Introducing Your 2010 Winter Olympics Czech Republic Ice Hockey Team (Part 2)
Hopefully you enjoyed the preview that showcased the head coach, goalies, and defensemen that will proudly representing their home country of the Czech Republic in the upcoming Winter Olympics.
Tonight, Part 2 will introduce you to the 12 forwards who will proudly be wearing this flag on their chest and shoulders. Some you will certainly be familiar with, and others not so much. And we're off!
Forward: Petr Cajanek
Current Team: SKA Saint Petersburg (KHL).
You may slightly remember Cajanek as a St. Louis Blue for four seasons. He has slightly below average numbers, his best year for St. Louis was in 2007 when he scored 15 goals and put up 33 assists for a total of 48 points, good for 3rd on the Blues that year. Can't imagine he's on this team for scoring touch.
He was on the bronze medal-winning team in 2006, possibly part of the reason why he's back for 2010. Strange enough, I can't find any stats for him actually playing, but he was apparently on the roster and received a medal (I found stats for him playing in 2002, but not 2006). A little weird to bring back a guy you didn't play last time.
Forward: Roman Cervenka
Current Team: Slavia Praha (Czech Extraliga).
One of head coach Ruzicka's own is the second forward to be introduced. Cervenka was named one of the Top 10 Players Not Playing in the NHL right here on BleacherReport by another FC by the name of Daniel Sallows. With due reason, too.
In just 44 games this season for Slavia he has 28 goals and 39 assists! Those are Crosby-like numbers. Here's one of those guys you don't know now, but you definitely will during and after the Olympics. I'd say Ruzicka probably lobbied to get Cervenka on the team, but with numbers like that I don't think any lobbying was needed.
Forward: Patrik Elias
Current Team: New Jersey Devils
Elias holds the captaincy for the Czech team this winter, which is well earned. Elias did a good job in his short time as Devils captain, and has been an outstanding alternate captain.
He isn't the most deadly scoring threat you've ever seen, but he can still put the puck in the net (he's the Devils all-time points leader), almost always seems to be the one scoring goals in clutch situations, and can beat goalies on their absolute best nights.
It's important to have a captain that comes up big in big situations, and it's hard to come up with a list of names that fit that category which doesn't have Elias on it.
Forward: Martin Erat
Current Team: Nashville Predators
Good, playmaking forward that can play either wing position. He's decent on the power play, scoring four of his 18 goals on the man advantage so far this year.
He's having a weird season, scoring more goals than he assists on (15). This shows Erat's becoming more comfortable handling the puck himself and finishing the play. Erat's certainly not the most prolific goal scorer on this roster, so he'll probably be setting up the goals more than scoring them.
Forward: Tomas Fleischmann
Current Team: Washington Capitals
Quietly flying under the radar in Washington behind the likes of Alex Ovechkin, Alexander Semin, and Nicklas Backstrom, this 25-year-old center has put up 39 points in just 44 games (17 G, 22 A).
He will serve as a utility forward on this squad, as he can play all three forward positions. Even though he can score goals himself, he's known mostly as a player to help set up tallies, but don't be surprised to see him put a few in the net at the Olympics.
Forward: Martin Havlat
Current Team: Minnesota Wild
After a big 77 point (29 G, 48 A) season in Chicago last season, Havlat's suffered a slight dropoff in his time as a member of the Wild, scoring just 11 goals and assisting on 26. He has had some injury problems, so let's give him a little slack, right?
Anyway, he will prove valuable as he can play both wing positions and has the ability to score highlight-reel goals, but the Wild will be holding their collective breath as Havlat suffers more injuries than the New York Mets (seriously).
Forward: Jaromir Jagr
Age: 37 (38 during Olympics).
Current Team: Avangard Omsk (KHL).
You may remember Jagr from his 646 goals and 953 assists in the NHL. Heard of him? Just to practice, it's pronounced yah-gur (not jager[meister], as a classmate of mine once claimed).
Don't worry, he can still score, with 22 goals and 19 assists for Omsk in 45 games. The only thing I'm surprised with is that Jagr isn't the official captain of the team, but I'm sure he'll get an alternate position.
Just because you haven't seen Jagr scoring on your TV every night the past two years doesn't mean he's washed up or fallen off the face of the earth. He's still a very dangerous forward and one of the best in the world.
Forward: David Krejci
Current Team: Boston Bruins
Krejci is the youngest forward on this Olympic roster. While he's having a down year this season (he shouldn't feel bad, the whole Bruins team is), Krejci made a name for himself last year, scoring 22 goals and adding 51 assists. At the age of 22, that's pretty impressive.
A tough year this season makes us wonder if he's a one-hit wonder of if he's just slumping with the rest of the Bruins, but he's still talented enough to make the squad. He's fit the mold of many of the forwards we've already gone over, which is the ability to score some goals on occasion, but is more apt at setting the goals up for the bigger snipers.
Forward: Milan Michalek
Current Team: Ottawa Senators
Milan joins his older brother Zbynek on the Czech squad. He enjoys finishing the job himself, with a Sens second-best 18 goals this season. He's a big guy and isn't afraid to get a little physical. Any player who can score and isn't afraid to do a little dirty work in the meantime is a good fit on an Olympic squad. He is known to be a bit streaky, so hopefully the Czech team has him on one of his good stretches.
Forward: Tomas Plekanec
Current Team: Montreal Canadiens
Plekanec's having a career year for the Habs this year, with 54 points through 56 games (41 of them coming from assists). The Czech's picked a good time to pick Plekanec, who's currently the points leader for the Habs this year, even ahead of Cammalleri who was having a great year before his injury. Tomas just adds to the depth of forwards (Erat, Fleischmann, Havlat, Krejci) that are great playmakers.
Forward: Tomas Rolinek
Age: 29 (30 during Olympics).
Current Team: Metallurg Magnitogorsk (KHL)
Rolinek's stats are nothing to go nuts over, but he's a player that teams who want to win want on their team. He was on the Czech World Championship teams from 2006-2009. His best statistical season came in 2009, when he scored 24 goals and added 15 assists in his first year in the KHL.
Forward: Josef Vasicek
Current Team: Lokomotiv Yaroslavl (KHL)
Vasicek will be some physicality and toughness to this team. Vasicek hasn't played in the NHL since 2008, but he's been a serviceable forward in the KHL. He's a big boy at 6-foot-5, so he's definitely a player that can help clear out bodies in front of the net while also screening the goalie if need be.
Vasicek never had more than 45 points in an NHL season, so hard to say that scoring skill is the reason he's here. It's more realistic to see him as a third or fourth-line player that brings a physical touch to the Games.