Michal Handzus and Slovakia (1-2) clinched third place in Group A Tuesday with a 4-3 loss to Russia. Handzus finished scoreless with a minus-1 rating in 19:23 for the host country, which lost despite the return of former Kings defenseman Lubomir Visnovsky from shoulder injuries.
Germany won the group at 2-1-0-0 (wins-overtime wins-losses-overtime losses), with Russia placing second and Slovenia fourth.
Group play is over; Slovakia next plays Thursday and will learn its opponent tomorrow.
This season: 82 games, 8 goals, 33 assists, minus-18 rating.
Positives: This depends on which Visnovsky you’d like to talk about: the one who, during the previous couple seasons, established himself as a potential Norris Trophy candidate, or the one who looked tenative and overmatched this season. When he’s on his game, Visnovsky is, pound-for-pound, a very strong defenseman with great puck-moving skills and good offensive instincts.
Negatives: So, what happened to that guy last year? It certainly looked like a new player on the ice this season, and not in a good way.
Looking ahead: It’s hard to say what went wrong with Visnovsky. A popular theory is that he got overwhelmed, mentally, by the combination of a big contract extension (which kicks in next season) and the fact that he was named an assistant captain. The hope within the organization is that he will settle down and return to previous form.
Contract situation: Signed through 2012-13 (cap number of $5.6 million next season).