Since the turn of the century, Slovakia has become more of a threat in the Olympics as they reached the quarterfinals in 2006 and semifinals in 2010. New York Islanders defenseman Lubomir Visnovsky has been a member of the Slovakian Olympic team since 1998, two years before he made his NHL debut. However, injuries may hurt the team’s chances as it is still not clear whether Visnovsky and Columbus Blue Jackets forward Marian Gaborik will play in the games this year. A concussion has caused Visnovsky to be out since October 19, playing in just 8 games this season.
Since 2000, he has played in 814 NHL games for the Kings, Oilers, Ducks and now Islanders. When healthy, the former All Star plays on the top defense pair for the Islanders and is the quarterback of the power play. He is very good in his own zone, has great ice vision and has a good shot which allows him to set up many power play scores. The result is consistently good power play scoring numbers and a solid plus/minus every season.
On a Slovakian blue line that also features Zdeno Chara, there will be less pressure on Visnovsky to run the power play. However, he will certainly be used to help set up Chara’s booming slapshot and, more importantly, play solid defense in front of goalie Jaroslav Halak. For a team that is much deeper with NHL talent at forward than on defense, having a veteran like Lubomir Visnovsky healthy could be a difference maker in how deep Slovakia gets this time around.