Zdeno Chara to captain Slovakia in Sochi

BRATISLAVA, Slovakia (AP) — Boston Bruins defenseman Zdeno Chara will captain Slovakia at the Sochi Games next month, hoping to improve on fourth place at the Vancouver Olympics.

Other major Slovak stars, including Chicago Blackhawks forwards Michal Handzus and Marian Hossa and St. Louis Blues goaltender Jaroslav Halak are also on the 25-man squad that coach Vladimir Vujtek announced on Tuesday.

Defensemen Lubomir Visnovsky of the New York Islanders and Michal Sersen of HC Slovan Bratislava together with forward Marian Gaborik of the Columbus Blue Jackets made the team although they are still injured.

Slovakia starts the Olympic tournament on Feb. 13 against the United States before facing Slovenia and Russia in Group A. In Vancouver in 2010, Slovakia surprised by placing fourth, its highest finish in Olympic ice hockey.

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