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.
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
Zybnek Michalek-Marek Zidlicky
Tomas Kaberle-Pavel Kubina
Jan Hejda-Rostislav Klesla
Just missed: Michal Rozsival, Roman Hamrlik
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?