The Czech Republic beat Denmark 5:2 in their opening game at the Ice Hockey World Championships in Quebec on Friday, before on Sunday losing 5:4 to Russia in overtime. However, despite being defeated by their old foes, the Czech team have come in for far more praise than criticism. The positives included a hat-trick for Patrik Eliáš and the fact all four of the Czechs’ goals came power plays, which pleased Czech captain Tomáš Kaberle:
“We’re glad that things worked out that way. Unfortunately we incurred a lot of penalties, which we didn’t want. As everybody knows, the Russians can really take advantage of power plays…It was an end to end game and it was quite attractive hockey – it’s just a pity that overtime didn’t go well for us.”
The Czechs’ next game is against Italy on Wednesday, but in any case they have already qualified for the next round in Quebec.
Jaromír Jágr’s New York Rangers were knocked out of the Stanley Cup play-offs by Pittsburgh on Sunday, but the Czech star has been quick to deny speculation he may leave the NHL for the Russian club Omsk. Jágr, who is 36, told NBC TV he wanted to play for four more years – and remain with Rangers.
The race for the Czech football league title has hotted up again, after leaders Sparta Prague were beaten 2:0 at home by Brno on Sunday. That defeat followed the sending off of defender Tomáš Řepka who, in the first minute, flung the ball into a Brno player’s face during a dispute over a throw-in. Sparta boss Michal Bílek:
“It’s a pity because Řepka has, I think, been the best player in the league, partly because he has been working hard at being disciplined. Unfortunately, he didn’t control himself today. Red cards like that are incomprehensible.”
That result means Slavia Prague can move to within just one point of Sparta if they can overcome Olomouc away on Monday evening, after the recording of this programme. There are two rounds of the Czech league remaining.
Tennis’s Prague Open – the only WTA tournament held in the Czech Republic – has been won by Russia’s Vera Zvonareva. She beat Victoria Azarenka of Belarus 7-6 6-2 in Sunday’s final at Stvanice Island.
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