In Sports News this Monday: Czech ice hockey legend Gut dies at 86; Rozsíval scores first NHL goal in nearly two years; Vrabcová-Nývltová reaches top 10 in Tour de Ski; striker Necid returns to Slavia; and Hejnová undergoes surgery after training injury.
The world of Czech ice hockey is in mourning after the news on Monday that legend Karel Gut has died at the age of 86. Most closely associated with Sparta Prague, Gut played over 300 league games and was a national title winner in 1954. He subsequently led Czechoslovakia to gold at the World Championships as a trainer in 1976 and 1977. If that were not enough, after becoming the chairman of the Czech Ice Hockey Union in 1994, Gut oversaw the sport’s greatest period in the Czech Republic.
Czech defenseman Michal Rozsíval scored his first NHL goal in almost two years on Sunday, as he helped Chicago Blackhawks achieve a point after a 2:3 defeat to San Jose on penalties. Rozsíval, who won the Stanley Cup with the Blackhawks last season, had gone over 100 games, including in playoffs, since his last strike in the colours of Phoenix.
Cross-country skier Eva Vrabcová-Nývltová has become only the second Czech woman to make the elite top 10 in the prestigious Tour de Ski. She had been in seventh place overall in the 10km classic going into the event’s final race at Italy’s Cermis. However, Vrabcová-Nývltová fell off the pace on Sunday and in the end finished a creditable eighth. Speaking afterwards, she said the result was a great boost a month before the Olympics. Local fans will get to see her in action next weekend in a World Cup event at Nové město na Moravě.
Striker Tomáš Necid is set to return to Slavia Prague on a free loan from CSKA Moscow for the second half of the season. The rangy forward looked extremely promising in his teens but only scored 19 goals in 75 games over a five-year period at CSKA in a stint blighted by two serious ankle injuries. Surplus to requirements at the Moscow club, the 24-year-old has recently been on loan at the Greek side PAOK but only started three times in half a season. Necid has found the net seven times in 26 appearances for the Czech national team.
Last season could not have been better for Zuzana Hejnová, who went undefeated in the 400m hurdles and topped the podium at the World Athletics Championships in Moscow. However, this year could hardly have got off to a worse start for the hurdler, after she broke a bone in her instep while training at Prague’s Strahov on Saturday. Hejnová was set to undergo an operation on Monday and has been ruled out of this year’s indoor season. However, she is expected to be back on the track by the summer.
Czech tennis player Lucie Šafářová has scored an impressive victory at the Apia International in Sydney, one of the warm-up events ahead of next week’s Australian Open. The 26-year-old beat last season’s French Open winner Francesca Shiavone of Italy 6-4 6-4 in the first round.