An eye toward Vancouver, 2.0

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Last year about this time, we projected what the rosters for the top seven hockey-playing countries would look like for the upcoming 2010 Winter Olympics (and reposted it in October).

Well, now is a pretty good time to take a second look at those roster projections and make any necessary adjustments. Yesterday we started this exercise off with the Czech Republic, so naturally today let’s take a look at Team Slovakia, which is probably a distant No. 7 on the pecking order of “The Big Seven.”

SLOVAKIA

Forwards

Marek Svatos-Michal Handzus-Marian Hossa

Miroslav Satan-Pavol Demitra-Marian Gaborik

Ladislav Nagy-Jozef Stumpel- Marcel Hossa

Tomas Tartar-Tomas Kopecky-Stefan Ruzicka

Branko Radivojevic

Defensemen

Zdeno Chara-Andrej Meszaros

Andrej Sekera-MILAN JURCINA

Lubomir Visnovsky-Boris Valabik

Ivan Baranka

Goaltenders

Jaroslav Halak

Petr Budaj

Rastislav Stana

Skinny: There were only 13 skaters who played at least 50 NHL games this year (which doesn’t count Marian Gaborik, so 14 regulars) and two goaltenders who saw any action, so it is clear Slovakia is dealing with a thinner talent pool than all of the other countries who hope to medal in Vancouver.

Slovakia did have a great showing at the WJC this year (and Tomas Tartar deserves a spot on this team after his effort in Ottawa), so maybe the country isn’t dying a slow hockey death, but there are still few impact players on this roster and few young options.

Jurcina’s spot on this roster looks pretty secure, considering he’s the fifth-best Slovakian defenseman at worst.Caps fans should also note the potential No. 3 goaltender — Stana is one of the lost members of that wonderful 2003-04 team.

TOMORROW: The one team among “The Big Seven” that is least likely to have a member of the Washington Capitals on it (though Team USA is a close second) – Finland.

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