In Sports News this Monday: Slavia beat out-of-form Sparta in the 287th Prague derby; ex-Czech defender Martin Jiránek scores one of Europe’s goals of the season so far, in the Russian league; Jaromír Jágr leads Kladno to their fifth Extraliga win in a row - and draws the crowds; and Tomáš Berdych advances to the second round in Tokyo.
In hockey, Kladno faces league champions Pardubice in Prague on Wednesday – another match by Kladno at Prague’s O2 stadium since acquiring Czech NHL players Jaromír Jágr, who plays for the Dallas Stars and the Montreal Canadiens’ Tomáš Plekanec, playing overseas due to the NHL lockout. The arena offers greater capacity for fans wanting to see not only regular extraliga players but also NHL talent.
Hockey legend Jaromír Jágr has played his first game in eight years in the Czech domestic league. Jágr – who is newly signed with the Dallas Stars – received the go-ahead only at the ‘last minute’ from NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman, news website idnes reported. He and other players sought permission to play elsewhere in light of the current NHL lockout. Jágr is playing for his home town club of Kladno; on Tuesday the team lost 3-2 against Slavia at a game held at Prague’s O2 Arena. Jágr admitted exhaustion after the match but made clear he was glad to be playing for the Czech club.
In Sports News this Monday: Czechs beat Argentina to reach Davis Cup finals; in football, Plzeň controversially beats Sparta Prague in Gambrinus Liga; Czech hockey fans look forward to NHL stars coming home to play during lockout; and in athletics, Olympic javelin champion Barbora Špotáková returns to her roots and stets her new personal best in heptathlon.
Hockey legend Jaromír Jágr and Kladno will play several league matches at a Prague’s O2 arena this season, reports news website idnes. The reason is to allow a far greater number of fans view the club’s league matches, including one of the sport’s biggest stars. According to the daily, other Czech players like Tomáš Plekanec, Marek Židlický and Tomáš Kabrle could also play in the Czech league given developments in the NHL where a lockout appears increasingly likely as time for a new Collective Bargaining Agreement runs out.
The 20th season of the Czech hockey extraliga begins on Thursday with a match between last year’s runners-up Kometa Brno and newcomers Chomutov. Commentators see no apparent favourites of the season but expect Sparta Prague, Pardubice and Třinec to play for the title. The top hockey division has slightly changed the relegation system for the new season; two best teams from the second top league, instead of one, will this year play two worst extraliga teams for spots in the top division.
The newly-formed hockey club Lev Praha has made its debut in the Kontinental Hockey League. The first Czech-based team to join the KHL got two wins out of its three home games before setting off on a tour of Russia and Belarus. But has the new club also succeeded in bringing Czech hockey fans to see KHL action in Prague?
Czech hockey player František Kaberle, a five-time world champion and a Stanley Cup winner, has ended his career. The 38-year-old defenceman, who in the last season played for HC Plzeň in the Czech top division, said a series of minor injuries prevented him from getting fully into training. In the NHL, Kaberle played for the Atlanta Thrashers, the Los Angeles Kings and the Carolina Hurricanes with whom he won the Stanley Cup before returning to the Czech Republic in 2009. As part of the Czech national team, František Kaberle also won a bronze medal at the 2006 winter Olympics in Torino.
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