Jaromir Jagr returns to the Czech Rep to train for the upcoming Ice Hockey World Championships; goalie Tomas Vokoun backstops the Nashville Predators to an important win over the Detroit Red Wings in the first round of the Stanley Cup play-offs; Sparta Prague downs Pilsen to keep chances against Ostrava Banik alive; and Jiri Welsch is set to make NBA history as the first Czech to ever appear in a post-season NBA game.
Prague's new state-of-the-art ice hockey arena saw its first game on Sunday, when Slavia Prague took on Hame Zlin in the third game of the Extraliga playoff finals. In the NHL, Patrik Elias was the Czech player with the most points in the regular season. In football news, Sparta Prague have played their first game under new coach, and former Sparta star, Frantisek Straka. Elsewhere, Ostrava slipped up at Zlin while Olomouc have gone second, at least for a short time.
Sparta Prague have sacked their fourth manager in two years, Jiri Kotrba. The Czech football league champions are ten points behind leaders Ostrava, with only seven games to go. In ice hockey, defending champions Slavia Prague have made a remarkable comeback in the Extraliga semi-finals. Further afield, Czech star Petr Nedved has scored his 300th NHL goal, and against a Czech goalie to boot. In tennis, Jiri Novak has been beaten in the third round of the big-money Nasdaq-100 Open in Miami.
Jaroslav Plasil, the only Czech player left in the Champions League, has received his first call-up to play for the Czech national team. The player tells us of what the call-up means to him, and how his club Monaco still hope to bounce back after a Champions League defeat against Real Madrid. Meanwhile, in the Czech league Sparta continued their poor run with a third 0:0 home draw in a row. In the ice hockey Extraliga playoffs Sparta lead Slavia on games, while Zlin are through to the final after beating Pilsen.
The race for the Czech football championship is hotting up, with Slavia closing the gap on leaders Ostrava by beating them 2:0 away. Sparta Prague manager Jiri Kotrba has been fined for swearing - his bad language was clearly audible on television. Both ice hockey Extraliga playoffs are 2:1 on games. In skiing slalom ace Sarka Zahrobska has won two medals at the national championships, while cross country star Martin Koukal has won a Czech Olympic Committee award for the best sporting achievement of 2003.
The Extraliga semi-final playoffs are now under way, and Slavia and Zlin have set the pace with convincing victories. In football, Liberec and Teplice struggle against lower-league opposition in the Czech FA cup, while amateur player Radek Vana wins a Fair Play award for exposing corruption in Czech football.
For the first time in the history of the ice hockey Extraliga the team which won the league, Pardubice, has been beaten in the first round of the playoffs. What's more they were beaten by Pilsen, who only made the playoffs by the skin of their teeth. In football, Sparta Prague beat Slavia 2:0 in a dramatic game at Strahov. And Czech cross country skier Katerina Neummanova has been looking back on an "amazing" season.
Sparta Prague have been knocked out of the Champions League by AC Milan, though not without giving the holders a bit of a fright. Meanwhile, Sparta manager Kotra is under pressure as a crucial derby against Slavia approaches. In the ice hockey Extraliga the quarter-finals are close to being decided, while NHL star Petr Nedved has scored his first goal for new club Edmonton. And young Czech tennis player Iveta Benesova has been enjoying her first ever WTA tournament win.
In this edition of Sports News: Czech success at the Indoor World Championships in Hungary, including Roman Sebrle's record-setting win in the heptathlon; more woe for football's slumping Sparta Prague in the Czech premier division; and, the latest results in the first round of the hockey play-offs including big wins by Pilsen and Vitkovice.
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