An eye toward Vancouver, 2.0

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Last year about this time, we projected what the rosters for the top seven hockey-playing countries would look like for the upcoming 2010 Winter Olympics (and reposted it in October). Well, now is a pretty good time to take a second look at those roster projections and make any necessary adjustments. Instead of doing all seven teams (eight counting a Canada “B” team) in one gargantuan blog post, let’s do this over the course of a few days.

Up first is a team which could have a little Washington Capitals flavor in the Czech Republic, but both guys (Tomas Fleischmann and Michal Neuvirth) are certainly on the bubble.

CZECH REPUBLIC

Forwards

Patrick Elias-David Krejci-Milan Hejduk

Milan Michalek-Jiri Hudler-Martin Havlat

Vinny Prospal-Martin Straka-Jaromir Jagr

Pavel Brendl-Tomas Plekanec-Ales Hemsky

TOMAS FLEISCHMANN-Jakub Voracek

Just missed: Petr Sykora, Robert Lang

Defensemen

Zybnek Michalek-Marek Zidlicky

Tomas Kaberle-Pavel Kubina

Jan Hejda-Rostislav Klesla

Jaroslav Spacek

Just missed: Michal Rozsival, Roman Hamrlik

Goaltenders

Tomas Vokoun

Ondrej Pavelec

Roman Turek

Just missed: MICHAL NEUVIRTH

Skinny: The biggest differences from last summer are the rise of Krejci and the fall of Plekanec. There are also some aging defensemen who are on the decline. This team will likely be thin down the middle, but those are four pretty even lines. Straka and Brendl are still having success in the Czech league, and Jagr’s return to North America (if it doesn’t happen this fall) would be an interesting subplot.

This group could challenge for a medal, but a lot of it will revolve around Tomas Vokoun. An injury to him could be devastating, because there is little goaltending depth. Don’t be surprised to see Dominik Hasek come out of retirement and suit up for this team.

TOMORROW: Will we see Milan Jurcina in Vancouver as a member of Team Slovakia?

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