Here we are with the last of the team previews… and I get Latvia.
This is despite the fact that I’m not Latvian, had to jog my memory as to where Latvia was (because I am an ugly American — at least I remembered it was a Baltic state), and had no idea who would be on the team until TSN told me.
Awesome. Let’s do this.
Last year, Latvia ended up dead last in Group A, with four losses and zero points. They just barely missed being relegated to Division I A, with Denmark only being sent down because Latvia scored an overtime winner against them.
So… I guess there’s no place to go but up?
Anyway, here are the kids who will possibly make up Team Latvia.
|No.||Player||2012-13 Team||Draft Status|
|99||Rihards Cimermanis||HK Riga||Undrafted|
|30||Elvis Merzlikins||HC Lugano (SUI)||Undrafted|
|1||Vadims Miscuks||Liepajas Metalurgs||Undrafted|
|29||Ivars Punnenovs||Rapperswil-Jona Lakers (SUI)||Undrafted|
|8||Edmunds Augstkalns||HK Riga||Undrafted|
|3||Matiss Gelazis||Graz 99ers (SUI)||Undrafted|
|6||Janis Jaks||HK Riga||2013|
|18||Kriss Lipsbergs||HK Riga||Undrafted|
|9||Roberts Mamcics||Liepajas Metalurgs||2013|
|2||Kristaps Nimanis||Red Ducks Vaasa||Undrafted|
|5||Rinalds Rosinskis||Prince George Cougars (WHL)||Undrafted|
|4||Edgars Siksna||Liepajas Metalurgs||Undrafted|
|14||Patriks Skuratovs||HK Riga||Undrafted|
|7||Pauls Zvirbulis||HK Riga||Undrafted|
|23||Toms Andersons||SC Bern (SUI)||Undrafted|
|19||Rustams Begovs||HK Riga||Undrafted|
|21||Teodors Blugers||Minnesota State University (NCAA)||PIT 2012|
|10||Rihards Bukarts||HK Riga||2014|
|27||Artjoms Dasutins||MVD Balashikha (RUS)||Undrafted|
|22||Zemgus Girgensons||Rochester Americans (AHL)||BUF 2012|
|20||Georgs Golovkovs||HK Riga||Undrafted|
|17||Nikolajs Jelisejevs||HK Riga||Undrafted|
|28||Nikita Jevpalovs||Blainville-Boisbriand Armada (QMJHL)||Undrafted|
|13||Edgars Kulda||Edmonton Oil Kings (WHL)||2013|
|26||Edgars Kurmis||HK Riga||Undrafted|
|12||Arturs Kuzmenkovs||Liepajas Metalurgs||Undrafted|
|25||Martins Lavrovs||HK Riga||Undrafted|
|18||Roberts Lipsbergs||Seattle Thunderbirds (WHL)||Undrafted|
|16||Karlis Ozolins||Liepajas Metalurgs||Undrafted|
|98||Lauris Rancevs||HK Riga||Undrafted|
|97||Deivids Sarkanis||HK Riga||2013|
|15||Andris Siksnis||HK Riga||Undrafted|
The one guy to look out for is Zemgus Girgensons (who might or might not be playing, depending on if the Amerks release him for the tournament). He was the highest-drafted Latvian in history when the Buffalo Sabres took him 14th in the 2012 NHL Draft.
This year, Latvia will be in Group A with Sweden (last year’s gold medal winner), Finland, Czech Republic, and Switzerland. Good luck with that.