Elias, Jagr, Zidlicky named to Czech Olympic roster
New Jersey Devils forward Jaromir Jagr earned a fifth trip to the Olympics, named to the official Czech Republic 25-player roster announced Monday in Prague.
Jagr made his debut for the Czech Republic in 1998, helping his country win gold in Nagano, the first tournament in which the NHL stopped play and allowed its players to compete. He also played in the 2002 tournament in Salt Lake, 2006 in Turin, winning a bronze medal, and the 2010 edition in Vancouver. Jagr, who leads the Devils in points (34) and is tied for the team lead in goals (13), will be 42 when the tournament begins in Sochi on Feb. 12.
Seventeen of the 25 players named to the Czech roster play in the NHL. Winnipeg Jets goalie Ondrej Pavelec, though, is the only goalie on the roster in the NHL currently.
On the blue line, the Tampa Bay Lightning's Radko Gudas, Jakub Kindl of the Detroit Red Wings, Zbynek Michalek of the Phoenix Coyotes, Michal Rozsival of the Chicago Blackhawks, Ladislav Smid of the Calgary Flames and the New Jersey Devils' Marek Zidlicky are all currently in the NHL.
There are a dozen current NHL forwards on the roster as well. Montreal Canadiens forward Tomas Plekanec, who was named team captain, Patrik Elias of the New Jersey Devils, Jakub Voracek of the Philadelphia Flyers, Milan Michalek of the Ottawa Senators and David Krejci of the Boston Bruins are among the high-profile forwards on the team.
A few former NHL players are on the team as well. Tomas Kaberle of Toronto Maple Leafs fame is on the blue line and Petr Nedved, who starred for the Pittsburgh Penguins, Vancouver Canucks and New York Rangers, plays forward. Nedved, 42, edges out Jagr as the oldest player on the team.
Forwards Jiri Hudler (Calgary), Radim Vrbata (Phoenix) and Jiri Tlusty (Carolina), defenseman Jan Hejda (Colorado) and goalie Michal Neuvirth (Washington) are among the notable omissions.
In the past Olympics, the Czechs dropped a 2-0 decision to Finland in the quarterfinals, finishing seventh.
Here is the full roster for 2014:
Goalies: Jakub Kovar, Avtomobilist Yekaterinburg (KHL), Ondrej Pavelec, Winnipeg Jets, Alexander Salak, SKA St. Petersburg (KHL).
Defensemen: Michal Barinka, Vitkovice Ostrava (CZE), Radko Gudas, Tampa Bay Lightning, Tomas Kaberle, Kladno (CZE), Jakub Kindl, Detroit Red Wings, Lukas Krajicek, Dynamo Minsk (KHL), Zbynek Michalek, Phoenix Coyotes, Michal Rozsival, Chicago Blackhawks, Ladislav Smid, Calgary Flames, Marek Zidlicky, New Jersey Devils.
Forwards: Roman Cervenka, SKA St. Petersburg (KHL), Patrik Elias, New Jersey Devils, Michael Frolik, Winnipeg Jets, Martin Hanzal, Phoenix Coyotes, Ales Hemsky, Edmonton Oilers, Jaromir Jagr, New Jersey Devils, David Krejci, Boston Bruins, Milan Michalek, Ottawa Senators, Petr Nedved, Bili Tygri Liberec (CZE), Jiri Novotny, Lev Prague (KHL), Ondrej Palat, Tampa Bay Lightning, Jakub Petruzalek, Amur Khabarovsk (KHL), Tomas Plekanec, Montreal Canadiens, Vladimir Sobotka, St. Louis Blues, Jakub Voracek, Philadelphia Flyers.