Saturday, September 04, 2004

Czechs find their game, Germans continue on the learning curve

The team is stocked with some pretty big names in professional hockey, yet for the first two games of the World Cup of Hockey the Czech Republic has seemed to be disinterested in the calibre of hockey taking place. The biggest enigma on the Czech roster had been Jaromir Jagr who seemed to have no inclination to take part during the first two games. That changed slightly on Friday as Jaromir picked up his first goal in the tournament and was part of the charge as the Czechs topped the Germans 7-2 at Cologne, Germany.

Whatever happened in the dressing room over the last couple of days, the Czechs finally filled the net, as seven separate players in the Czech line-up received the chance to work on their stats. Featuring a burst of three goals in three minutes, with Olaf Kolzig taking the night off, the Czechs dominated the Germans in pretty well all aspects of the game. By the time the third period rolled around the game was more of an exhibition display rather than a competitive game. The win puts the Czechs into third place and drops the Germans down to fourth. The Czechs now wait to see how the standings shake out, so as to see if they face either the Finns or Swedes.

With seven goals finding the mark, confidence should start to flow through the Czech dressing room. With the number of distractions the Czech team has had prior to the tournaments start, it’s understandable that they may be a bit dysfunctional. Some of the players have been expressing their disappointment at having to play hockey during their vacations. Others never seemed to get untracked after the death of Coach Ivan Hlinka. But with the quarter finals beckoning, its time to decide if they want to make a run of things or just pack it up and pack it in for this years tourney.

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