The Czech Republic’s loss in the bronze medal game to Sweden in the 2014 World Championships will be the last time Jaromir Jagr hits the ice for his country.
Jagr, 42, said following the game it would be the last time he’ll play for the Czech Republic. After playing in the Olympics five times and at Worlds eight times, he said it was time to take a break as Rich Chere of The Star-Ledger shared.
“When I count the last two years, I think I’ve played the most games of any hockey player in the world,” Jagr said. “I’m not 21 anymore. On the other side, I don’t mind playing. I don’t get tired.
“I took a chance. I knew it was going to be tough for me to come from the small ice to go on the big ice. I know it’s join to help me next year.”
If that’s Jagr’s way of calling it quits internationally, it’s not totally convincing. Perhaps missing out on a medal at both the Sochi Olympics and Worlds has him feeling a bit cranky.
After all, he’s said repeatedly he has no plans of hanging it up completely and he just signed a one-year deal to stay with the New Jersey Devils. Chances are a guy like Jagr has carte blanche to play for the national team if he so chooses. If this truly is it for him with the national team, his career there has been brilliant with a gold medal at the 1998 Olympics and a bronze in 2006.
According to reports out of the Czech Republic, coach Alois Hadamczik has resigned from that position with the team following the Czechs sixth-place finish in Sochi.
While they made it as far as the quarterfinals before losing to the United States, the team was wrought with controversial choices for the roster as well as Hadamczik’s methods and decisions behind the bench.
During the Games, there were reports of dysfunction in the Czech locker room and while those reports were denied, the team’s play on the ice pointed towards there being other problems.
Of course, if you ask Hadamczik about why he’s stepping down, he has other ideas about why.
Darn that media for rising up against the coach who happened to pick Michal Barinka, his son-in-law, instead of taking St. Louis Blues defenseman Roman Polak.
If the Czech Republic is going to get past Slovakia for a match-up against the United States, they’ll likely have to do it without Patrik Elias.
According to Zdenek Janda of iSport in the Czech Republic, Elias will miss the qualifying round game against the Slovaks with an illness. Elias missed the previous game against Switzerland with the same problem.
Elias was not either power play unit during the team’s practice on Monday according to iSport. That points toward him not being able to go for the game on Tuesday. Janda’s report is further evidence of that.
The Czechs’ curious decisions on their roster have provided enough debate fodder already after their mostly disappointing play during the opening round. Now with Elias likely missing this game, those choices will be put under the microscope again.
Forward Martin Hanzal was scratched in the opening game of the Olympic tournament for the Czech Republic against Sweden. At the time, it was believed he was sitting out because he was feeling under the weather, like teammate Radko Gudas was doing.
It turns out that’s not the case. Elliotte Friedman of CBC reports a Czech official said Hanzal had no injury and it was coach Alois Hadamczik’s decision to sit him.
Opting to sit Hanzal goes on a growing list of curious decisions made by the Czechs concerning the Olympic team.
It started with the choices made for the team when forwards Jiri Hudler and Radim Vrbata were not chosen to represent the country. Then, forward Martin Erat was selected over both of those players to replace Vladimir Sobotka who couldn’t play because of an injury.
Top that off with Jets goalie Ondrej Pavelec not even dressing against Sweden and the fact that defenseman Michal Barinka is married to coach Hadamczik’s daughter and you’ve got quite the curious situation all around.
If the Czechs wind up out of the tournament early, there will be a lot of fingers being pointed around the room.
The Czechs next game is against Latvia on Friday at 3 a.m. ET.
Vladimir Sobotka landed on injured reserve for the St. Louis Blues with a leg injury that will knock him out of the Olympics. That opens the door for another player to join the Czech Republic roster and it could be Calgary’s Jiri Hudler.
Olympic coach Alois Hadamczik told TV NOVA in the Czech Republic (via Roman Jedlicki) that Hudler may be the leading candidate to replace Sobotka on the Czech roster.
Yes, Capitals forward Martin Erat, he of zero goals in 47 games this season, could also get the call. As for the other players mentioned, here’s what their story is:
Tomas Rolinek — 33-year-old currently with Praha in the Czech league and was on the 2010 Olympic team.
Jan Kovar — 23-year-old forward currently with Metallurg Magnitogorsk in the KHL and has 66 points in 50 games.
Zbynek Irgl — 33-year-old forward with Dinamo Minsk in the KHL. He has 18 points in 46 games.
Interesting choices abound, but Hudler’s omission from the roster in the first place was a surprise. He would seem like the logical choice, but Rolinek could be the “safe” selection for the Czechs.