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Team Snapshots

Here's a look at what this year's teams are bringing to the 2008 IIHF World Hockey Championship


FINLAND

LAST YEAR: Silver.
MEDALS: Nine (one gold, six silver, two bronze).
STAR GAZING: F Teemu Selanne, Anaheim; F Olli Jokinen, Florida; F Tuomo Ruutu, Carolina; F Mikko Koivu, Minnesota; G Niklas Backstrom, Minnesota.
COACH: Doug Shedden.
SCOUTING REPORT: A prototypical hard-working Finnish team built on speed … Forwards can do damage … Style will be a good fit for North American ice … Teemu Selanne is considering retirement and may want to go out with a bang.


UNITED STATES

LAST YEAR: Fifth.
MEDALS: Sixteen (two gold, nine silver, five bronze).
STAR GAZING: F Patrick Kane, Chicago; F Peter Mueller, Phoenix; F Phil Kessel, Boston; F Jason Pominville, Buffalo; F Dustin Brown, Los Angeles.
COACH: John Tortorella, Tampa Bay.
SCOUTING REPORT: On paper, could be the best Halifax-based round-robin team other than Canada … Fast, youthful squad with enthusiastic players who are here to compete … Expected to play an aggressive puck-pursuit style.


SLOVENIA

LAST YEAR: First, Division 1, Group B
MEDALS: None.
STAR GAZING: F Anze Kopitar, Los Angeles, F David Rodman, Vienna (Austria); F Marcel Rodman, Vienna (Austria).
COACH: Mats Waltin.
SCOUTING REPORT: Will rise as high as Anze Kopitar carries them, which may not be far, given the checking attention he will receive … Kopitar is the only NHLer on the roster … David and Marcel Rodman were point-per-game CHL players.


LATVIA

LAST YEAR: Thirteenth.
MEDALS: None.
STAR GAZING: F Janis Sprukts Lukko Rauma (Finland); F Herbert Vasiljevs, Krefeld (Germany); Aleksandrs Macijevskis, Aalborg AAB Ishockey (Denmark).
COACH: Oleg Znaroks.
SCOUTING REPORT: Looking to rebound from last year’s 13th-place finish, its lowest since 2001 … Played in quarter-finals three times in past decade … Janis Sprukts and Herbert Vasiljevs are the only players with NHL experience.


SLOVAKIA

LAST YEAR: Sixth.
MEDALS: Three (one gold, one silver, one bronze).
STAR GAZING: D Lubomir Visnovsky, Los Angeles; F Marcel Hossa, Phoenix; F Robert Petrovicky, D Branislav Mezei, Florida; D Andrej Sekera, Buffalo.
COACH: Julius Supler.
SCOUTING REPORT: Loss of Zdeno Chara to shoulder injury was a crushing blow … Decent top-end talent but depth and goaltending are question marks … Frantisek Skladeny played high-school hockey at King’s-Edgehill.


NORWAY

LAST YEAR: Fourteenth.
MEDALS: None.
STAR GAZING: D Anders Myrvold, Oslo (Norway); F Morten Ask, Duisburg (Germany); F Mathis Olimb, Augsburger (Germany); D Mats Trygg, Kolner Haie (Germany).
COACH: Roy Johansen.
SCOUTING REPORT: Anders Myrvold is the only player with NHL experience … Mats Trygg is a skilled, high-scoring blue-liner … Morten Ask and Mathis Olimb will be go-to offensive players on a team that could struggle to score.


GERMANY

LAST YEAR: Ninth.
MEDALS: Four (two silver, two bronze).
STAR GAZING: F Marco Sturm, Boston; F Stefan Ustorf, Berlin (Germany); D Dennis Seidenberg, Carolina; D Christoph Schubert, Ottawa; G Dmitri Patzold, San Jose.
COACH: Uwe Krupp.
SCOUTING REPORT: One of their goalies, likely San Jose farmhand Dmitri Patzold, will have to sparkle … Capable overall team, with Marco Sturm to carry the offence and hard-hitting Christoph Schubert anchoring the defence corps.


 
 
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