In Sports New this Monday: Coach Hadamczik disappointed with overseas players after Czechs lose all three games in Karjala Cup; Jágr now seventh in NHL all-time points tally table; Hejnová named Czech Athlete of Year but regrets absence of Špotáková; and non-playing captain Navrátil will miss Davis Cup final in Belgrade.
The Czech Republic had a Karjala Cup to forget. After defeats against Sweden and hosts Finland, the Czechs held out until the final period against Russia on Sunday, only to concede twice in 34 seconds and lose 2:0. What’s more, not only did Alois Hadamczik’s team come last, they only managed to find the net twice in the entire tournament. The Czech coach said the biggest letdown in Finland had been the performance of several players from the NHL.
“This time, the players who don’t play in the Czech league weren’t at all better than those who do. That’s been a disappointment to me. We’re going to have to reassess things. If we’re going to lose with these players, it’d be better to take 10 or 12 players from the Czech league. We may lose, but those players will be better and more experienced after two or three tournaments. What’s more, they will value the opportunity more.”
The results in Finland mean the Czech Republic, who are propping up the table in the four-nation Euro Hockey Tour, have lost five of their six games so far this season. Fans will no doubt be hoping their form improves ahead of the Winter Olympics, which take place in Russia’s Sochi in three months’ time.
Czech hockey star Jaromír Jágr now has the seventh highest points record in the history of the NHL. The right wing moved up from eighth spot after notching up one goal and one assist for New Jersey in their 5:0 win over Nashville on Sunday. Jágr, who is 41, told reporters after the game that he wants to keep playing for as long as he can still walk.
Zuzana Hejnová has been named Czech Athlete of the Year for the first time in a poll of sports journalists. She has been undefeated in the women’s 400m hurdles in 2013 and crowned the best season of her career with gold at the World Championships in Moscow. Olympic javelin champion Barbora Špotáková had taken the Athlete of the Year award the last six years, but she was on maternity leave this season – a fact that Hejnová said was unfortunate.
“I’m very glad. But it’s a pity that Barbora didn’t compete, because that meant that we couldn’t meet. That said, the competition this year was of a high standard and they all put in excellent performances. But I’m glad I’ve finally won it. I think I was second twice, and I believe third once, so I’m glad I’ve finally managed to win.”
The Czech Republic’s men’s tennis team will be without non-playing captain Jaroslav Navrátil for next weekend’s Davis Cup final against Serbia in Belgrade. Navrátil, who helmed the team to victory in last year’s competition, is suffering from a pulmonary embolism. A decision on who will stand in for him is due to be made on Monday, after the recording of our programme.
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