This is the first preview of each pool for the 2014 Olympics. Michael Finewax, Ryan Dadoun and Corey Abbott have done player profiles on every player in the tournament. We hope you enjoy it.
Click here for Pool A featuring Russia, Slovakia, Slovenia and the United States.
Click here for Pool C featuring the Czech Republic, Latvia, Sweden and Switzerland.
Bernhard Starkbaum (Brynäs Gävle - SWE) The Austrian netminder is 10-4 this season in the Swedish Elite League as he has a sparkling 2.20 GAA as well as a .931 save percentage. It certainly looks from here that Starkbaum will get the start in goal for his native country. He was 23-22 for Modo last season with a 2.06 GAA and a .933 save percentage.
René Swette (KAC Klagenfurt - AUT) Rene Swette has been the top goalie with Klagenfurt of the Austrian Leagues. The 25-year-old netminder has played in 33 games this season with a .915 save percentage and a nice 2.51 GAA.
Mathias Lange (Iserlohn - DEL) - Lange was named to the team when Fabian Weinhandl was dropped from the team. Lange was in North American for six years, playing a couple of seasons with the Billings Bulls before spending four years in college at RPI. He is currently playing for Iserlohn of the German League. The 25-year-old is 12-12 with a 2.69 GAA and a .922 save percentage this season. He is a dual citizen as he could also play for Germany.
Mario Altmann (VSV Villach - AUT) - The 27 year-old defensive defenseman has spent his whole career in the Austrian League save for the 2009-10 season which he spent in Sweden. Altmann will not see power play time and has only four goals and 11 points this year for Villach.
Florian Iberer (KAC Klagenfurt - AUT) - The leading point getter among defensemen for Klagenfurt, (three ahead of former NHLer Thomas Pock) as he has 25 points. The brother of fellow Olympian Matthias, Iberer played a couple of seasons in North America but never made it above the ECHL before returning home.
Andre Lakos (Vienna Capitals - AUT) - Drafted in the third round in the 1999 Draft by New Jersey, Lakos spent plenty of time in the OHL and eventually the AHL but never played in the show. The talented offensive defenseman is 34 and has missed some time this season with injuries as he has played only 23 games split the season between the KHL's KLH Chomutov and his hometown Vienna squad. He has two goals and 14 points in 35 games this season.
Robert Lukas (EHC Linz - AUT) - The Austrians are going with a veteran blueline and Lukas is no exception as the 35-year-old will likely be going to his last Olympic games. He was part of the 2002 team in Salt Lake City where he was pointless in four games. Lukas has two goals and 14 assists in 48 games this season with a plus-21 rating.
Thomas Pöck (KAC Klagenfurt AUT) - Rangers and Islanders fans may remember the defenseman who spent parts of five seasons in the NHL, playing 59 games over four seasons with the Rangers and 59 games in one season with the Isles. He has nine goals and 22 points this season and will anchor the Austrian blueline.
Matthias Trattnig (Red Bull Salzburg - AUT) - Drafted in the fourth round in the 1998 Draft by Chicago as a defenseman, Trattnig moved to the blueline during the 2008-09 season. He played four seasons at the University of Maine but has played professionally in Europe with the exception of the 2004-05 season which he spent with Syracuse of the AHL. He had seven goals and 18 points in 68 games before returning home. He had a goal and an assist in four games at the 2002 Olympic Games.
Stefan Ulmer (HC Lugano - SUI) - The kid of the Austrian defensive corps is only 23. Ulmer played three seasons in the WHL for the Spokane Chiefs and has played the last four years with Lugano of the Swiss League. Ulmer has seven goals and 19 points in 44 games this season with a plus-16 rating.
Gerhard Unterluggauer (VSV Villach - AUT) - The 37-year-old defenseman spent a couple of years in the mid-90's with the Brandon Wheat Kings but went back to Austria without playing professionally in North America. He played in the 2002 Olympic Games and scored twice in four matches. Unterluggauer is playing in his fifth season with Villach and has seven goals and 32 points in 46 games.
Michael Grabner (New York Islanders - NHL) - Grabner has slumped this season with the Islanders with only nine goals and 20 points in 56 games. Grabner had 34 goals in his second season in the NHL but has had only 45 goals since then in 177 games. Grabner will be counted upon to give the Austrians a boost offensively and he should be a prominent player on the power play and first line.
