VOORHEES, N.J. -- Slovakia went 0-3-1 in the Olympics and finished 11th out of the 12 participating teams. But for Andrej Meszaros, the experience wasn’t a total loss.
“I felt pretty good personally,” Meszaros said. “I played a lot of minutes. I played every situation, so it was good for my confidence. It was good, but overall it wasn’t really successful. I’m not going to look at it as a successful Olympics.”
Sochi was Meszaros’ third Olympic experience. He also represented his country in 2006 in Torino and 2010 in Vancouver, when Slovakia made it to the bronze medal game and finished fourth. That, he said, was a much more successful opportunity.
However, the four games Meszaros appeared in could certainly help him going forward. The 28-year-old defenseman has played in only 35 games with the Flyers this season. He’s had a tough time holding onto a spot in the lineup despite 16 points and plus-3 rating.
Having those four extra games -- and significant ice time -- under his belt could be a benefit. Especially because he was able to stay fresh while most of his Flyers teammates did little but rest and work out off the ice.
“I haven’t played the full season, obviously, I’ve been sitting out,” Meszaros said. “So it was good for me to get more games. I don’t know if it’s going to be an advantage -- guys had some rest, and rest is important too. We’ll see. We’ll see how I’m going to benefit from it.”
Sochi was an all-around “great” experience for Meszaros, who said he most enjoyed catching up with former teammates from years past. But he also relished in the chance to spend time in the newly built Olympic Village.
It wasn’t as bad as it had been made out to be in the media there, he said.
“I didn’t expect anything bad,” Meszaros said. “I knew it was brand new and they put a lot of money into it. It was great security -- you had to go through a bunch of screenings, so it was kind of a pain, but it was good. Overall it was very nice. You had the ocean, you had the rinks, and on the side you had the mountains. It was very beautiful.”
And, unsurprisingly, you can add Meszaros’ name to the list of Flyers in favor of NHL players returning to the 2018 Winter Olympics, which will be held in South Korea.
“I think it’s an amazing experience for everyone -- doesn’t matter if it’s your first Olympics or fifth or whatever,” Meszaros said. “For the players, they should be allowed to go. I know there’s the risk of injuries, but it can happen over here too. You can’t control that. If it happens it happens.
“But I think every athlete should experience the Olympics -- it doesn’t matter if it’s hockey or any other sport.”