There's no doubt about the biggest Czech sports story at the moment: it has to be the transfer of ice hockey star Jaromir Jagr from the Washington Capitals to the New York Rangers, which was confirmed on Friday. Rangers had been trying to sign him for over two years. Jagr, who is 31, is the best paid hockey player in the world, and the most successful Czech ever in the NHL's history. The Kladno-born right wing joins his old friend Petr Nedved and three other Czech players at Rangers. However, Jaromir Jagr might have imagined a more auspicious beginning at his new club: in his first outing for the New York Rangers on Saturday they suffered a 9:1 whitewash at the hands of Ottawa. He described the result afterwards as a "kick in the behind".
Jagr's transfer is not good news for Czech ice hockey fans: he is now more likely to be involved in NHL play-offs, meaning he is less likely to be available to play for his country at the World Championships, which take place in the Czech Republic in May.
After a black day for Czech tennis on Thursday, when four Czech players were knocked out of the Australian Open, only Jiri Novak remained in the first Grand Slam of the season. However, Novak's run didn't exceed that of his countrymen by much: he was beaten by Romania's Andrei Pavel in the third round on Saturday, despite winning the first two sets. A very disappointed Novak said afterwards that he'd rather lose three sets to love than be beaten 6:4 in the fifth.
Just a few weeks before the Biathlon World Championships, the Czech Republic's Katerina Holubcova is in fine form: she came second in a World Cup 7.5 kilometre race in Anterselva, Italy, her best result so far this season. Speaking after her win, Holubcova said whenever her shooting was on form, so was her skiing. It's all in the mind, she told reporters.
Ales Valenta, who took gold for the Czech Republic in aerial freestyle skiing at the last Winter Olympics, won the second World Cup event of his career on Sunday. His only other World Cup win came exactly a year ago at the same venue, the Canadian resort of Fernie.
Sparta Prague have, as expected, signed talented midfielder Petr Vorisek from Teplice. Vorisek, who was part of the Czech football team which won the European Under 21 Championships in 2002, recently made his debut for the Czech Republic's senior team. While Sparta are looking ahead to their Champions League games against holders AC Milan, Vorisek will have to sit those matches out: he is cup-tied after appearing for Teplice in the UEFA Cup.
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