Martin Marincin is going to the Olympics

Jonathan Willis
January 07 2014 06:34AM

 

It's been an awfully good month for Martin Marincin. Just over 30 days ago, on December 5, he played in his first NHL game. Today he learned he was going to the Olympics as part of Team Slovakia. 

Slovakia

Marincin will join fellow NHL'ers Zdeno Chara, Lubomir Visnovsky, Andrej Meszaros and Andrej Sekera on what for me at least was a surprisingly deep blue line. I always tend to regard Slovakia as one of the little guys, down with Switzerland and Germany but that's an awfully potent group for a team traditionally outside the top tier of hockey powers.

The forward group isn't terrible either, with two NHL stars - Marian Hossa and Marian Gaborik (though Gaborik's injuries this season are a huge problem on a team that is going to struggle to score). The club also should get strong goaltending from presumptive starter Jaroslav Halak.

It's a huge opportunity for Marincin to play at this tournament; even in a depth role it's going to be valuable experience and one imagines the player is through the roof at the announcement.  

(Update: Ex-Oiler Visnovsky won't be going to the Olympics owing to a concussion, but was named ot the team anyway.)

Edmonton

And as there is an opportunity for Marincin to become a cornerstone piece of the Slovakian defence in years to come, so there is ample opportunity in Edmonton at the moment.

There is an oncoming rush of defensive prospects in the pipeline - players like Darnell Nurse and Oscar Klefbom and Martin Gernat and all the rest - and beyond that there is no doubt that the Oilers are going to add players to their weakest position. But Marincin has a window now because he's a little older and a little more experienced than the wave of prospects behind him, and so far he's made the absolute most of it.

Playing on Edmonton's second pairing alongside Jeff Petry he's looked surprisingly good. Oklahoma City Barons G.M. Bill Scott (not talking about Marincin) told me earlier this season that there tends to be a curve with call-ups where they play well for a few weeks but tail off, and we may yet see that with the lanky Slovakian. But it hasn't happened yet and every game he survives on the NHL roster is one closer to proving that he belongs there long-term.

The left-side defence is wide open for next season; only Andrew Ference is guaranteed a job of the current group. Marincin has the rest of the season to prove he belongs in the top seven. 

Recently by Jonathan Willis

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Jonathan Willis is a freelance writer. He currently works for Oilers Nation, the Edmonton Journal and Bleacher Report. He's co-written three books and worked for myriad websites, including Grantland, ESPN, The Score, and Hockey Prospectus. He was previously the founder and managing editor of Copper & Blue.
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#1 Fresh Mess
January 07 2014, 09:58AM
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Wintoon wrote:

Very pleased for Marincin and the Oilers. He can skate, has a great wing span and seems to play a decent positional game. Over the next few years, as he bulks up and develops man strength, he will become a valuable D Man for the Oilers.

The only way I trade him is if he is in a package that yields a blue chip return to fit the 2C slot or a legitimate top pairing D Man.

....and the ON hype train begins on a new target. The observers who had Klefbom pencilled in for a 2014 all star slot this time last year are now on the Marincin hype train...all aboard!!!!

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#2 Fred
January 07 2014, 10:10AM
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Oilcruzer wrote:

And in what world is Kunitz a better choice than say... Taylor Hall?

Oiler fans overrate their players. Hall has no playoff experience, looked bad playing for Canada last year. Does not know how to play a 200ft game.

Kunitz has chemistry with Crosby, has playoff experience and plays a 200ft game. Penalty kill powerplay

They have a Duchene on the team who played better than Hall , that is why he is not on the team.

Oiler fans always think of a team as a All Star team, but this is a team they picked. How has that allstar team the Oilers done?

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#3 Rdubb
January 07 2014, 08:21AM
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This is not only GREAT news for MM but also for the Oilers, why some of you may ask? If you must ask that, than you are not a hockey fan in the true sense and do not understand what an opportunity like this can do for a young players confidence now & going forward. And, as most of know, confidence is a huge part in playing the game, even more so than skill alone, as we Oiler fans can attest to... MM will come back from the Olympics a much better well rounded player, and playing with and along side all those top-notch NHL defenseman will aid in his continued progress as they will add their wisdom and habits on him daily, for as long as he is around them... I have been saying for a month or so now, or @ least since the Oilers season was 100% lost, was that these young D-men from OKC should be up in Edmonton playing day in and day out for the rest of the season so that the Oiler brass and coaching staff can see what they have coming forward, since this group is nothing short of soft, lacking of ability to play against top-notch NHL calibre forwards, other than Ference...by allowing MM, Gernat & Klefbom to come up and play, they'll gain NHL experience in a lost season anyways, & maybe, just maybe they'll surprise and show much more heart than our current d-core... Maybe Belov could gain experience & confidence playing the NA game in OKC, Greb's is already down there (good move) & perhaps moving Larsen back down would open up the room if necessary (I am unsure w/o looking at who can move back and forth w/o going through waivers @ this time)? It is my belief, that since this season is a far-gone-conclusion, let these up-and-coming d-men show you what they've got, really, what do we have loose??? Peck

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#4 Harry
January 07 2014, 10:18AM
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No one but Oilers fans talk about Taylor Hall and Olympic team.

