Team Czech Republic may well be Team Czechia next time we see them in international competition. This team has been called many things since the roster was announced - dull, old, lacking in talent - but I believe they have something about them which may surprise a few people. Let's see why.
Who exactly are Team Czech Republic?
Their co-GM is one Martin Rucinsky, who we know very well from his time as a Vancouver Canuck. The team also boasts former NHLers Jaroslav Spacek and Vaclav Prospal as assistant coaches - so they know what they're doing.
Which Canucks should I look out for?
No Canucks here I'm afraid. Not even a former Canuck to root for. Closest I can get you is Ales Hemsky, formerly of the Oilers, or Michael Frolik, currently of the Calgary Flames. Okay, you can cheer whoever they're playing.
Palat - Plekanec - Voracek
Michalek - Hanzal - Pastrnak
Hemsky - Sobotka - Jaskin
Cervenka - Faksa - Frolik
Michalek - Polak
Sustr - Nakladal
Kempny - Kundratek
Mrazek - Neuvirth - Pavelec
What can we look forward to with this team?
- I'll be honest, potentially very little. I like their wingers, but their center depth hardly screams goals. A lot of responsibility will be placed on the top 6, but that may open up chances for Hemsky, Sobotka and Jaskin.
- That D is surely the weakest of all the World Cup of Hockey teams. I can't help but wonder how many goals this team will be stuffed by. But then again, there are two Blackhawks in there, and we all know how good their depth on the blue line is. They could surprise us.
- Goaltending is secure with the wonderful Petr Mrazek in net. Barring disaster, Palevec shouldn't see any ice time.
How will they do?
Although they could upset a team or two, realistically this team is going to struggle. Someone has to be the weakest team in the competition, and I believe that accolade falls squarely onto Martin Rucinsky's team. Sorry.
A group stage exit, with barely a word said about them. No shame here.