What an up and down time Czech megastar Jaromir Jagr has been having in recent months. The current NHL season started badly for Jagr, with speculation his club Washington Capitals wanted rid of him, and a much publicised split from his model girlfriend. After a shaky start on the ice, however, Jagr - the best paid player in the league - returned to form and made it into the NHL's points table top ten. On Tuesday, though, things once again took a bad turn for Jaromir Jagr, who had to leave the ice during a game against Atlanta when his hand was slashed. After tests revealed a badly broken thumb, Jagr had to undergo an immediate operation. The player is expected to be out of action until the end of January.
In that same game Jagr's Czech team-mate Robert Lang returned to top spot in the NHL's points table, with two goals and two assists to help Washington to a 5:0 win over Atlanta.
The Czech national hockey team take on Sweden on Thursday in their first game of the Baltic Cup, which is part of the Euro Hockey Tour. They'll be hoping to forget an embarrassing 5:1 drubbing by a makeweight Canadian team in a friendly on Tuesday. However, there was good news this week for the Czech Under 20s team: it appears the Detroit Red Wings will allow Jiri Hudler to take part in the Junior World Championships, which get underway on December 26.
The Czech football captain Pavel Nedved has come fourth in the FIFA World Player of the Year awards. The winner was France's Zinedine Zidane, who of course Nedved replaced at Italian club Juventus. The Czech sports media are in a bit of frenzy about Nedved's chances of being named European Player of the Year next Monday. So, apparently, are the Italian press, who have even been running articles about Josef Masopust, the only Czech to win the Golden Ball award, back in 1962.
The Czech Republic have made a significant advance in FIFA's world rankings, jumping from 10th to 6th place after a successful year in which they reached Euro 2004, and increased their unbeaten run to 19 games.
Marek Kincl, the man whose goal put Sparta Prague into the next round of the Champions League, is leaving the club to sign with Russia's Zenith St Petersburg, who are managed by Czech Vlastimil Petrzela. Meanwhile, the player with the best goal-scoring record in the Czech league, former international Horst Siegl, has been let go by Pribram. It appears the 34-year-old may join Pilsen.
After having her first child in the summer, the top Czech cross country skier Katerina Neumannova is planning to make her comeback to the tracks this Saturday, when she takes part in a World Cup 10 kilometre free race in Austria. Neumannova said she was glad to be experiencing pre-race stress and nerves once again.
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