Going into these Olympics, Slovakia was a darkhorse for the gold medal. The team may not have the superstars like Canada or the U.S., but enough talent to compete for a medal. Unfortunately for the team, that didn’t happen and it also had a negative effect on Carolina Hurricanes’ defenseman Andrej Sekera.
Sekera played with Boston Bruin’s defenseman Zdeno Chara throughout the tournament as Slovakia’s top pairing, but the two could never find a groove together as the team lost four games in a row and was knocked out in the qualification round.
The Canes’ defenseman was part of a 7-1 loss to the U.S. and a 1-0 shootout to Russia, where the team actually played well, but Sekera’s biggest blow was in the 3-1 loss to Slovenia.
Sekera turned the puck over behind his net that led to Slovenia’s first goal, then couldn’t stop Anze Kopitar when he scored the game-clinching third goal in the third period.
But Sekera also went into the tournament on a rough stretch with the Hurricanes as him and Justin Faulk struggled in the last few games before the Olympic break.
With the stretch run coming up, the Canes will need Sekera and Faulk, who hasn’t played an Olympic game yet, at the top of their games.
Obviously Slovakia did not have a good tournament and in no way can all the blame be put on Sekera, but the talent he has showed through the majority of the season will be needed by the Hurricanes.