- KHL); Janis Sprukts (Lokomotiv Yaroslavl- KHL); Juris Stals (HK Poprad- Slovakia); Herberts Vasiljevs (Krefeld Pinguine- Germany)
Defensemen: Oskars Bartulis (Donbass Donetsk- KHL); Ralfs Freibergs (Bowling Green- NCAA); Arturs Kulda (Salavat Yulayev Ufa- KHL); Sandis Ozolinsh (Dinamo Riga- KHL); Georgijs Pujacs (Dinamo Riga- KHL); Krisjanis Redlihs (Dinamo Riga- KHL); Arvids Rekis (Dinamo Riga- KHL); Kristaps Sotnieks (Dinamo Riga- KHL)
Goalies: Kristers Gudlevskis (Syracuse Crunch- AHL); Edgars Masalskis; Ervins Mustukovs (Esbjerg IK- Denmark)
You may have heard of: Sandi Ozolinsh. The 42-year old last played in the NHL in 2008. He’s a former multi-time All-Star
Breakdown: There are a lot of teammates on the defense. That familiarity could help them against teams like Sweden, Switzerland and the Czechs. The lack of NHL talent could hurt them in that group.
Forwards: Michael Grabner (New York Islanders); Raphael Herburger (EHC Biel- Switzerland); Thomas Hundertpfund (Timra IK- Sweden); Matthias Iberer (EHC Linz- Austria); Thomas Koch (KAC Klagenfurt- Austria); Andreas Kristler (EC Salzburg- Austria); Manuel Latusa (Red Bull Salzburg- Austira); Brian Lebler (EHC Linz- Austria); Daniel Oberkofler (EHC Linz- Austria); Michael Raffl (Philadelphia Flyers); Thomas Raffl (Red Bull Salzburg- Austria); Oliver Setzinger (Lausanne HC- Switzerland); Thomas Vanek (New York Islanders); Daniel Welser (Red Bull Salzburg- Austria)
Defensemen: Mario Altmann (VSV Villach- Austria); Florian Iberer (KAC Klagenfurt- Austria); Andre Lakos (Vienna Capitals- Austria); Robert Lukas (EHC Linz- Austria); Thomas Pock (KAC Klagenfurt- Austria); Matthias Trattnig (Red Bull Salzburg- Austria); Stefan Ulmer (HC Lugano- Switzerland); Gerhard Unterluggauer (VSV Villach- Austria)
Goalies: Mathias Lange (Iserlohn Roosters- Germany); Bernhard Starkbaum (Brynas IF- Sweden); Rene Swette (KAC Klagenfurt- Austria)
You may have heard of: F, Thomas Vanek.
Breakdown: Vanek and Grabner helped will the Austrians through qualifying into the group. They can beat Norway and get a better matchup in the elimination round.
Forwards: Bostjan Golicic (Briancon Diables Rouges- France); Ziga Jeglic (ERC Ingolstadt- Germany); Anze Kopitar (Los Angeles Kings); Anze Kuralt (Dauphins d'Epinal- France); Jan Mursak (CSKA Moscow- KHL); Ales Music (Olimpija Ljubljana- Slovenia); Ziga Pance (HC Bolzano- Austria); Tomaz Razingar (IF Troja-Ljungby- Sweden); David Rodman (IK Oskarsham- Sweden); Marcel Rodman (Schwenninger Wild Wings- Germany); Robert Sabolic (ERC Ingolstadt- Germany); Rok Ticar (Kolner Haie- Germany); Jan Urbas (EHC Munchen- Germany); Miha Verlic (Olimpija Ljubljana- Slovenia)
Defensemen: Blaz Gregorc (HC Pardubice- Czech Rep.); Sabahudin Kovacevic (Sary-Arka Karaganda- Kazakhstan); Ales Kranjc (Kolner Haie- Germany); Ziga Pavlin (IF Troja-Ljungby- Sweden); Klemen Pretnar (VSV Villach- Austria); Mitja Robar (Krefeld Pinguine- Germany); Matic Podlipnik (HC Dukla Jihlava- Czech Rep.); Andrej Tavzelj (Rouen Dragons- France)
Goalies: Luka Gracnar (Red Bull Salzburg- Austria); Andrej Hocevar (Epinal Dauphins- France); Robert Kristan (HK Nitra- Slovakia)
You may have heard of: F, Anze Kopitar. Team is coached by his father, Matjaz. Brother, Gaspar, just missed making the team.
Breakdown: Slovenia is in their first games as a hockey nation. They’ll be happy to be here and are in a tough Group A with Russia, USA and Slovakia.
Predictions: It’s time for my predictions for the tournament. The game that could decide the USA’s medal fate is game two of the group stage versus Russia. If they can get a point, they’ll be in good position for a medal. I think Canada wins the gold, with Russia the Silver and USA third beating Sweden.
That’s it for now. So you with daily game recaps.
Dan Mount is an NHL writer for TJRSports.com. He is based out of Watertown, NY.