Overseas, many hockey fans are largely following the latest results in the NHL playoffs, but in Europe, all eyes in will soon be on the Ice Hockey World Championships, set to begin in Prague and Ostrava. The puck will drop in the first face-off on Friday, May 1, with the Czechs facing Sweden in their opening match.
The Tampa Bay Lightning won Game 7 on home ice against the Detroit Red Wings on Wednesday putting them into the second round of the Stanley Cup playoffs. The goalies for both sides kept the puck out of the net for two periods but Detroit rookie Petr Mrázek was beaten in the third by a slapshot over the shoulder, top corner, by Braydon Coburn. Goaltending was a key factor throughout the match and the series, with Mrázek earning two shutouts against the Bolts. On Wednesday, Mrázek was named the game’s third star.
Czech rookie Petr Mrázek has been a major asset in goal for the Detroit Red Wings in the first round of the Stanley Cup playoffs but wasn’t able to stop the Tampa Bay Lightning from notching up a 5:2 win against his club on Monday to force a deciding Game 7. Mrázek stopped 23 shots on the night and robbed Brian Boyle with a phenomenal stick save that made all the highlight reels, keeping the Red Wings in the game temporarily but Detroit were unable to capitalise. Mrázek, 23, hails from Ostrava and has gotten the nod ahead of veteran goalie Jimmy Howard, earning two shutouts in the series. The winner of Game 7 will face the Montreal Canadiens in the next round.
Montreal Canadiens’ Tomáš Plekanec got an assist on the game-winning goal against Ottawa on Sunday - a puck which Brendan Gallagher batted out of mid-air and slotted past Ottawa’s Craig Anderson in the first period. The Ottawa Senators were trying to force a Game 7 in the first round of the playoffs after winning two games in a row. But Montreal’s Carey Price stopped 43 shots and the team held on for the 2:0 win to advance to the next round. The Habs will face the winner of Detroit-Tampa Bay, next. Detroit, with Czech goalie Petr Mrázek, have the upper-hand in that contest, leading their respective series 3:2.
Some 70 percent of Czechs want Vladimír Růžička to remain in the post of national squad coach ahead of the Ice Hockey World Championships despite allegations that he accepted a bribe, according to a survey carried out by the Median agency for Czech Radio. According to the allegation, the coach accepted a sum of 500,000 crowns from a businessman to allow his son to play for Slavia Prague which he coached. Most of the respondents said Růžička shouldn’t be dismissed unless the allegation was proven. Participants in the survey also said his dismissal could threaten the team’s performance. The World Championships this year take place in Prague and Ostrava.
Thousand of fans welcomed Litvínov's ice hockey team to the North Bohemian town on Saturday evening to celebrate their first-ever victory in the domestic Extraliga title. In the seventh, deciding match of the playoff final series on Thursday, Litvínov beat Třinec 2:0. The tight match was goalless throughout the first two periods thanks to outstanding performances by the two goaltenders. Litvínov secured the title only in the final 20 minutes of the game.
Former Czech ice hockey international and coach Ladislav Lubina has been ordered to pay half a million crowns in damages to the family of a man he killed in a car accident, Mladá Fronta daily reported on Saturday. Lubina caused a four-vehicle crash near Hradec Králové in 2007, fleeing the scene. The man who was killed in the crash was the father of former football international Vratislav Lokvenc. However, Mr Lubina cannot pay the imposed fine since he has declared insolvency and faces seizure of property.
In ice hockey, the Czech national team beat Finland for the second time in three days with a 3:2 victory in Brno on Friday. The decisive goal came from Jakub Voráček in a shootout. Two of the other Czech goals were scored by Michal Jordán and Vladimír Sobotka. Jaromír Jágr also featured in the Czech line-up. The duel, which was part of the Euro Hockey Tour, was the last warm up match for the world championships, which start in Prague and Ostrava at the beginning of May.
In ice hockey, Litvínov has claimed its first domestic Extraliga title in its history, after beating Třinec 2:0 in the seventh, deciding match of the playoff final series at Třinec’s arena on Thursday night. The tight match was goalless throughout the first two periods largely thanks to outstanding performances by the two goaltenders. The title was secured by František Lukeš, who scored in the 52nd minute and added another goal when he found an empty net in the final minutes of the game. Litvínov’s goalkeeper Pavel Francouz got a shutout for the fourth time in this year’s playoff.