Sochi Olympics hockey: Team Czech Republic preview

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Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports

You’ve probably heard more about who’s not on the Czech Republic team that is headed to Sochi than you have about who made the final cut. There was no embedded Pierre LeBrun to shine a light on the process of team selection here, so why they decided to take who they’re taking is shrouded in mystery.

And that mystery could very well end up costing the typically strong Czechs a chance at bringing home a medal.

All the names and faces that would be there if you chose to play with the team on NHL 2002 are here. Namely mainstays Jaromir Jagr and Patrik Elias. They won’t be playing support roles like Daniel Alfredsson of Sweden or Teemu Selanne with Finland. This team is designed around the aging veteran core.

Younger players that could have helped the Czech Republic compete for a medal such as Jiri Hudler, Radim Vrbata and Tomas Fleischmann have been left at home. In their place stands a bevy of interesting choices, including the 42-year-old Petr Nedved. Will this trip down memory lane squad be able to compete with the younger, faster teams that the United States, Russia and Canada have pieced together?

Maybe. Maybe not. The folks that created this team together were probably paid good money to do so. Maybe they know something about team chemistry that we’re just missing here.

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Topics: 2014 Winter Olympics, Men's Hockey, Sochi Olympics

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