Ryan Dadoun

Olympic Preview

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Olympic Preview: Pool A

Tuesday, February 11, 2014






Luka Gracnar (Red Bull Salzburg - AUT) - The 20-year-old netminder has played well in his first season with Salzburg of the Austrian League. Gracnar has played 33 games this season with a .925 save percentage and a sparkling 2.00 GAA. He looks to be their goalie of the future as well as the starter for the Slovenians in Sochi.

Andrej Hocevar (Epinal Dauphins - FRA) - Hocevar has bounced around Europe as he has played in Slovenia, Austria, Italy, Ukraine and now France. The 29-year-old has struggled this season with a 3.50 GAA and a .900 save percentage for Epinal.

Robert Kristan (HK Nitra - SVK) - Kristan played twice for Slovenia in the Olympic Qualifier, with Gracnar and Hocevar each playing once. Kristan gave up only three goals over the two games as Slovenia qualified for Sochi. The 30-year-old is tending the net in Slovakia this season after playing the last three seasons in Austria. He has a 2.00 GAA in 22 games this season.


Blaz Gregorc (HC Pardubice - CZE) - The 24-year-old undrafted blueliner played last season in Denmark where he had six goals and 23 points in 40 games with Odense before joining HC Pardubice of the Czech League this season. Gregorc had one assist in three games during Olympic Qualifying.

Sabahudin Kovacevic (Sary-Arka Karaganda - KAZ/RUS2) - Kovacevic is playing this season in the Russian second division, one level below the KHL. He has been playing well offensively with nine goals and 21 points in 43 games. The 27-year-old has also spent time in his career in Austria, Denmark, Italy and Slovakia.


Ales Kranjc (Kolner Haie - GER) - The 32-year-old blueliner has remained in Europe his entire career and had played only in Austria and Slovenia until a few years ago. Kranjc played the last two seasons in the German League after playing one season for Ceske Budejovice of the Czech League. He had two points in three Olympic qualifying games. He has eight goals and 33 points over 82 games in the last two seasons with Kolner Haie.

Ziga Pavlin (IF Troja-Ljungby - SWE2) - A defensive minded rearguard, Pavlin also has a good shot from the point and should see power play time during the Olympics. Another player who has played mostly in Slovenia and Austria, Pavlin has played the last three seasons in the Swedish second division with Troja-Ljundby but was called up to the Swedish Elite League for 10 games last season with Rogle in which he had three assists. He has four goals and 15 points this season.

Matic Podlipnik (Dukla Jihlava - CZE2) - The youngster of the Slovenian defense at the tender age of 21, Podlipnik has played the last two seasons in the Czech second division for Dulka Jihlava where he had two goals and 11 points in 44 games last season while chipping in with a goal and eight points in 43 games this year.

Klemen Pretnar (VSV Villach - AUT) - Pretnar has remained home for most of his career, but has played for Villach in the Austrian League for the past two seasons. Pretnar is 27 and has five goals and 26 points in 44 games this season. He had one assist in three Olympic qualifying games.

Mitja Robar (Krefeld Pinguine - GER) Another veteran Solvenian, Robar has played most of his career at home but journeyed to Sweden for a nine game trial in 2011-12 before settling in with Krefeld Pinguine of the German League over the last three seasons. He has five goals and 14 points in 34 games this season.

Andrelj Tavzelj (Rouen Dragons - FRA) Tavzelj is a defensive defenseman so do not expect many, if any, points during the Olympics. He played for Cortina of the Italian League in 2009-10 after playing early in his career at home in the Slovenian and Austrian League and now calls Rouen home. He has two goals and four points in 17 games in the French League.


Bostjan Golicic (Briancon Diables Rouges - FRA) - Golicic played a couple of seasons for the Calgary Hitmen of the WHL but was undrafted as a junior and returned home. He had 38 goals and 48 assists in 124 games in the WHL. He now is playing in France where he has five goals and 13 points in 13 games in his second season with Briancon.

Ziga Jeglic (ERC Ingolstadt - GER) - Jeglic is a playmaking forward who can play center or on the wing. He had 14 goals and 40 assists in 54 games in his last season with Jesenice, a Slovenian team that plays in the Austrian League, before playing for Sodertalje of the Swedish second division the following two seasons. This season he has played for Assat of the Finnish SM-liiga where he had two goals and two assists in 32 games and has also played eight games for Ingolstadt of the German League where he has three goals and eight points in eight games.


