The Czech national hockey team face traditional rivals Slovakia in their opening game at the world championship in Belarus. The Czechs, star veteran Jaromír Jágr on the roster and a new coach, are looking to improve on their disappointing 7th place from last year as well as 6th place they reached at the Sochi Olympics. Former Czech international Martin Hosták is in the Belorussian capital as a commentator for Czech TV. I asked him what he thought of the Czech team ahead of the opening match.
The Czech national hockey team takes on former compatriots Slovakia on Friday in their opening match at the Ice Hockey World Championships in Minsk, Belarus. The Czechs, in Group A, then face Sweden on Sunday and Canada the beginning of the week. The team’s coach, Vladimír Růžička, stressed it was important the team got off to a good start since it would only be facing theoretically ‘weaker’ teams later in the tournament. Legendary forward Jaromír Jágr said he expected Friday’s match against Slovakia to be a tough one.
In ice hockey, both Jaromír Jagr and Roman Červenka took part in training after the Czech national squad arrived in Belarus ahead of the start of the world championships on Friday. Both players had been nursing injuries suffered in the championship warm-up tournament in Sweden. The first Czech match is against Slovakia on Friday night. The Czechs are in the same opening group as Sweden, Canada, Italy, Denmark, Norway, and France.
Montreal forward Tomáš Plekanec opened the scoring in Game 3 of the Canadiens’ second-round match-up against Boston on Tuesday – his third goal of the playoffs so far. The Canadiens dominated, spurred by a breakaway goal by P.K. Subban, at one point leading 3-0 at the Bell Centre before Boston clawed back to make it 3-2. Montreal scored an empty-netter in the dying minutes to settle matters at 4-2. The Candiens lead the series 2-1.
With the Ice Hockey World Championships beginning in Minsk on Friday, the Czech NGO People in Need has launched a campaign criticising the Lukashenko regime for its less than stellar record on human rights. The NGO is hoping to impress upon viewers that regimes like the one in Belarus use international sporting events as a façade, creating the impression everything at home is hunky dory.
In ice hockey, the Czech team lost 0:2 on shootouts against Finland in their Euro Hockey Tour match in Sweden on Sunday. The sides drew 1:1 at the end of the third period with no goals added in extra time. The match restored some price to the Czech team after their 0:6 drubbing against Russia on Saturday. The game against Finland is the last official match before the world championships start in Belarus from May 9.
In ice hockey, Czech coach Vladimír Růžička has said that that he can count on NHL forward Tomáš Hertl to reinforce the squad for the upcoming world championships in Belarus. Růžička told journalists that the San Jose Sharks player, who returned after injury last month, should join the squad on Tuesday. On the other hand, the Czech team will not be able to count on Philadelphia Flyers forward Jakub Voráček due to ongoing health problems.
Czech ice hockey star Jaromír Jágr has signed another one year contract to play for the New Jersey Devils, the NHL team for whom he played during the last season. Jágr broke the news in Prague, where he is taking part in the national team’s preparations for the upcoming Euro Hockey Tour competition in Sweden and the upcoming Ice Hockey World Championships starting in Belarus on May 9. Jágr has still not clarified whether he will be playing in the world championships or not.
In ice hockey, Lev Prague has forced the finals of the Kontinental Hockey League (KHL) to the last of the seven match series after a dramatic win in Prague on Monday night. Lev came from behind to draw the game at 4:4 in the last period and then went on to win 5:4 in extra time against Magnitogorsk. The winner was scored by Canadian Nathan Oystrick. The Prague club will have a chance to become the first non-Russian team to win the Gagarin Cup on Wednesday but will be playing away at Magnitogorsk’s stadium.
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