Coming into this year’s Sochi Winter Olympic Games, Slovakia fans aren’t expecting much from the men’s ice hockey team and rightfully so. In five years of qualifying, Slovakia has failed to medal ever. Now, I know five qualifications isn’t much compared to some of the other countries, but you would think with as much talent that’s been on the Slovakian teams of the past, they’d have a richer history behind them, yes?
Well, make no mistakes about it. This year’s Slovakian team is willing to do whatever it takes to achieve a medal. With captain Zdeno Chara leading the way, stars like Jaroslav Halak and Marian Hossa follow not too far behind. Joining that group is Philadelphia Flyers defenseman Andrej Meszaros.
Peaking 6-foot tall and weighing well over 200 pounds, Meszaros is one of many big men that occupy the Slovakian roster this year. Physicality is something that will most likely benefit the Slovaks. They aren’t exactly one of the blossoming offensive teams, so having such an advantage in such a big aspect of the game will only help them.
Meszaros, though sometimes streaky, is a pretty well-rounded player for the most part. He’s a solid passer and does have some decent ability to score. This year, he ranks second on Philadelphia’s roster for shots per game by a defenseman (1.4).
It’s probably going to be another early exit for the Slovaks this year. Their group includes both Team USA and Team Russia. If and only if Slovakia can grab early leads and defend their zone in the clutch, they might have a slight chance at sneaking out of the group. However, I wouldn’t bet on it.