• Zdeno Chara to captain Slovakia in Sochi
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     | January 08,2014
     

    BRATISLAVA, Slovakia — Boston Bruins defenseman Zdeno Chara will captain Slovakia at the Sochi Games next month, hoping to improve on fourth place at the Vancouver Olympics.

    Other major Slovak stars, including Chicago Blackhawks forwards Michal Handzus and Marian Hossa and St. Louis Blues goaltender Jaroslav Halak are also on the 25-man squad that coach Vladimir Vujtek announced on Tuesday.

    Defensemen Lubomir Visnovsky of the New York Islanders and Michal Sersen of HC Slovan Bratislava together with forward Marian Gaborik of the Columbus Blue Jackets made the team although they are still injured. Slovakia starts the Olympic tournament on Feb. 13 against the United States before facing Slovenia and Russia in Group A.

    In Vancouver in 2010, Slovakia surprised by placing fourth, its highest finish in Olympic ice hockey.

    Ovechkin to lead Russia

    MOSCOW — Washington Capitals center Alex Ovechkin will lead Russia’s hockey team at the Sochi Olympics, as the host country looks to avoid a repeat of its poor performance at the 2010 Vancouver Games.

    Pavel Datsyuk of the Detroit Red Wings, Evgeni Malkin of the Pittsburgh Penguins and Nikolai Kulemin of the Toronto Maple Leafs were among 15 NHL players named Tuesday to Russia’s 25-man roster.

    Sergei Bobrovsky of the Columbus Blue Jackets, Colorado Avalanche’s Semyon Varlamov and Alexander Yeryomenko of the KHL’s Dinamo Moscow will contend for the goaltender spot.

    Edmonton defenseman Anton Belov, Slava Voynov of the Los Angeles Kings and two Montreal Canadiens defensemen — Alexei Emelin and Andrei Markov — are also on the list, which includes former NHL players Alexander Radulov and Ilya Kovalchuk.

    Russia was knocked out in the quarterfinals in Vancouver in 2010.

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