Giroux and Couture are ahead of Hall.

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#5 Andy
January 07 2014, 10:36AM
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Build a team that is how you win. Oiler strategy has always build an All star team. And look at the results.

Kunitz is on the team because they are building a team.

This is why Oiler fans would not understand trading Eberle for Sean Couturier. Makes no sense to them

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#6 The Real Scuba Steve
January 07 2014, 09:21AM
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Nothing like hearing Kevin Lowe's name to bring down a press conference for Oiler fans.

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#7 Oilcruzer
January 07 2014, 08:02AM
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Funny world where Marincin is in and Hedman is out.

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#8 Oilcruzer
January 07 2014, 10:02AM
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And in what world is Kunitz a better choice than say... Taylor Hall?

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#9 Manfly
January 07 2014, 06:56AM
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funny though that some fans still see him as only trade bait.

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#10 ToppsSmith
January 07 2014, 08:39AM
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Oilcruzer wrote:

Funny world where Marincin is in and Hedman is out.

Hedman's Swedish. How does that apply at all to this story.

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#11 Frank
January 07 2014, 09:43AM
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Looking at the Canadian management on TV I think of an old multiple choice question.

Which one does not belong up there.

Kevin Lowe is delusional he is Chauncey Gardiner.

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#12 ToppsSmith
January 07 2014, 10:38AM
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@Oilcruzer

Your observation made no sence in the contents of the article. Bye your logic I should be shocked that squeezing an orange won't produce apple juice. Grant you Hedman should have been possibally on the back up squad, but I don't see how him making the Slovaks has anything to do with team Sweeden.

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#13 Blucifer Copperballs
January 07 2014, 07:34AM
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I've sure felt alot better about the blue line since Marincin joined the big club. Maybe this is what MacT was talking about when he made the Smid trade, caust the kid has slotted in nicely.

JW, you got those IIHL teams in the right order. Slovakia has been a fun team to watch for the last few years, and has been cranking out some quality players. Switzerland has also had some jump in past tourneys, but i'd be hard pressed to name even one Swiss player. But something positive happening in both countries hockey programs.

Germany remains...... dependable and consistant with results.

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#14 Rama Lama
January 07 2014, 10:04AM
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I was wondering if someone could introduce a donut to Marincin? If this guy could add 30 lbs I might take him seriously..........but come on 6'4" and 180 lbs.

This guys need to eat more and often.

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#15 outdoorzguy
January 07 2014, 10:04AM
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The Real Scuba Steve wrote:

Nothing like hearing Kevin Lowe's name to bring down a press conference for Oiler fans.

I was lucky, my feed started to stream as Lowe walked to the mic so the video froze. Missed him completely!! Yzerman was a bit of a joke too.

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#16 Blucifer Copperballs
January 07 2014, 10:26AM
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Oilcruzer wrote:

And in what world is Kunitz a better choice than say... Taylor Hall?

In a world where he plays with Crosby every night, and brings chemistry right now.

It would be awesome to see Halls speed on the big ice, though. An actual LW slotted in, instead of moving a C over. It would have been great for them to make room for him somewhere on that roster.

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#17 Spydyr
January 07 2014, 06:36AM
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Congrats kid.Rip 'er up!

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#18 ToppsSmith
January 07 2014, 06:47AM
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It will be a good thing for him. Playing in a deep blueline will give him some veteran teaching that is missing in Edmonton. Let's hope they show him how to make a first pass out, and not just shoot up the boards.

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#19 Wintoon
January 07 2014, 08:18AM
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Very pleased for Marincin and the Oilers. He can skate, has a great wing span and seems to play a decent positional game. Over the next few years, as he bulks up and develops man strength, he will become a valuable D Man for the Oilers.

The only way I trade him is if he is in a package that yields a blue chip return to fit the 2C slot or a legitimate top pairing D Man.

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#20 Ryan2
January 07 2014, 09:31AM
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Ryan2 wrote:

I do not know why people are surprised that Marincin is doing this well. Earlier in the season I could not figure out why everyone was so enamored with Davidson coming out of the pre-season when Marincin looked better to me. They have clearly separated now as well.

Marincin skates well, has a good stick, and size/wingspan to recover faster, and looks like he has NHL calibre hockey sense based on the way he reads plays. Sure, he is going to make mistakes as a rookie, but as he is becoming more comfortable we are starting to see his game develop at a rapid pace.

