In Sports News this Monday: the Czech Republic have a mixed time of it at ice hockey’s Channel One Cup, taking points in all of their games but never the maximum three; David Bakeš notches up a career-best fourth in a Snowboardcross Cup event in Colorado; and the erratic Czech footballer Jan Šimák has been shown the door by Stuttgart.
The Czech Republic’s ice hockey players had a mixed time of it in their last competition before February’s Winter Olympics in Vancouver, Moscow’s Channel One Cup. They finished third in the tournament and also finished third in the four-nation competition it is part of, the Euro Hockey Tour.
The Czechs managed to pick up points in all of their games in the weekend’s Channel One Cup, but never the maximum three. They were losing by three goals to Sweden and by two to Russia, only to claw their way back to parity, and remained undefeated at the end of 60 minutes in all three of their matches. But the Czechs were unable to manage either overtime or penalties, demonstrating a previously-seen weakness when it comes to scoring goals.
Coach Vladimír Růžička spoke to Czech Television on the team’s arrival home in Prague.
“Of all three games the one that went worst for us was against the Swedes, when we didn’t play well for half of the game. But I have to thank the players for how they performed and for the fact we were losing in every match but managed to turn it around so we were unbeaten after 60 minutes.”
Also on the plus side of the ledger, star player Jaromír Jágr showed at the weekend that he still has both the skills and the hunger, demonstrating just why he remains at the heart of the Czech team’s plans. The 37-year-old’s name will no doubt be among the first on the list for the Olympics squad, which Růžička will announce on December 30.
Somebody else going to Vancouver in February will be David Bakeš, who notched the best result of his career with a sensational fourth-place finish in a Snowboardcross Cup event in Telluride, Colorado on Sunday. Bakeš, who is 27, has reportedly upped his performance levels since recently switching to a new carbon snowboard.
Jan Šimák, one of the more interesting figures in Czech football, is looking for a new club. The 31-year-old made only two appearances for Stuttgart in the first half of the season, and has just been let go by the Bundesliga side. A skilful but erratic midfielder, Šimák first made an impression when he scored 18 goals for Hannover when they won promotion to the German top flight in 2002. However, a move to Leverkusen proved a failure and Šimák briefly returned to Hannover, before later undergoing treatment for a gambling addiction.
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