Tag: Edgars Masalskis

Sochi Olympics Ice Hockey Men

Latvia eager to move ahead, give Canada all they’ve got


If you think Latvia will spend the night celebrating their 3-1 upset victory against Switzerland, think again.

Latvia won’t get time to relax as they’ll face Canada on Wednesday and as their players told Olympic News Service, they’re focused and know they’ll give it all they’ve got against the defending gold medalists.

“I won’t shout out that we will beat Canada, but we’ll try,” said goalie Edgars Masalskis. “We’ll do all that we can to give them a tough battle.

“It’s a game, hockey. The game starts at 0-0. Who knows? Maybe we’ll beat them. Of course, we’ll try. We want to battle for medals. In principle, there’s only two games left to win.”

Expectations outside of Latvia for the Latvian team were low headed into the Olympics. Seeing them in the quarterfinals and a win away from having a shot at a medal exceeds most everyone’s expectations. Don’t count on them resting their laurels on beating the Swiss, however.

“It’s tomorrow already,” said defenseman Oskars Bartulis. “We have to forget this game as soon as possible.”

That’s a good way to move ahead. While their chances against Canada may not be great, don’t tell that to the Latvians.

“Everybody has a chance. Chances, chances!” said forward Janis Sprukts. “Canadians also play hockey and we play hockey and, if we play as a team, there will be a chance.”

Anything goes in a single-elimination tournament.

Lightning prospect Gudlevskis could start in goal for Latvia

Kristers Gudlevskis

BUFFALO — Latvia coach Ted Nolan has an interesting choice on his hand as to who starts in goal at the 2014 Sochi Olympics. The favorites to get the job are 33-year Edgars Masalskis and Tampa Bay Lightning rookie Kristers Gudlevskis.

Nolan spoke with PHT before leaving for Sochi and while he wouldn’t tip his hand about who starts, one of them has grabbed his eye.

“Right now we’ll make that decision at that time,” Nolan said. “We’ve got one experienced goalie and one up-and-comer and he’s playing well. He’s big, he’s athletic. So we’ll see how it all transpires. We’ll make that decision after we have one pre-scrimmage with Russia when we get there. After that we’ll make the final decision.

Nolan spoke about how 21-year-old Gudlevskis is “learning his way” as a goalie but lauded his play of late with the Syracuse Crunch in the AHL.

Masalskis was the goalie who helped Latvia qualify for the Olympics in 2012, but it was Gudlevskis who shined and took the starting job from him at the 2013 World Championships.

If there’s anything Nolan knows how to handle from his time with the Buffalo Sabres this season it’s goaltending. Then again, getting to choose between Ryan Miller and Jhonas Enroth is a little bit different.