This is why I have always questioned blogs here mentioning that the Oilers should trade Marincin. You do not trade 6'4" d-men that can skate and read the play. When he fills out he could be the anchor on a very solid second pairing for the team.

I would also hold off on trading any of the other young d-men for now until the Oilers actually see what they have. Since developing d-men is an inexact science (look at how many d-men were drafted before Seabrook or Keith), I would rather see the Oilers keep their better d-prospects in the system for 2 - 3 years before looking at trading them so they can have a better idea of who will pan out. You need top end depth on the back end, and the only way to build it is via drafting and developing.

Sorry, I meant to say Weber and Keith as examples:

I would also hold off on trading any of the other young d-men for now until the Oilers actually see what they have. Since developing d-men is an inexact science (look at how many d-men were drafted before Weber or Keith), I would rather see the Oilers keep their better d-prospects in the system for 2 - 3 years before looking at trading them so they can have a better idea of who will pan out. You need top end depth on the back end, and the only way to build it is via drafting and developing.

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#21 Ed in Edmonton
January 07 2014, 10:29AM
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Fresh Mess wrote:

....and the ON hype train begins on a new target. The observers who had Klefbom pencilled in for a 2014 all star slot this time last year are now on the Marincin hype train...all aboard!!!!

I agree. Marincin in the Olympics is more a comment on quality of Slovakian hockey than that Marincin is a budding star.

As an Oiler fan I hope Maricin turns out to be a star, but lets not jump to conclusions.

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#22 Harry
January 07 2014, 10:43AM
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@Blucifer Copperballs

Hall has not even been mentioned today on TSN, even on their poll for omissions his name is not even on the list.

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#23 A-Mc
January 07 2014, 11:58AM
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GOOD LUCK KID! It will be a great experience that will hopefully spark some extra drive in the development department.

we NEED This kid to turn into a solid NHL player. The Olympics can't hurt

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#24 ToppsSmith
January 07 2014, 07:00AM
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@Manfly

They need to keep him. He is been the best D-man the team has since his call up. He and Nurse are the future of this teams blueline.

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#25 Tommyjr26
January 07 2014, 07:11AM
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With vishnovski out, would Gernat be an alternate or Taxi squad?

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#28 vetinari
January 07 2014, 08:57AM
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Love it! Good for Marincin! Go get some international experience at the highest level, learn from it and bring it back here.

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#29 They're $hittie
January 07 2014, 09:11AM
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Jonathan Willis wrote:

If I had to rank them off the top of my head I'd normally slot them this way:

  • Canada
  • Sweden
  • United States
  • Russia
  • ---
  • Czech Republic
  • Finland
  • ---
  • Slovakia
  • Germany
  • Switzerland
  • ---
  • Everyone else.

with the way slovaks continue to play and the last few years of rankings I move them up to the second group. Swiss head up the next group and may be in there with the big 7 going forward.

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#30 Ryan2
January 07 2014, 09:15AM
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I do not know why people are surprised that Marincin is doing this well. Earlier in the season I could not figure out why everyone was so enamored with Davidson coming out of the pre-season when Marincin looked better to me. They have clearly separated now as well.

Marincin skates well, has a good stick, and size/wingspan to recover faster, and looks like he has NHL calibre hockey sense based on the way he reads plays. Sure, he is going to make mistakes as a rookie, but as he is becoming more comfortable we are starting to see his game develop at a rapid pace.

This is why I have always questioned blogs here mentioning that the Oilers should trade Marincin. You do not trade 6'4" d-men that can skate and read the play. When he fills out he could be the anchor on a very solid second pairing for the team.

I would also hold off on trading any of the other young d-men for now until the Oilers actually see what they have. Since developing d-men is an inexact science (look at how many d-men were drafted before Seabrook or Keith), I would rather see the Oilers keep their better d-prospects in the system for 2 - 3 years before looking at trading them so they can have a better idea of who will pan out. You need top end depth on the back end, and the only way to build it is via drafting and developing.

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#31 gr8one
January 07 2014, 09:22AM
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Being on a team with Chara who has a similar build and skillset has got to be nothing but an amazing opportunity to learn how to utilize his talents.

This news is golden. If Gernat were also somehow named, even if he just goes as a spare, that experience would be invaluable just being able to practice with those guys.

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#32 Oilcruzer
January 07 2014, 10:00AM
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ToppsSmith wrote:

Hedman's Swedish. How does that apply at all to this story.

An Observation.

Shocked that Hedman wasn't named. One team overlooks stellar play now and into the future, the other sees the value in readying players who aren't quite there yet, developing for the future.

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#33 Romulus' Apotheosis
January 07 2014, 10:11AM
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Jonathan Willis wrote:

I wondered the same thing. I don't know; I'm really not up on the kind of talent Slovakia has in the KHL but my assumption would be that they'd lean towards somebody over there for the role.