Anze Kopitar (Los Angeles Kings - NHL) Kopitar is likely the only recognizable name on the Slovenian side as he is a star for the Los Angeles Kings who took him with the 11th overall pick in the 2005 Draft. They stole him with that pick as he has been an offensive juggernaut for the Kings, leading them in points the last seven seasons in a row. Kopitar led the Kings to the Stanley Cup with 20 points in 20 playoff games during the 2011-12 season. He may be blanketed during the Olympics as he is Slovenia's only real offensive threat.

Anze Kuralt (Epinal Dauphins - FRA) - The 22-year-old diminutive Kuralt is playing his first season outside Slovenia as he has 15 goals and 30 points for Epinal of the French League. He could have trouble if the going gets rough. He played six games for Herning in the Danish League with four goals and nine points in the 2012-13 season.

Jan Mursak (CSKA Moscow KHL) - Possibly the only other recognizable name on the Slovenian side, Mursak played 46 games for the Red Wings over three seasons but had only two goals and four points in 46 games. He had a great playoff for Grand Rapids as they won the Calder Cup last season. Mursak had 11 goals and 17 points in 23 games. He is playing in the KHL this season where he has 12 goals and 24 points in 48 games with Khabarovsk and CSKA Moscow.

Ales Music (Olimpija Ljubljana - SLO) -The 31-year-old Music has spent his entire career with Olimija Ljubjana, his hometown. He is a small forward at five foot nine (the same size as Anze Kuralt) and has seven goals and 28 points in 46 games this season.

Ziga Pance (Bolzano Foxes - ITA) - The 25-year-old Pance moved on to Bolzano this season after playing his entire career for Olimpija Ljubljana. He played parts of a couple of seasons for the Oshawa Generals of the OHL where he scored twice and added an assist in 32 games before returning to Europe. He has 14 goals and 21 points in 37 games this season with Bolzano.

Tomaz Razingar (IF Troja-Ljungby - SWE2) Razingar was the flag bearer at the Opening Ceremonies for Slovenia. The veteran of the team at age 34, Razingar is playing his first season in the Swedish second division. He played a couple of seasons in North America as he was with Peoria of the ECHL and one game with Worcester of the AHL before returning back to Europe. He also spent time with the Newmarket Hurricanes of the OJHL but never got into a game in the 1998-99 season.

David Rodman (IK Oskarshamn - SWE2) -  Brother of fellow Olympian Marcel, David played at the start of the century for Val-d'Or of the QMJHL where he had 70 points in his final year in 65 games. He returned to Europe where he has played mostly in the Austrian League. He had four goals and six points in three qualifying games for the Olympics. He is currently playing his second season in the Swedish second division where he has seven goals and 19 points in 27 games.

Marcel Rodman (Schwenninger ERC  - GER) The older brother of the aforementioned David, Marcel Rodman played a couple of seasons with the Peterborough Petes of the OHL where he had 37 and 71 points playing 61 games in each season in the late 90s. Before that he played with Pickering of the OPJHL, picking up 20 goals and 51 points in 37 games. He returned to Europe and has played mostly in the Austrian League although this season he has played in Germany where he picked up four goals and 12 points in 34 games. No relation to Dennis.

Robert Sabolic (ERC Ingolstadt -GER) Sabolic is 25 years of age and had a very good Olympic qualifying tournament for Slovenia as he scored three times and added an assist in three games. He is currently playing in the German League for Ingostadt along with fellow Slovenian Ziga Jeglic. Sabolic has 11 goals and 22 points this season.

Rok Ticar (Kolner Haie - GER) Ticar is a center who has good wheels and is a playmaker. The 25-year-old has played the last three seasons in Germany with this being his second season in Kolner Haie. He has seven goals and 30 points in 43 games. Ticar had a goal and three helpers in three Olympic qualifying games.

Jan Urbas (Red Bull Munchen - GER) The six foot three inch Urbas has spent plenty of time in the Swedish League, playing a season and a couple of games for Vaxjo of the SEL but his lack of scoring (two goals and four points in 54 games) did not help and he played this season with Munchen (Munich) of the German League where he has seven goals and 17 points in 34 games. He had two goals and four points in the Olympic qualifier.

Miha Verlic (Olimpija Ljubljana - SLO) At the age of 22, Verlic is the youngest forward on the Slovenian team. He has spent most of his career with Olimpija Ljubljana and forcing his way onto the Olympic team with 18 goals and 37 points in 46 games, despite not playing in the Olympic qualifier.

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Ryan Dadoun is an Associate Editor for Hockey on Rotoworld. Feel free to follow him on Twitter or check out his blog.
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