How often must we repeat the phrase that goes, "oh, those poor Slovaks, victimised by (fill in the blank)!" ("Olympic hockey dream dashed at Salt Lake", by Tom Nicholson, February 25 - March 3, Vol. 8, No.7). Grow up!
Let's face it. Slovakia didn't play well. Not because they were victimised by the NHL, but because they could not play competitively as a team. The playing field was even. All other teams faced the same rationing of NHL players. Slovakia, however, did a poor job of managing its roster, and did an even poorer job of putting a team on the ice that could play cohesively.
It is also absurd to suggest unfavourable socio-economic conditions contributed to the team's poor performance. I doubt Slovak NHL millionaires feel affected on the ice by high unemployment in their home country. Other players are national heroes who have better things to worry about (like winning). For players, the economic and social incentives to win are great.
A team of competent players that had to fight to place second-to-last needs to examine itself in the mirror, determine what happened, and make positive changes. Quit playing the victim and grow up.