In a pre-report on NHL.com, Gernat was on the bubble:

http://www.nhl.com/ice/news.htm?id=692710

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#34 Old Retired Guy (A.K.A. Die-Nasty)
January 07 2014, 10:21AM
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Great for Marincin......and I'm excited to watch Team Canada in Sochi.....but I'm a little surprised that we always talk about Canada's depth and being able to send two teams etc...and then you get a team with a Kunitz, an under performing Nash, an injured Stamkos, guys like Tavares and Duchene having to play out of position, and goaltending that may not match up to the best goaltending in the tournament.

Still, it's a great team who we can all get behind and enjoy the 2 weeks in February.

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#35 Blucifer Copperballs
January 07 2014, 10:38AM
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Harry wrote:

No one but Oilers fans talk about Taylor Hall and Olympic team.

Giroux and Couture are ahead of Hall.

I'd buy in on the Giroux angle, but it's not really that great of a margin. Thats just on this years numbers, and Giroux seems to have shaken off the cobwebs and is playing great, so maybe it's a bigger margin than i want to admit.

but i'd take Hall over Couture. By the numbers and on face value. Hall's record is just as good as Couture's, in fact slightly better this season, and he's doing it from the basement on a losing team. Couture plays with Big Joe, who could set up a blind pig to score goals.

You should check out Gregor'sarcticle on here from yesterday regarding Hall.

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#36 **
January 07 2014, 11:02AM
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3 oilers to the olympics, that's 2 more oilers than I thought would go. Very happy for them.

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#37 Ryan2
January 07 2014, 11:03AM
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Ed in Edmonton wrote:

I agree. Marincin in the Olympics is more a comment on quality of Slovakian hockey than that Marincin is a budding star.

As an Oiler fan I hope Maricin turns out to be a star, but lets not jump to conclusions.

Klefbom is the one whos has been overhyped, not Marincin. As some of us have been saying since last year, Oscar would need a year in OKC to make up for the one he lost due to the shoulder injury. That is how recovery from injury works. All of the fans expecting him to step in and make the team this year were overly exuberant.

Is Marincin a top pairing d-man? Most likely not, but I guess you can never say never since the development of d-men is hard to predict. However, if he can develop into a top end #3 or #4 it will be great for the team. He has a chance at that based on his size, skating, hockey sense and puck handling ability, but the final verdicy is still a long way out.

The fans and organization need to be patient with the development of the d-men in the system. As we have seen the past few years, having a solid blueline is the key to success in the NHL. I hope that MacT lets the current group of blueline prospects play in the minors for 2 or 3 years to develop properly. At that point the team will hopefully have enough depth in the NHL and minors to be a legitimate contender and/or start trading young d-prospects for established NHL d-men.

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#38 Blucifer Copperballs
January 07 2014, 11:04AM
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Harry wrote:

Hall has not even been mentioned today on TSN, even on their poll for omissions his name is not even on the list.

and TSN never gets it wrong? They had Giroux and Couture making the team, and neither did.

Your original post stated that Giroux and Couture are ahead of Hall as players. I'll stick with my point that Giroux is, but Couture is not.

I prefer to watch a lot of hockey and form my own opinons, not just rehash and post what TSN reports.

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#39 Oilcruzer
January 07 2014, 01:22PM
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ToppsSmith wrote:

Your observation made no sence in the contents of the article. Bye your logic I should be shocked that squeezing an orange won't produce apple juice. Grant you Hedman should have been possibally on the back up squad, but I don't see how him making the Slovaks has anything to do with team Sweeden.

Wow. (Not worth it)

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#40 The Nuuuuuuuuuuuuge
January 07 2014, 01:38PM
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@Jonathan Willis

Switzerland may surprise you all this year. They played an awfully good WC-tournament last year and got to the final where they then lost to Sweden. They pretty much have the same guys on the roster this year but they added significant players like Hiller, Brunner, Diaz, Niederreiter and Mark Streit.

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#41 Lochenzo
January 07 2014, 02:30PM
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Congrats Martin! Follow Chara around like a little lost puppy and learn everything you can from him.

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#42 Dog Train
January 07 2014, 03:03PM
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Awesome opportunity for the young man to rub shoulders with the world's best players. Since he's a Slovakian defenseman and a bit of a tall tree himself, I would have to imagine that Zdeno Chara is one of his idols. Hopefully Big Z can give Marincin some tips on bulking up and adding a mean streak to his game.

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#43 bazmagoo
January 07 2014, 07:13PM
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Great news! Hopefully the experience adds another level to his game. Wasn't overly impressed with his first stop on the Oilers roster, but he's looked better in the last couple of games. If he keeps improving at a good pace, he could be a part of our defence for a long time.

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