Team Germany capsule
Sun Media

Sun Prediction: 8th

The challenge facing Germany at the Olympics is familiar to Olaf Kolzig.

The veteran goalie faces it every day in the NHL with the struggling Capitals.

Like Washington, the Germans are going to be short on talent which means they're going to have to rely on desire to go anywhere in the tournament.

"We're going to be just like (Washington): We're going to have to work hard if we're going to have success, but it's going to be exciting to be a part of it," Kolzig said. "Playing in the Olympics is the fun part."

The Germans aren't going to fool anybody by saying they're going to challenge for gold, but they would like to take a step up in the standings and make life a lot more difficult for the teams considered to be contenders.

Hockey is a developing sport in Germany, but slowly its players are starting to make an impact.

For the first time in the country's history, seven players will have NHL experience while the rest have been selected from Deutsch Elite League. A lot of the weight for success will be placed on the likes of Christian Erhoff, Marcel Goc, Dennis Seidenberg, Christoph Schubert, Marco Sturm, and Kolzig if this team is going to do anything.

German coach Uwe Krupp was a longtime NHL defenceman which means the players are going to respect the voice they hear behind the bench. That hasn't always been the case in the past and Krupp will know how he has to treat the players.

"We feel good about our chances and we're excited about the people we have," said Schubert, who will go from playing the role as a sixth defenceman in Ottawa to Germany's top blueliner in Turin.

"We've never had this many NHLers and we're excited by the fact that we performed pretty well at the World Cup (in 2004) and we almost beat Canada at the Olympics in (2002). If we show that we can play at this level, then everybody is going to have to take notice of us," Schubert said.

No, they've never won a major international championship, but the Germans advanced to the quarter-final at the World Cup and have made significant strides with the number of players they're developing.

"The players with NHL experience know they're the ones who are going to be counted on to help this team have success," said Schubert, a rookie in the NHL this season. "We have people who are going to know the challenge that we are facing every night. That is going to help us especially because we know the games aren't going to be high scoring."

So what is the goal?

"We want to play well as a team," said Schubert. "We can play NHL players and that's got to help us."