The Czech Republic comes into 2010 Olympics ranked 6th by the IIHF. They havent medalled in a World Championship in 3 years, finishing no higher than 5th in that time. Their 6th ranking is the lowest they have had in many years.
Dont count this jekyl & hyde team out though, its still loaded with stud star players. The team is ripe with all-stars & hall of fame calibur players.
Tomas Vokoun- FLORIDA PANTHERS (NHL) Whether Dominik Hasek can go or not, Vokoun is likely the starter.
Dominik Hasek- PARDUBICE HC (CZECH). When unarguably one of the best goalies in the history of the game says he wants in, you dont argue much with him being there. Even if there are multiple obstacles, most notably, an injury that has seen him only play 3 games this season. If he can go, he is there. If not, the back up will be Pavelec & the 3rd string will likely be young Michael Neuvirth.
Ondrej Pavelec- ATLANTA THRASHERS (NHL) If Dom cant go, he is the uncontested back up.
Tomas Kaberle- TORONTO MAPLE LEAFS (NHL) Clearly far & away the top defenseman from the Czech team. Tomas will be expected to play heavy minutes against the top units of the opposition.
Marek Zidlicky- MINNESOTA WILD (NHL) A power play specialist, Marek will log lots of PP time & likely #2 unit ES minutes.
Pavel Kubina- ATLANTA THRASHERS (NHL) This 6'4 rock will take a lot of the checking duties & will likely play with Zidkicky who is a bit less defensive minded.
Roman Hamrlik- MONTREAL CANADIENS (NHL) Another PP specialist, with a strong shot. Roman will log lots of PP mins, but has a defensive skill set as well which will make him usable in all situations.
Ladislav Smid- EDMONTON OILERS (NHL) A solid +13 this season, and some offensive skills will make him a usable piece in all situations.
Jaroslav Spacek- MONTREAL CANADIENS (NHL) 700 NHL games & a strong season this year at both ends of the ice are hard to ignore. Should be on this team.
Karel Rachunek- MOSCOW DYNAMO (KHL) The best of the European based dmen should make this team. What capacity is not entirely sure.
Martin Havlat- MINNESOTA WILD (NHL) Having a slow year offensively adjusting to the Wild system of play. Still expected to be a top unit contributor though.
Patrik Elias- NEW JERSEY DEVILS (NHL) Since returning from injury, he has shown flashes of his old self. Minus a small 3 game blip a couple weeks ago, Hes scored pts in 10 of 11 games.
Milan Hejduk- COLORADO AVALANCHE (NHL) Will be expected to score goals, and likely will fill that role.
Vaclav Prospal- NEW YORK RANGERS (NHL) The Rangers have been lucky enough to catch Prospal on an even numbered season. The epitome of Jekyl & Hyde is doing it again this season, having a stellar year after a letdown one last season. The Czechs must be thrilled the Olympics are this year for this reason.
Jaromir Jagr- OMSK AVANGARD (KHL). Like Hasek, he is there simply by default. But he has done well in the KHL to validate his spot. The all time leading scorer amongst Czech players in the NHL will only really need to think about whether he is on the top line, or 2nd line.
Tomas Plekanec- MONTREAL CANADIENS (NHL) The top scoring Czech in the NHL is a lock for the team, just what line will he play?
Tomas Fleischmann- WASHINGTON CAPITALS (NHL) Yes I know. Anyone could score with Semin, backstrom, Greene or Ovechkin helping them. But dont be fooled, he showed these skills even in the AHL where none of them were there to help him.
Martin Erat- NASHVILLE PREDATORS (NHL) A few weeks ago I doubted his spot on the team, but hes strengtehned his offensive game lately & now I see him as a probable top 2-3 line guy.
Milan Michalek- OTTAWA SENATORS (NHL) A slow Decemeber has dropped his stock some, but hes still expected to be on the 2nd line, or 3rd line.
