The final series playoffs in the Czech ice hockey Extraliga have gotten off to a most exciting start. Karlovy Vary caused a real sensation just by getting to the final, then caused another upset by beating favourites Slavia Prague 5:4 in the opening game in the capital on Friday. A day later Slavia regained their composure, with a 5:2 win in front of 16,000 fans at the O2 Arena making it 1:1 on games. Speaking after Saturday’s match, Slavia defender Tomáš Žižka said the playoffs are physically demanding.
“It is hard. It’s the final and everybody’s going full out. That was a lesson from yesterday’s game – it was end to end stuff. Today we played more from the back and waited to see what they would come up with. Luckily we scored a few goals…we were the better side today, and we deserved to win.”
The next game in the best-of-seven series takes place on Tuesday in Karlovy Vary.
Across the water, Czech goaltender Dominik Hašek made 27 saves and was voted most productive player in Detroit’s 4:1 win over Chicago on Sunday; that was the club’s last game before the NHL playoffs. Along with fellow Detroit goalie Chris Osgood, the 43-year-old took the William M. Jennings Trophy for conceding the fewest goals in the NHL regular season, 184 in 82 games. It is the third time Hašek has won the award.
The Czech men’s tennis team are now in Moscow, ahead of a Davis Cup quarter-finals tie with Russia which begins on Friday. The omens are good: on his way to the semi-finals at the Miami Open last week, the leading Czech player Tomáš Berdych beat two of the Russian team he and his colleagues will face in Moscow, Dmitry Tursunov and Igor Andreev.
Sparta Prague have pulled in front in the Czech football league, at least momentarily: they beat České Budějovice 1:0 at home on Saturday to move one point ahead of Slavia Prague, with six games remaining. Slavia can regain top spot if they beat Plzeň away on Monday evening; that game was due to take place after the recording of this programme.
The Czech national team doctor Petr Krejčí says captain Tomáš Rosický has come to terms with the fact he may not appear for Arsenal again this season. The midfielder has been out with a persistent tendon injury since January. Krejci told the daily Sport that Rosicky wouldn’t risk intensive training until the European Championship, which was the player’s “absolute priority”.
Meanwhile, Petr Čech has suffered a setback in his return from an ankle injury. The goalkeeper required surgery after sustaining cuts to his lip and chin when he took a kick in the face from a Chelsea team-mate in training on Sunday.
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