Earlier this week, hockey fans hoped that the Czech national team had finally found its legs in a 7-0 drubbing of Norway. But that was as good as things would get. Although the Czechs avoided the embarrassment of an early exit and made the quarterfinal, they again faced tournament’s biggest surprise this year, the Swiss, and were defeated.
Czech ice hockey forward Roman Červenka is leaving the NHL, where he played for Calgary, and returning to the Continental League (KHL) to play for Saint Petersburg, his agent Aleš Volek told the CTK news agency on Friday. Červenka, 27, who played for Calgary in the past season, has signed a three-year contract with St. Petersburg. Červenka is returning to the Continental League after a year-long pause. Before joining Calgary, he played for the KHL's Omsk for two years. He played 39 games for Calgary Flames, scoring nine goals and securing eight assists.
The Czech Republic lost to the Swiss 2:1, in an emotional quarterfinal match at the Hockey World Championship in Sweden. The Swiss got in their first goal within the first seven minutes of the match thanks to the Czech defenseman Marek Židlický, who ricocheted the puck, after the goalkeeper’s successful save, off of his shin and into the net. The Swiss surged ahead with a second goal in the next period. In the thir perio, the Czechs used the first power play to their advantage, when Zdeňek Kutlák, who used to play for the Swiss team Ambri-Piotta, scored the team’s first and only goal. Despite the pressure the Czechs put on their opponents in the last 10 minutes of the match, they were unable to turn the game around. The Czechs lost their chance at a medal this year, making this the first time they will be heading home without a world cup title since 2009.
Czech ice hockey players David Krejčí and Jaromír Jágr contributed to a remarkable turnaround for their club Boston Bruins on Monday; their assists that led to a goal that tied a NHL key game with less than one minute remaining. Boston, who had been losing 1:4, went on to beat Toronto in overtime and in so doing take their playoff first round 4:3 on games.
The Czech Republic have reached the knockout stage of the Ice Hockey World Championship in Sweden and Finland. The Czechs needed any kind of win over Norway to reach the playoffs and in the end made light work of their opponents on Tuesday, scoring three goals in the first 12 minutes and eventually running out 7:0 winners. The star of the show was forward Tomáš Plekanec, who joined the Czech squad only on Sunday from the NHL. He and his teammates now face group winners Switzerland for a place in the semi-finals.
For the Boston Bruins, with Czech players David Krejčí and star forward Jaromír Jágr, it will be “do or die” in the final game of their best-of-seven series against the Toronto Maple Leafs on Monday night in the first round of the NHL playoffs. Krejčí leads in the playoffs on goals, having scored five (including a hat trick) against Toronto; Jágr managed an assist in Game 6 but has been less of a presence. Toronto, by comparison, has seen strong performances by its goaltender, James Reimer, and players like Phil Kessel, who was key to Toronto’s forcing a seventh game.
The national team will have to beat Norway on Tuesday to advance to the knockout stages at the Ice Hockey World Championship. A loss on Sunday against Team Canada put the Czechs on the brink of being knocked out of the tournament; the squad, however, gained a reprieve with Switzerland’s 3:1 defeat of Norway later on Sunday evening. Norway are a point ahead of the Czechs in their group standings. Switzerland has been the Cinderella story of this year’s championship, remaining the only undefeated team.
In Sports News this Monday: The Czech Republic just about hang on at Ice Hockey World Championship – and now need to beat Norway to reach playoffs; defeat for leaders Plzeň allows Sparta to cut gap to two points with three rounds to go in soccer league; Kweuke gets 12-match ban for leg-breaking “tackle”; and Nicholas Kemboi wins Prague Marathon.
Marek Židlický will join the Czech national team for the 2013 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship in Stockholm on Monday. After announcing the arrival of Montreal Canadiens forward Tomáš Plekanec on the same day, the Czech national team will use their last spot on the roster for New Jersey Devils defenceman Marek Židlický. Both Plekanec and Židlický are to play in the last preliminary-round game against Norway on Tuesday.
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