In Sports News this week: speed skater Sáblíková wins 5,000 metres at Heerenveen; Hockey forward Plekanec gets four assists in 10-1 drubbing of Colorado; Petr Čech’s Arsenal second in Premier League.
Czech speed skater Martina Sáblíková triumphed in the 5,000 metres in Heerenveen, the Netherlands, on the World Cup circuit at the weekend, defeating Germany’s Claudia Pechstein by a difference of more than three seconds. After her win, here is what her coach, Petr Novak, had to say:
“Top performance depends on discipline. Ahead of the race you see other competitors walking around with their phones, having completely different interests, rather than concentrating fully on the race at hand. Martina does not act like that. That adds up to tenths of a second, and then seconds, on the track. It’s why Martina wins.”
After four triumphs in four starts, the Czech, a three-time Olympic champion, leads the table, 165 points ahead of nearest rival Anna Jurakova of Russia. Sáblíková raced only in the 5,000 metres due to a problem with her right knee.
Czech players Jakub Voráček and Tomáš Plekanec picked up points in their respective games at the weekend. Voráček, who plays for the Philadelphia Flyers scored once and had three assists against Dallas on Saturday. The Flyers won the match 4-2 and now have an eight-game winning streak. Also on Saturday, the Montreal Canadiens' Plekanec got four assists against the Colorado Avalanche. The Habs declassed their opponents, winning 10-1. The Montreal Canadiens, have a 14-1-1 record at home at the Bell Centre so far this year and after Sunday, continue to lead the NHL just ahead of the New York Rangers and the Chicago Blackhawks.
London football club Arsenal were briefly top of the Premier League on Saturday when the Gunners came from behind to clinch a 3-1 win against Stoke. The home side's lone goal came on a penalty kick. In the second half, substitute Peter Crouch could have added a second for Stoke and made a run of it, but his header was denied by goalkeeper Petr Čech. A day later, Čech’s former club, Chelsea, won their ninth-straight Premier League match, defeating West Bromwich 1:0. Arsenal are on 34 points and second in the table while Chelsea have 37 and are first.
On Monday, Arsenal drew Bayern Munich in UEFA’s final 16 draw in the Champions League – a tough match up. They last met in the championship in 2014. Coach Arsene Wenger may have a tough choice ahead over who to put in goal: will he continue with David Ospina, who has played in the club's Champions League games this year or switch over to the Czech goalkeeper who has more experience at this stage of the competition?
Meanwhile, on Monday Prague football club Sparta drew Russia’s Rostov in the next round of the Europa League.