“If they pass through the medical tests they will arrive,” confirmed coach Slavomir Lener. In that case there would be already nine gold medal winners from the Nagano 1998 Olympic Games. Even without Czech players from Ottawa or Toronto, coach Lener still has in the team twelve World Champions and nine Olympic gold medal winners. Forward David Vyborny and blueliner Frantisek Kaberle have already four gold medals from the World Hockey Championships.
On Tuesday morning defender Roman Hamrlik from New York Islanders joined the team. St.Louis forward Petr Cajanek heads into Prague via Vienna. He should joint the team on Wednesday so that he can be ready to play on Thursday in the friendly game against Canada. The interest to play at the World Hockey Championship “at home“ confirmed two former teammates and friends from Litvinov, the memebers of the “golden generation“: defenseman Jiri Slegr and forward Martin Rucinsky, whose teams did not advanced to the conference semifinals in the Stanley Cup playoffs on Tuesday night.
The progression of the Boston – Montreal and Vancouver – Calgary series was closely monitored by the Czech coach Lener. „I talked to Slegr at half past three in the mornnig,“ said Lener “It is not an easy thing to talk to the players about the Championship immediately after a lost game, even with Martin Rucinsky, who said he will come here on million percent. He had a last chance to win the Stanley Cup,“ reminded coach. Both players need to go through the afterseason mediacal tests in their respective teams. Regarding the health, they should be ok and if Vancouver and Boston give permission to Rucinsky and Slegr, they will both arrive to Prague as soon as possible. On Wednesday there will be more talks done with both of the players and then their “yes“ should be final at that time.
Czech coach also expressed an interest in Vancouver’s defenseman Marek Malik. The plus/minus awarded winner had never played for the senior nation team. “But Malik is injured, he was finishing the season with a fracture. I don’t know how his health condition is right now,” brought up nation team coach.
On Tuesday night the Czech coach did not get much sleep either, since he was carefully watching seventh game of the series between Ottawa and Toronto. In that game played few candidates for the Czech national team jersey: reputable leader Robert Reichl and blueliner Tomas Kaberle or tenacious youngster Martin Havlat. „I don‘t want to speculate about it now. We agreed that those players whose team will loose will call me“ concludes Lener.
How could the Czech team be set up?
Vokoun (Čechmánek, Salfický) – Hamrlík, Špaček, F.Kaberle, Modrý, Šlégr, Rachůnek, Hamr (possibly Hejda or Škoula) - Jágr, Straka, Výborný - Dvořák, Prospal, Ručinský - Čajánek, Dopita, Beránek - Balaštík, Vašíček, Hlinka (or Hlaváč) - Průcha (Kraft or Bednář)
Ottawa’s Martin Havlat is not yet included in this prognoses
How could the other countires‘ teams be set up?
Canada: Giguere (Luongo, Denis) - Staios, Brewer, Bouwmeester, S. Niedermayer, Morris, Schultz, Mitchell - Briere, Friesen, R. Smyth - Heatley, R. Niedermayer, Nash - Williams, Horcoff, Morrow - Dumont – other players from the NHL…
Sweden: Henriksson - Norström, Jonsson, Rhodin, Gustafsson, N. Wallin, R. Sundin, M. Johansson - Näslund, Jonsson, Bremberg - Kahnberg, Davidsson, Andersson - Höglund, Karlberg, Salomonsson - Tarnström, H. Sedin, D. Sedin – Hagos
Slovakia: Lašákk, Križan, Budaj - Čierny, Štrbák, Lintner, Mezei, Majeský, Meszároš, Podhradský - Gáborík, Demitra, Nagy - Ron. Petrovický, Šatan, Bartečko - Pavlikovský, Rob. Petrovický, J. Štefanka - Tomík, Kapuš, Kolník – Kukumberg
Russia: Sokolov, Fomicev - Bykov, Juskjevic, Proskin, Turkovskij, Guskov, Kalinin, Skopincev - Antipov, Bucajev, Kovalcuk - Zelepukin, Zinovjev, Oveckin - M. Afinogenov, Baskirov, A. Morozov - Pronin, Jemeljejev, Mozjakin
Finland: Markkanen (Noronen, Norrena) - Niinimaa, Timonen, Mantyla, Numinen, Nummelin, Karalahti, Niemi - Lehtinen, Pirjeta, Pirnes - Niemi, Immonen, Kallio - Hentunen, Parssinen, Peltonen - Hagman, Rintanen, Virta - Laaksonen