In Sports News: Czech downhill skiers clinch a sensational win in the World Cup Nations Teams event in Garmisch-Partenkirchen; football’s Sparta eke out last-minute win against Mladá Boleslav; Baroš scores in his first game back for Galatasaray; in hockey, Slavia and Liberec become the last two teams to reach the quarterfinals; Czech athletes post disappointing results at World Indoor Athletics championships.
The head of the Czech ice hockey association’s disciplinary committee, Stanislav Šulc, stepped down on Friday. Mr Šulc resigned over criticism concerning the committee’s decision to punish a top league player who purposefully injured his opponent in Tuesday’s play off game between Liberec and České Budějovice. The committee banned Liberec’s Stanislav Bartovič for one game but other extraliga teams as well as many fans thought the penalty was too light.
In the NHL on Wednesday, Czech hockey player Tomáš Fleischmann scored
the overtime winner for the Washington capitals over Carolina. The goal
came in the 64th minute and the final score was 4:3. The goal was
Fleischmann’s 19th so far this season. The player, who was one of the
more effective on the national team at the recent Winter Olympics, was
benched the last game for Washington; after the match he expressed hope
that the goal would help his place on the roster.
In other action, Radim Vrbata scored a penalty shot that helped Phoenix down Vancouver 4:3. The win is Phoenix’s 40th this season, a record the team has matched only once before, in the 2001/2002 season.
The women’s hockey club HC Slavia Praha last season recruited three foreign hockey players – two of them from a Canadian and one from an American university team - to help boost the level of women’s hockey here in the Czech Republic. Julia Bronson, Stephanie Jones and Carson Duggan have just finished a successful season with their team, which won the Czech league, and are now heading to the women’s hockey finals that are about to take place in Berlin. The three players talk about their experience here, the future of women’s hockey and how they
Vladimír Růžička has said he will quit as coach of the Czech ice hockey team after the World Championships in Germany in May. His announcement came after the Czech Republic were knocked out of the Winter Olympics at the quarter-finals. Růžička, whose contract expires at the end of the season, said after two years at the helm it was time to let somebody else take over. The former star player is also manager of the club Slavia Prague.
Czech forward Martin Erat earned two assists in the NHL on Thursday to
help Nashville down Los Angeles 4:2. He was named the game’s second
Erat has now earned 11 points in six games against LA. In other action,
Martin Rozsíval got one goal and one assist for the New York Rangers
against Pittsburgh, helping his team earn one point as the Rangers lost in
Two Czechs helped Phoenix defeat Colorado: Zbyněk Michálek assisted on Radim Vrbata’s goal, an empty-netter that sealed the game 3:1.
There were a few bright moments at Vancouver 2010 when the Czech hockey team was firing on all cylinders but ultimately the Czechs’ run at the Olympics was short-lived, notably the fourth time in a row in a major tournament that they have exited in the quarterfinals. Now some are suggesting that the Czech team is on the verge of crisis, facing lean years in which medal wins will be few.
Czech speed skater Martina Sáblíková has won the gold medal in the women’s 5000 meter race, becoming the first Czech ever to win three medals in the Winter Olympics. The 22-year-old will now be returning from Vancouver with a special place in Czech sports history, having won an earlier gold in the three-kilometre race and a bronze in the 1500. Sáblíková completed the circuit on Wednesday’s race in 6:50.91, beating the track record set by the contestant before her, German Stephanie Beckert, by a tight 0.48 seconds. Third place was taken by Canadian Clara Hughes. Sáblíková, was the last to compete and was thus aware of her accomplishment immediately as she reached the finish line, triumphant and quite evidently exhausted. In other Olympics news, a success for the Czech relay team, who won the bronze in the 4x10 kilometre race Thursday morning. Meanwhile, hopes of a medal win in hockey were dashed by a 0:2 loss to Finland.
Wednesday was the most dramatic day yet for the Czech Republic at the Winter Olympics in Vancouver. Speed skater Martina Sáblíková made history when she became the first Czech to win two gold medals at one Winter Games, while there was also sensational news in cross country skiing with the men’s relay team taking bronze. However, there was also huge disappointment for Czech fans, when the country’s ice hockey team were knocked out in the quarter-finals.
The Czech Republic’s ice hockey players have reached the quarter-finals at the Winter Olympics in Vancouver after a 3:2 victory over Latvia. The Czechs scored two goals in the first period, a feat repeated by the Latvians in the third to force overtime. However, David Krejčí eased Czech nerves with a goal in the sixth minute of overtime to book a place in the last eight. Star forward Jaromír Jágr was taken off less than half way through the game after complaining of neck pain, but is expected to play against Finland in the quarter-final tie. Many Czechs fans will be setting their alarm clocks for that match, which begins at 4 am CET on Thursday.
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