TV pundit: Jágr should shine in latter stages of hockey Worlds
The Czech national hockey team face traditional rivals Slovakia in their opening game at the world championship in Belarus. The Czechs, star veteran Jaromír Jágr on the roster and a new coach, are looking to improve on their disappointing 7th place from last year as well as 6th place they reached at the Sochi Olympics. Former Czech international Martin Hosták is in the Belorussian capital as a commentator for Czech TV. I asked him what he thought of the Czech team ahead of the opening match.
What are the strengths of the Czech team? There are several new forwards in the team so is offensive something we can rely on this time?
“We have a really good team on the offensive. The first line features Vladimír Sobotka and Jaromír Jágr; I also expect quite a lot from Tomáš Hertl who was really good at the start of the season and is back after a knee injury, and I hope he will lead our offensive.
What role will Jaromír Jágr have in the team? The coach, Vladimír Růžička, has complained that his teammates were relying on Jágr a little too much during power play practice – could this be a risk?
“I don’t think so. He’s playing with Sobotka who plays in the NHL where he also has good players around him. So he’s getting used to having Jágr by his side, and I think it’s going to work out well.
“We’ll see how Jaromír himself will be feeling, and what his game will be like because he’s had a pause in training. I think he’ll do best in the quarterfinals and semifinals if we get there of course.”
How do you feel about the world championships being hosted by Belarus which is a country that’s sometimes referred to as the last dictatorship in Europe?