It’s Dan Mount again, and I’ve got another Olympic roster in the lead up to Sochi. This time we’ll be taking look at the Czech Republic’s roster. The roster has some old, some young and some question marks. I already have rosters for Team USA, Canada, Russia,Sweden and Finland. I’ll also have weekly video for you
If you have any comments, please leave them below or tweet me @DanMountSports. I’ll have Slovakia’s roster and the best of the rest before the Olympics.
Czech Republic roster
Jaromir Jagr (New Jersey Devils); Patrik Elias (New Jersey Devils); Tomas Plekanec (Montreal Canadiens); Ales Hemsky (Edmonton Oilers); Jakub Voracek (Philadelphia Flyers); Michael Frolik (Winnipeg Jets); Martin Hanzal (Phoenix Coyotes); Vladimir Sobotka (St. Louis Blues); Ondrej Palat (Tampa Bay Lightning); Milan Michalek (Ottawa Senators); David Krejci (Boston Bruins); Roman Cervenka (Petrohrad – Czech Republic); Petr Nedved (Bili Tygri Liberec – Czech Republic); Jiri Novotny (HC Lev Praha – Czech Republic)
Who may have gotten snubbed: There are three people I can think of right off the top of my head that belong on the team Phoenix’s Radim Vrbata, Calgary’s Jiri Hudler and Florida’s Tomas Fleischmann should've gotten some consideration. Vrbata’s omission has a lot of players scratching their heads. Vrbata is one of the leading scorers on the Phoenix Coyotes. Hudler had been playing well for the Flames and Fleischmann may be in the middle of a down year, but he’s still a capable goal scorer.
Breakdown: The top players in Jagr, Elias and Nedved (yes, he made the team at age 42) are at the tail end of their respective careers. Jagr and Elias may still be playing well, but ignoring guys like Vrbata and Hudler could spell doom to the Czechs medal chances. I know having a few players from the Extraliga is good, but don’t sacrifice your medal chances for a few hometown guys.
Marek Zidlicky (New Jersey Devils); Ladislav Smid (Calgary Flames); Radko Gudas (Tampa Bay Lightning); Michal Barinka (HC Vitkovice- Czech Republic); Lukas Krajicek (Dinamo Minsk – KHL); Michal Rosival (Chicago Blackhawks); Zbynek Michalek (Phoenix Coyotes); Tomas Kaberle (Rytiri Kladno- Czech Republic);
Who may have gotten snubbed: I can think of three NHL defensemen that deserve a spot in Sochi. The Blues’ Roman Polak, the Avs’ Jan Hedja and the Red Wings’ Jakub Kindl have been having decent seasons. Once again, the wanting of Extraliga players may have blinded the Czechs of their goal. Kindl really could’ve benefited from the international experience as I feel he will be a solid player in the future.
Breakdown: Kabrle is one of the elder statesmen of the blueline, but that may be the problem. There’s not a lot of depth in the D corps, and it’s going to hurt them against a team like Sweden that is in their group. I see the defensemen are going to struggle.
Ondrej Pavelec (Winnipeg Jets); Jakub Kovar (Jekaterinburg – Czech Republic); Alexander Salak (Petrohrad)
Who may have gotten snubbed: There’s a trio of young Czech NHL goalies that would love the experience of playing in the Olympics in Michael Neuvirth of Washington, Marek Mazanec of Nashville and Detroit’s Petr Mrazek. The Neuvirth snub sticks out to me, but he figured he wasn't going to make the team as he told
Breakdown: This position could be a major red flag. I don’t much about the other Extraliga goalies, but I do know that Pavelec has struggled mightily this season in Winnipeg. It could be rough to take on teams like Sweden, Switzerland and Latvia in Group C.
Final analysis: There are some very questionable roster choices on this team as some NHL players have been left at home. I know there are a limited number of spots and that they want to have some homegrown players. However, there are some issues with this team. The front line players are older and the defense and goalies are weak points. I do think the Czechs will struggle in Sochi. I don't see a repeat of gold-medal winning performance in Nagano.
Games to watch
Tampa Bay at Montreal, 1 p.m. ET (CBC, RDS, SUN): Can Carey Price get his game under control to have a shot to start in Sochi?
Pittsburgh at Phoenix, 8 p.m. ET (Root Pittsburgh, Fox Sports Arizona +): The Pens face a Coyotes team that is trying to stay in the Pacific Division race.
Chicago at San Jose, 10:30 p.m. ET (NHLN, Comcast Chicago, Comcast California): Is this a possible Western Conference final preview?
Detroit at Washington, 12:30 p.m. ET (NBC, NHLN (Canada): Both teams are struggling for a playoff spot. (Which was not expected)
Chicago at Los Angeles, 10:30 p.m. (NHLN (Canada), WGN (Chicago), Fox Sports West): The second part of the Blackhawks tough swing.
It’s now that time for the super, scummy and silly with First star, Worst star and Who Blew up the Death Star?
We go to the AHL as Wilkes-Barre/Scranton’s Harry Zolnierczyk has this awesome goal against Syracuse.
A drunk Rangers fan uses a Yankee Stadium concourse as a toilet. I’m not posting the picture, but the link only. (NSFW- Not Safe for Work)
Who blew up the Death Star?
This blind ref thing turned a year old this week, but it’s still a good one.
That’s it for this week. Take care and I’ll see you next week.
Dan Mount is an NHL columnist for TJRSports.com. He is based out of Watertown, NY.