Anze Kopitar

Slovenia names Olympic hockey roster

Leave a comment

Slovenia announced its first Olympic men’s hockey team Monday, becoming the second country to name its 25-man roster after the U.S.

It is led by Los Angeles Kings sniper Anze Kopitar, whose father, Matjaz, is the head coach. Younger brother Gasper, 21, did not make the team despite playing at the 2013 Olympic Qualifying Tournament.

Slovenia beat Belarus, Ukraine and Denmark to make it to Sochi as the lowest-ranked team (17th) in the 12-nation field.

Slovenia is not expected to have much success in its first Olympic hockey tournament.

Olympic hockey rosters: U.S. | Canada | Russia | Sweden | Finland | Czech Republic | Slovakia | Switzerland | Latvia | Norway | Austria | Slovenia

Its highest finish at the World Championships is 13th. It’s grouped with medal contenders Russia, the U.S. and Slovakia in Sochi.

“The guys did a tremendous job in qualifying, beating out some very good teams,” Anze Kopitar said, according to Reuters. “Our national team can only choose from maybe about 30 guys compared to some other hockey nations, they’ve got a lot more guys to choose from.

“But just the fact that we made it and the huge stage we are going to be on in Sochi, it’s going to be one hell of a feeling for sure — a career moment.”

The other 10 nations have until Tuesday to name their rosters. Canada is scheduled to announce its team at 11 a.m. ET on Tuesday.

Here’s the full Slovenia roster:

Goalies
Luka Gracnar
Andrej Hocevar
Robert Kristan

Defensemen
Blaz Gregorc
Sabahudin Kovacevic
Ales Kranjc
Ziga Pavlin
Klemen Pretnar
Mitja Robar
Matic Podlipnik
Andrej Tavzelj

Forwards
Anze Kopitar — Los Angeles Kings
Jan Mursak — former Detroit Red Wings player
Bostjan Golicic
Ziga Jeglic
Anze Kuralt
Ales Music
Ziga Pance
Tomaz Razingar
David Rodman
Marcel Rodman
Robert Sabolic
Rok Ticar
Jan Urbas
Miha Verlic

Siberian man runs marathon in minus-36 degrees

Yuzuru Hanyu wins record fourth straight Grand Prix Final; Nathan Chen on podium

Yuzuru Hanyu
Getty Images
Leave a comment

Japan’s Yuzuru Hanyu became the first singles skater to win four straight Grand Prix Finals, while 17-year-old Nathan Chen is the second-youngest men’s medalist in the event’s 22-year history.

The Olympic champion Hanyu held on to win despite scoring 10 points fewer than Chen in the free skate in Marseille, France, on Saturday.

Chen finished second, 11.05 points behind, rising from fifth of six skaters after Thursday’s short program.

“It’s kind of a shock,” said Chen, the U.S. bronze medalist who is in his first season as a senior skater. “I wasn’t really expecting to be able to come out with a medal here.”

Chen landed four quadruple jumps in his free skate with no falls after erring on both of his quads in the short program.

Hanyu fell once and singled a Lutz, scoring 32.11 points fewer than his record free skate last year.

“I feel total disappointment with my long program,” Hanyu said to open the post-event press conference. “But the result is good.”

Chen became the first U.S. men’s medalist at the Grand Prix Final since Evan Lysacek and Johnny Weir earned gold and bronze in 2009.

Only Russian Yevgeny Plushenko won a men’s Grand Prix Final medal at a younger age, a bronze at 16 in the 1998-99 season.

U.S. champion Adam Rippon fell three times Saturday and finished last of six skaters.

Chen, the darling attraction of the 2010 U.S. Championships at age 10, is now the clear favorite for the U.S. Championships in January. Chen can become the youngest U.S. champion since Scott Allen in 1966.

“There’s always room to improve in terms of artistry and stuff like that,” said Chen, who has been working with noted ice dance coach and choreographer Marina Zoueva this fall. “I guess that will be the biggest goal for me next.”

NBCSN will air Grand Prix Final coverage Sunday from 8:30-11 p.m. ET.

MORE: Javier Fernandez builds toward last Olympic chance

Men’s Results
GOLD: Yuzuru Hanyu (JPN) — 293.90
SILVER: Nathan Chen (USA) — 282.85
BRONZE: Shoma Uno (JPN) — 282.51
4. Javier Fernandez (ESP) — 268.77
5. Patrick Chan (CAN) — 266.75
6. Adam Rippon (USA) — 233.10

Yevgenia Medvedeva repeats as Grand Prix Final winner, misses Yuna Kim record

Yevgenia Medvedeva
Getty Images
Leave a comment

Russian Yevgenia Medvedeva extended one of the most dominant runs in recent history, repeating as Grand Prix Final champion on Saturday.

Medvedeva recovered from stepping out of her opening jump — a shocking error for her — to total 227.66 points, the second-highest score under an 11-year-old judging system. The 17-year-old just missed Yuna Kim‘s record 228.56 from the 2010 Olympics.

Medvedeva, who last lost in November 2015, won by 9.33 points over Japan’s Satoko Miyahara in Marseille, France. Russian Anna Pogorilaya was third, followed by Canadian Kaetlyn Osmond.

Miyahara, Pogorilaya and Osmond all tallied personal-best free skates.

Medvedeva made that early mistake skating to music from “Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close,” a 2011 film relating to the 9/11 attacks. It’s a controversial program choice that includes, at one point, the voice of George W. Bush declaring that two airplanes crashed into the World Trade Center.

“I’m happy, but I’m so sad about my mistake on my first jump,” Medvedeva said.

Nobody has finished within five points of Medvedeva during this winning streak, which included the 2016 European and World Championships and this perfect Grand Prix season. She’s seeking the first perfect season, including Grand Prix Final and world titles, since countrywoman Irina Slutskaya in 2004-05.

No U.S. woman qualified for the Grand Prix Final for the first time since 2008.

NBCSN will air Grand Prix Final coverage Sunday from 8:30-11 p.m. ET.

MORE: Javier Fernandez builds toward last Olympic chance

Women’s Results
GOLD: Yevgenia Medvedeva (RUS) — 227.66
SILVER: Satoko Miyahara (JPN) — 218.33
BRONZE: Anna Pogorilaya (RUS) — 216.47
4. Kaetlyn Osmond (CAN) — 212.45
5. Maria Sotskova (RUS) — 198.79
6. Yelena Radionova (RUS) — 188.81