Raphael Herburger (EHC Biel - SUI) - The 25-year-old center is playing his first season in the Swiss Elite League where he has six goals and 12 points in 42 games. He had played the last five seasons with Klagenfurter of the Austrian League and had 23 goals in 189 games over the five year span. Needless to say, if you are in an Olympic pool and need to take an Austrian, Herburger should not be your first pick.
Thomas Hundertpfund (Timrå IK - SWE) - The 24-year-old Hundertpfund is playing his first season in Sweden after spending the last five seasons with Klagenfurter. He has seven goals and 10 points in 38 games with the second division Swedish side in Timra after scoring 38 goals in 247 Austrian League games.
Matthias Iberer (EHC Linz - AUT) - As noted before, he is the brother of defenseman Florian. He played a season-plus in North America for the Fairbank Ice Dogs of the NAHL and three games with Kalamzoo of the IHL but he returned back to Austria during the 2007-08 season. The 28-year-old right winger has 11 goals and 19 points in 44 games with Linz this season.
Thomas Koch (KA C Klagenfurt - AUT) - The diminutive winger at five feet eight inches and 161 pounds is in his third season with Klagenfurt after a five year stint with Salzburg. He has 13 goals and 31 points this season after averaging over a point a game in four of his last five seasons. The 30-year-old will be counted upon for offense.
Manuel Latusa (Red Bull Salzburg - AUT) - The 30-year-old has spent his entire career in Austria. He has played with Salzburg since the 2008-09 season and has 12 goals and 31 points this season. Latusa has played in the World Cup of hockey twice and has a goal and an assist in 11 games.
Brian Lebler (EHC Linz - AUT) - Lebler was born in Penticton B.C. but spent his part of his youth in Austria where his father Ed played hockey and is a dual citizen. Lebler played four seasons at the University of Michigan from 2006-2010 before playing one season in North America split between the Syracuse Crunch of the AHL (no points in 11 games) and Elmira of the ECHL where he had two goals and five points in 20 games. He has played the last three seasons with Linz and has 26 goals and 43 points in 43 games this season.
Andreas Nodl (Red Bull Salzburg - AUT) - Nodl replaced Andreas Kristler on the Austrian roster. Nodl played 183 games in the NHL, scoring 15 goals and 36 points for the Flyers and Hurricanes over the past five seasons before returning home this year to play for Salzburg. He has eight goals and 13 points in 28 games this season. Nodl is only 26 and was a second round pick of the Flyers in 2006. He should provide added leadership for Austria because of his NHL experience.
Daniel Oberkofler (EHC Linz - AUT) - The 25-year-old Oberkofler is more of a defensive forward with six goals and 24 points in 50 games this season after an eight goal and 21 point effort last season in 52 games. Do not expect a lot offensively at the Olympics from Oberkofler.
Michael Raffl ( Philadelphia Flyers - NHL) - Raffl came over to North America this season and the thought was that he would spend the entire year in the minors as he played the last two seasons in the Swedish Allsvenskan division. But he surprised everyone by sticking in the NHL and he has seen time on the first line with Claude Giroux and Jakub Voracek. Raffl should see time on the first power play with Vanek and Grabner as well as top six minutes in the Olympics.
Thomas Raffl (Red Bull Salzburg - AUT) Thomas Raffl is the top scoring native Austrian in the EBEL with 21 goals and 41 points but that just puts him 16th in league scoring. The brother ? of the Flyers Michael Raffl, had his best season two years ago with 54 points and at the age of 27 is unlikely to play anywhere else in his career.
Oliver Setzinger (Lausanne HC - SUI) - Setzinger tried one season in North America as he played during the 2007-08 season with Milwaukee of the AHL where he had only a goal and a couple of assists in 21 games before heading back to the Swiss League where he has played ever since. The 30-year-old has nine goals and 33 points in 47 games this season and could see time on the second line at the Olympics.
Thomas Vanek (New York Islanders - NHL) - The star of the Austrian team, Vanek is likely to be traded by the Islanders after the Olympics as he is slated to be an unrestricted free agent. Vanek has scored 40 or more goals twice in the NHL, and will look for a seven-year contract in excess of $50 million during his next contract. Vanek has scored 269 goals in 640 games during his NHL career and he has a very good shot at 450-plus goals if he can stay healthy over the remainder of his contract. He will play in all situations for the Austrians at the Olympics.
Daniel Welser (Red Bull Salzburg - AUT) - Welser is a 30-year-old defensive forward who has never had more than 35 points in any season. He has not even been that good over the last three years as he had only 22 points during his best season last year. This season, Welser has only 16 points in 33 games for Salzburg.