Jiri Hudler- MOSCOW DYNAMO (KHL) Forget Jagr, Jiri Hudler is the top scoring Czech in Russia this year. He'll be used in offensive situations certainly, but in probably will be 2nd or 3rd line mostly.
Petr Sykora- MINNESOTA WILD (NHL) if he is back from his concussion by then, he'll make the team.
Roman Cervenka- SLAVIA PRAHA HC (CZECH) The runaway scoring leader of the Czech league will probably be on this team. Will he be used in an offensive spot is still to be determined. Too many offensive weapons, not enough spots. But he'll still be here for no other reason but to reward his great play this year in the Czech Republic.
David Krejci- BOSTON BRUINS (NHL) After last seasons superb campaign, there were high hopes for David this year. he hasnt met them YET, but shows flashes of last years skills. He'll be here solely based on what he showed last year.
Radim Vrbata- PHOENIX COYOTES (NHL) Has offensive skills, but will be expected to play generally a checking role here.
maybes- Michael Neuvirth, Zbenek Michalek, Ales Kotalik, Jakub Voracek, Robert Lang, Michal Frolik.
Minnesota Wild- autograph report
The Wild, generally a great signing team were so-so today. Lot of it had to do with several players coming out at once & a meager crowd of only 6-7 people waiting.
Some of it had to do with having 4-5 new faces on the team & 1 or 2 faces that people generally didnt have stuff for.
For me, it also didnt help that I didnt bother with befor ethe practice, still sleeping off a long night before of celebrity hounding.
NIKLAS BACKSTROM- 2 autographs. Could have infact got more perhaps, but he was rushed and I was trying to get two players at once, so I eased up & with with 2 items. He likely would have done more. Shockingly, before the game he ignored everyone on 1 side & only signed for 1 person on the opposite side. But un-Backstrom like.
JOSH HARDING- 2 autographs. It was the nicest I have seen him in a long time. Hes usually a bit elusive. Not terrible, but not the type to walk over to you & do multiple items everytime you see him. Today he did do multiple items.
BRENT BURNS- 1 autographs. Getting 1 from Burns is actually good. On average, I see him sign less than 1/2 the time. So getting 1 was better than I hoped. Requests for multiples were ignored.
GREG ZANON- 0 autographs. Happily did any items he was asked to sign.
MAREK ZIDLICKY, KIM JOHNSSON, SHANE HNIDY, NICK SCHULTZ, JAMIE SIFERS, JOHN SCOTT- Do not have a report on.
MIKKO KOIVU- 1 autograph. I missed him after practice, but before the game was there. He was a strict 1 per, but made sure he got everyone that asked him.
MARTIN HAVLAT- 3 autographs. Still willing to sign whatever is asked of him. Helped that there was such a meager crowd I'm sure.
PETR SYKORA- 0 autographs. Came out with Havlat, so he was barely asked. But the people who did ask got him on multiple items.
OWEN NOLAN- 1 autograph. Hes been consistently a 1 per for a few yrs now, still is.
JAMES SHEPPARD- 1 autograph. Learned a tip about him. He will sign 1 of each item. So if you have 3 of the same card, he'll only do one...even though he signed 9 for the person right beside him, just because they were all different.
ANDREW BRUNETTE- 0 autographs. I somehow missed him because I couldnt figure where I had hid his card when he came in. Signed for those who asked though.
DEREK BOOGAARD- 0 autographs. His hearing works, as he heard me when I said "I take that as a no?" after he ignored us for the 2nd time in the day. But clearly his vision doesnt. He managed to miss everyones sharpies & is clearly confusing the plastic beer cups on his shelf for trophies. For a guy who is a future AHL cast away he sure has quite the attitude.
ERIC BELANGER, PIERRE MARC BOUCHARD, CAL CLUTTERBUCK, BENOIT POULIOT, KYLE BRODZIAK, NATHAN SMITH, ANTTI MIETTINEN, ANDY HILBERT- Do not have a report on.
Total for Minnesota- 11 autographs.
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