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Czech Republic Olympic team: Petr Nedved in, Vrbata, Hudler out

By Brian Stubits | CBSSports.com

Jagr returns to the Czech national team, not surprisingly. (Getty Images)
Jagr returns to the Czech national team, not surprisingly. (Getty Images)

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Tuesday marks the deadline for nations to announce their Olympic hockey rosters for the Sochi Games that start Feb. 13 but a few nations are releasing their rosters a little earlier, like the Czech Republic.

The Czechs, who have fallen in recent years from when they were right there in heavy medal contention, will be taking a slew of NHL players but like usual, right now it's the players not going that are getting the attention.

Here is the Czech Republic team via iSport.

Goalies

Ondrej Pavelec (Winnipeg Jets)
Jakub Kovar (Jekaterinburg)
Alexander Salak (Petrohrad)

Defensemen

Marek Zidlicky (New Jersey Devils)
Ladislav Smid (Calgary Flames)
Radko Gudas (Tampa Bay Lightning)
Michael Barinka (HC Vitkovice)
Lukas Krajicek (Dinamo Minsk)
Michal Rozsival (Chicago Blackhawks)
Zbynek Michalek (Phoenix Coyotes)
Tomas Kaberle (Rytiri Kladno)

Forwards

Jaromir Jagr (New Jersey Devils)
Patrik Elias (New Jersey Devils)
Tomas Plekanec (Montreal Canadiens)
Ales Hemsky (Edmonton Oilers)
Jakub Voracek (Philadelhia Flyers)
Michael Frolik (Winnipeg Jets)
Martin Hanzal (Phoenix Coyotes)
Vladimir Sobotka (St. Louis Blues)
Ondrej Palat (Tampa Bay Lightning)
Milan Michalek (Ottawa Senators)
David Krejci (Boston Bruins)
Roman Cervenka (Petrohrad)
Petr Nedved (Bili Tygri Liberec)
Jiri Novotny (HC Lev Praha)

Right away the goaltending situation jumps out. It's looking like Pavelec, he of the .901 save percentage for the Jets, will be the starter. That's a cocnern right there.

But it's not as though the rest of the roster gives a ton of reason for optimism either. There is a lot of age on the ice between Jagr, Elias and Nedved (yes, that Petr Nedved) as well as Kaberle and other vets.

Meanwhile a couple of names that are missing come as quite a surprise. Jiri Hudler leads the Flames in point this season with 33 but he didn't make the cut, nor did Radim Vrbata in Phoenix, Tomas Fleischmann of Florida or Michal Neuvirth from the Capitals. All of them figured to factor in somehow. There are only so many spots, granted, but it seems strange leaving Hudler and Vrbata in particular off the squad, especially in favor of a guy like Nedved. Playing at home matters, I guess.

By the way, an interesting tidbit on Nedved from Chris Peters:

Still, there is some decent scoring punch up front with Jagr, Elias, Voracek, Krejci and the captain Plekanec, but it doesn't look like a roster that is really in the same ballpark as the gold-medal contenders going into this tournament.

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