With the 2014 Winter Olympics coming up in February in Sochi, Russia, and the NHL players being allowed to participate, the national teams have decided to invite players to their camps. The team of the Czech Republic has been a great team for many years, and is known as one of the top teams to play. They named 23 players that they want on the team. I’m going to break it down by position.
*Ondrej Pavelec-Winnipeg Jets
*Tomas Vokoun-Pittsburgh Penguins
*Michael Neuvirth-Washington Capitals
These three goalies have had their name in the NHL. Pavelec has been the goaltender for the Winnipeg Jets, and he has played pretty well for being on a team that hasn’t hit the playoffs. On the other hand, Vokoun played great in the playoffs, that is until he hit Boston. He saved the Pens from elimination after Marc-Andre Fleury had his playoff blunder. Neuvirth played good in Washington, but was pushed aside when Braden Holtby was shining. All three goalies are good, but my bet is the roster is lined up Vokoun-Pavelec-Neuvirth.
*Marek Zidlicky-New Jersey Devils
*Tomas Kaberle-Free Agent (former Toronto Maple Leaf)
*Zbynek Michalek-Phoenix Coyotes
*Jakub Kindl-Detroit Red Wings
*Filip Kuba-Free Agent (former Ottawa Senator)
*Rostislav Klesla-Phoenix Coyotes
*Roman Hamrlik-New York Rangers
It’s going to be tough on which one not to pick to be on defense. With six spots to fill and only seven players, it’s going to be tough. My guess is that either Kuba or Zidlicky get cut from the blue line team, but it’s anyone’s position to lose. Defensemen not asked to go to camp were Jan Hejda (Colorado Avalanche) and Roman Polak (St. Louis Blues).
*Patrik Elias-New Jersey Devils
*Milan Michalek-Ottawa Senators
*Tomas Fleischmann-Florida Panthers
*Jiri Tlusty-Carolina Hurricanes
All these players are well fit for the position. I only have one problem. Where is Vinny Prospal (Columbus Blue Jackets)? I would rather see him in the line-up of Tlusty, but that isn’t my decision. They should have at least invited him to camp to see if he could better another player. But I’m not mad at the left wings that were chosen for the Czech team.
*David Krejci-Boston Bruins
*Tomas Plekanec-Montreal Canadiens
*Jiri Hudler-Calgary Flames
*Martin Hanzal-Phoenix Coyotes
*Martin Erat-Washington Capitals
These players are all good. I couldn’t believe it when I saw these names. I had no idea the Czech Republic had such great players. I think the two players most likely to get the boot is either Jiri Hudler or Martin Hanzal. Roman Cervenka (former Calgary Flame, now plays with SKA Saint Petersburg (KHL)) was not on the teams’ list.
*Jakub Voracek-Philadelphia Flyers
*Ales Hemsky-Edmonton Oilers
*Jaromir Jagr-New Jersey Devils
*Radim Vrbata-Phoenix Coyotes
This is a stacked category. The reason is because they are all powerhouse players. The only person I could think of to be team captain outside of the right wing position would be David Krejci. Other than that, I would pick Jagr, Hemsky, or Vrbata. Milan Hejduk (Colorado Avalanche) and Martin Havlat (San Jose Sharks) were left off of the roster for the right wing position.