In Sports News this Monday: Czechs fail to make home advantage pay at Ice Hockey World Championships, finishing fourth; Jágr retires at international level despite being Czechs’ most productive player; and Hradec Králové and České Budějovice are relegated 12 months after winning promotion to Czech soccer’s top flight.
On Sunday, in the final of the Ice Hockey Championships at Prague’s O2 Arena, Canada declassed defending champions Russia, at one point leading 6-0. Russia was able to score a consolation goal in the third period for a final score of 6:1. Afterwards, the Russian squad made a show of leaving the ice even before the Canadian national anthem was performed. Organizers announced that a new tournament record was set this year in attendance: 64 matches in Prague and Ostrava were visited by a total of 741,690 fans – an average of 11,589 per match.
Czech hockey legend Jaromír Jágr announced his retirement from international competition on Sunday after the national team’s loss to the United States. The Czech squad finished fourth at the Ice Hockey World Championships held this year in Prague and Ostrava. Jágr, who is 43, was named the tournament’s MVP and was named to the All-Star team. The player told journalists that it was time to move on, looking forward to at least one more season in the NHL with the Florida Panthers. Jágr won a gold medal at the 1998 Nagano Olympics and two World Championships – in 2005 and 2010. His 722 goals lead all active NHL players.
In ice hockey, the Czech team lost against the US 0:3 and failed to take the Bronze position in the World Championships. Nick Bonino opened the scoring in the 8th minute with Trevor Lewis adding a second in the last minute of the period. The Czechs stepped up the pressure in the second period but failed to convert their chances despite at one stage having a four minute power play. Against the run of play Charlie Coyle added a third goal in the 40th minute. The Czech team therefore finished in fourth position, the same place as last year in Minsk.
In ice hockey, the Czechs will face the US for the bronze medal position in the world championships on Sunday afternoon. The US were beaten 4:0 by Russia, the current champions, who will compete with Canada for first place on Sunday night. The US-Russia contest remained goalless until the 47th minute when Sergei Mozyakin broke the deadlock. Goals followed in the 51st, 55th, and 58th minutes. Earlier, Czech star Jaromír Jágr said his team’s main problem had been not to convert early chances in the game against Canada. Canada scored without reply in the first two periods and controlled much of the match.
In ice hockey, the Czech team lost in the semi-final against Canada 0:2 on Saturday. Canada opened the scoring with Taylor Hall in the eighth minute and Jason Spezza in the 30th adding a second with no reply from the Czechs. Michál Jordan found the net for the Czech in the second period but the goal was disallowed because of an infringement by Petr Koukal. The Canadians looked dominant throughout the match with Jaromír Jágr failing to reproduce the magic from Thursday night. The Czechs will now face the US or Russia for a bronze medal.
Czech forward Tomáš Plekanec, who plays for the Montreal Canadiens who were recently eliminated in the Stanley Cup playoffs, will play on Saturday in the semifinal match against Canada in this year’s Ice Hockey World Championships. National team coach Vladimír Růžička confirmed the information. Plekanec was the second-highest goal-scorer for Montreal during the NHL regular season; he is expected to skate on Friday evening and to also train on Saturday morning ahead of the match.
In ice hockey, the Czech team has secured its place in the semi-finals of the world championships after beating Finland 5:3 on Thursday night. In a dramatic match, the Czechs opened the scoring but the Finns levelled and then pulled ahead 2:1 early in the second period. Jaromír Jágr pulled the score back to 2:2 in the 34th minute and Jan Kovář put the Czechs back ahead two minutes later. Finn Alexander Barkov tied at 3:3 in the 45th minute but Jágr gave the Czechs the lead again with his second on the night five minutes before time. Vladimír Sobotka eased Czech nerves by finding an open goal in the final minute. The win sets up a semi-final match against Canada on Saturday.
On Thursday, the Czech Republic faces Finland in their first knockout stage match at the Ice Hockey World Championships. As the hosts of this year’s tournament, the Czechs – led by Jakub Voráček and legendary forward Jaromír Jágr – will do their utmost to make it to the semis, to keep alive chances of winning a medal at home. But beating the Finns, backstopped by a phenomenal Pekka Rinne, won’t be easy.
In ice hockey, Czech forward Jaromír Jagr has been cleared as almost certain to play in the world championship quarter final against Finland on Thursday night. Worries surfaced after Jagr was withdrawn from the ice during the first period of the group match against Switzerland on Tuesday with a suspected groin strain. The team physiotherapist Pavel Kolář later said that the 43-year-old was likely to be fit. The Czechs have a poor record against Finland over recent years, picking up more defeats than wins against them.
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