Jaromir Jagr troubled by lack of Czech participation

Kids these days; they just don’t have any respect. What with their loud music, lack of patriotism … and disinterest in growing mullets (unless it’s just for laughs).

Those are the words I envision going through Jaromir Jagr’s head as he critiques the Czech players who declined invitations to play for their 2010 IIHF World Championships team. TSN shared his criticisms.

Jagr grew up dreaming of playing for his country and cautions that the Czech Republic could be relegated to a lower tier in the future if more players don’t start showing up at the world championship.

“The game has changed, there’s no question about it,” said Jagr. “We’re not a country like Canada or Russia — if the top 20 guys say no, they can still put together a great team. We just don’t have those kind of players. And the players should realize it — you never know, because the level of hockey is getting better.

“You can see Denmark beat Finland (on Saturday). If your top guys don’t go to world championship, it might happen that your team next year might play in B group.”

The Czech teams haven’t had much success since 2006, when they managed to land an Olympic bronze medal and a silver at that year’s world championship tournament.

It’s understandable that Jagr is frustrated, but as I’ve said before, the competition is a lot like how the N.I.T. is to March Madness in college basketball. Particularly in a year in which the Vancouver Olympics took place; it’s not like these guys threw out their national allegiances altogether. He does have a good point, however, in saying that the Czech Republic could run the risk of declining on a world hockey scale. 

Ultimately, though, national teams will just have to deal with players passing on more hockey in favor of rehabilitation … or margaritas.

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    WATCH LIVE: Vegas Golden Knights at San Jose Sharks

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    Starting goalie: Malcolm Subban

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    Brenden DillonDylan DeMelo

    Starting goalie: Martin Jones

    Cam Ward delivers an all-time own goal (video)

    Fox Sports Carolinas

    We’ve seen some pretty interesting own goals throughout NHL history, and now Cam Ward has staked his claim for one of the strangest.

    The Carolina Hurricanes goaltender scored on himself in one of the most bizarre plays ever seen in the NHL.

    The puck, as you can see, hops into the skate of an unknowing Ward as the veteran netminder went out to play a puck that was rimmed around the boards.

    Ward, does what he would normally do after trotting out behind his net, and gets back into his crease. Unsure of where the puck is, he drops into the butterfly. The problem is the puck is stuck in his right skate, which goes over the goal line.

    It’s hard to explain, so let’s roll the footage:

    The play-by-play man on Fox Sports Carolinas had a good point: Why wasn’t the play blown dead? Even if the ref has his eye on the puck, there was no way of Ward knowing what he was about to do.

    Is there even a rule for that?

    Either way, one of the strangest goals in recent memory counted in a game few were probably watching to begin with.

    It’s probably safe to assume Ward (and goalies around the NHL) are going to find some way as to not let that happen again.

    Scott Billeck is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @scottbilleck

    Red Wings’ Mike Green to have neck surgery, ending his season

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    Mike Green‘s neck has done him few favors this season, and now it’s done his season in.

    The All-Star defenseman will undergo cervical spine surgery and will miss the remainder of the 2017-18, the Detroit Red Wings announced on Thursday, right before the puck dropped for their game against the Washington Capitals.

    Red Wings fans will recall, and likely bemoan, an earlier neck injury that prevented Green from getting dealt at the trade deadline earlier this season.

    Green, 32, was hurt in a Feb. 15 matchup with the Tampa Bay Lightning and missed seven games, returning on March 2 against the Winnipeg Jets. On Wednesday, he aggravated the same injury in practice.

    Green has eight goals and 33 points in 66 games played.

    Per Helene St. James of the Detroit Free Press:

    The procedure is scheduled for April 5 at the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York City and will be performed by Dr. Frank Cammisa. A minimum two months of recovery time is expected.

    It will be interesting to see what happens with Green this summer. The aging d-man is headed to free agency this summer and what he will command is up in the air. That number, whatever it is, likely took a blow thanks to this latest revelation on Thursday.

    Scott Billeck is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @scottbilleck

    WATCH LIVE: Washington Capitals at Detroit Red Wings

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    Washington Capitals

    Alex Ovechkin / Nicklas Backstrom / Tom Wilson

    Andre Burakovsky / Lars Eller / T.J. Oshie

    Brett Connolly / Travis Boyd / Jakub Vrana

    Chandler Stephenson / Jay Beagle / Devante Smith-Pelly

    Dmitry Orlov / Matt Niskanen

    Michal Kempny / John Carlson

    Christian Djoos / Brooks Orpik

    Starting goalie: Philipp Grubauer

    [Capitals – Red Wings preview]

    Detroit Red Wings

    Tyler Bertuzzi / Henrik Zetterberg / Gustav Nyquist

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    Justin Abdelkader / Frans Nielsen / Andreas Athanasiou

    Evgeny Svechnikov / Luke Glendening / Martin Frk

    Niklas Kronwall / Mike Green

    Jonathan Ericsson / Trevor Daley

    Danny DeKeyser / Nick Jensen

    Starting goalie: Jimmy Howard