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Kings' Michal Handzus joins familiar names on Slovakian Olympic hockey team

December 29, 2009 | 11:33 am

Handzus Kings center Michal Handzus was chosen for the roster of the Slovakian men's Olympic hockey team for the Vancouver Games, and a glance at the other names on the list is a trip through the Kings' recent history.

Besides Handzus, who played for his homeland in 2002 and was chosen for the 2006 Turin team but didn't play, there's winger Ziggy Palffy, defenseman Lubomir Visnovsky, center Jozef Stumpel and defenseman Martin Strbak.

Palffy had three 30-goal seasons and one 20-plus-goal season with the Kings and is now playing for HK Skalica in Slovakia. Visnovsky is with Edmonton, Stumpel plays for Barys Astana of Russia's KHL and Strbak also plays in the KHL, for MVD Balashikha. 

"I’m excited to play for my country,” Handzus said in a statement released by the Kings. “It’s going to be exciting, and I think we’re going to have a good team. I think it’s a huge honor to play for my country.  Everybody will be watching back home, and it’s a great tournament with the best players in the world."

Slovakia has a pretty good roster that also includes the New York Rangers' Marian Gaborik, Marian Hossa and Tomas Kopecky of the Chicago Blackhawks, defenseman Zdeno Chara of the Boston Bruins and goalies Peter Budaj of Colorado and Jaroslav Halak of the Montreal Canadiens.

Alas, the Kings' Raitis Ivanans didn't make Latvia's Olympic roster. No fighting in the Olympics means no need for enforcers.

-- Helene Elliott

Photo: Michal Handzus. Credit: Kirby Lee / US Presswire