The national hockey team faces Sweden on Monday after winning their first two games at the Ice Hockey World Championships against Russia and Latvia (on penalty shots). The team should see the return of David Pastrňák. Pavel Francouz (who helped the Czechs eke out a 4:3 victory against Latvia) is expected to start in goal.
The Czech Republic beat Latvia 4-3 in their second game of the Ice Hockey World Championship in Moscow on Saturday. Tomáš Plekanec scored twice in the first period, giving the Czechs a 2-0 lead, but Latvia levelled with goals by Roberts Bukarts and Zemgus Girgensons. With just over two minutes left, Mikelis Redlihs put Latvia into the lead, but Michal Řepík levelled just 59 seconds before the end of the third period. After a goalless overtime, Lukáš Kašpar scored the only goal of the shootout, securing the Czech Republic's lead in Group A.
Legendary Czech forward Jaromír Jágr, 44, has signed a new one-year contract with the Florida Panthers. ESPN quoted general manager Dale Tallon as saying Jágr had been a “great fit with the organisation”; the veteran player had 27 goals last season and is 19 points shy of tying Mark Messier’s all-time points record, behind only Wayne Gretzky. Jágr was recently profiled in an article by the New York Times focussing on his extraordinary training regimen; he is the oldest active player in the NHL.
In ice hockey, the Czech squad departed for the world championship in Moscow and St. Petersburg on Wednesday. The championships begin on Friday. Czech coach Vladimír Vůjtek admitted at Prague airport that the squad is different from what he might have hoped for because some players were unavailable but that the Czechs were still capable of challenging for medals. The Czech team lost 3:0 to Canada in the last warm up game before the championships on Tuesday night.
Chomutov hockey forward Roman Červenka received three awards at a gala event on Monday evening, including best player of the regular season in the Tipsort Extraliga. Most of the awards, however, went to Liberec, who won this year’s playoffs; the team’s Radim Šimek clinched the award for MVP in the postseason.
In Sports News this Monday: Viktoria Plzeň lift Czech league title with three rounds to go – coach Krejčí says November win over rivals Sparta sparked march to championship; Lucie Šafářová shows form of old with Prague Open win; and Jágr is shortlisted for Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy for dedication to ice hockey.
Legendary Czech hockey forward Jaromír Jágr has been confirmed as one of the three finalists this year for the Bill Masterson Memorial Trophy, awarded to the player best exemplifying the “qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship and dedication to hockey”. At 44, Jágr led his team the Florida Panthers on points this season – becoming the oldest player in NHL history to pass the 60 point plateau (he had 61). He helped his team win the Atlantic Division for the first time; hopes for a longer Stanley Cup playoff run were ended in the first round of the playoffs by the New York Islanders. A recent New York Times prolife mapped the player’s training regimen which has helped him stay at the top of his game.
Police have called for fraud charges to be pressed against former national ice hockey coach, Vladimír Rúžička, according to the ČTK news agency citing police sources. The charges relate to his period as trainer at the Prague Slavia club when he is alleged to have received half a million crowns from a wealthy businessman in order that his son would play for the club. The sum never found its way onto the books of the hockey club. The allegations came to light ahead of last year’s ice hockey world championships with Rúžička later resigning his post. He is currently the trainer at Chomutov.
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