The addition of professional players to the Olympic Games in 1998 has certainly been favorable for the Czechs, as they won gold in ’98 and a bronze in 2006. With a roster stacked with noted NHL and European scorers, the Czechs will be looking to repeat their previous success come February.
Goalies Ondrej Pavelec: Pavelec has been hot and cold for the Thrashers this season, and ranks 10th in the league in both losses and goals allowed. Still, a viable option if anything should happen to Vokoun.
Jakup Stepanek: Stepanek has played all of his short professional career in the Czech Republic with Vitkovice, and will be a last resort in net.
Tomas Vokoun: Vokoun has been very strong for the Panthers this season, with a 2.56 GAA and a .925 save percentage. Clearly the first choice for the Czechs, he’s no Dominik Hasek, but should be able to get the job done. Defensemen Miroslav Blatak: A prospect of the Detroit Red Wings, Blatak has played the last three seasons in the KHL, where he has shown he can contribute offensively without being a defensive liability.
Jan Hejda: The towering veteran doesn’t give much in terms of offense, but he can dish out the hits and will provide a bit of a physical edge to a team that doesn’t boast much of it.
Tomas Kaberle: The leading European scoring defenseman, Kaberle continues to be one of the top puck moving defenders in the NHL today.
Filip Kuba: After a career high 40 points in his first season in Ottawa last year, Kuba is having a similar season this year. He will be expected to contribute offensively as well as hold it down in his own end.
Pavel Kubina: Long considered one of the better offensive blueliners in the league, Kubina is on pace to have a career year with the Thrashers, on pace for around 48-50 points.
Zbynek Michalek: Unlike the other offensively gifted Czech d-men, Michalek brings a large body and a +10 rating to their blueline.
Roman Polak: At 6’1, 225, Polak will be expected to throw his body all tournament, if the Czechs hope to keep pace with some of the bigger teams like the Russians and Canadians.
Marek Zidlicky: A powerplay specialist, Zidlicky started the season slow, but has picked it up as of late, and currently has 28 points for the Wild.
Forwards Petr Cajanek: One of five forwards on the roster not currently playing in the NHL, Cajanek showed promise during his four years with St. Louis, and has finished each of the past three seasons in Russia with at least 30 points.
Roman Cervenka: Perhaps the smallest skater headed to Vancouver, the 5’7, 127 lb. Cervenka has 58 points in only 36 games with Slavia Praha in the Czech Extraliga this year.
Patrik Elias: For some time now, Elias has been the leading offensive threat of many successful New Jersey teams. That role is changing now, but Elias is still a capable scorer, while his +14 rating is good for 21st in the league right now.
Martin Erat: The speedy winger from Nashville has shown he can score consistently in the NHL, finishing with at least 49 points in every season since 2003. He’s on pace to score over 50 this season.
Tomas Fleischmann: The 25 year old center is having a breakout season in Washington. With 28 points, he may not get the headlines like Ovie, Semin and Backstrom, but he’s one of the reasons the Caps are at the top of the East.
Martin Havlat: After leading Chicago with 77 points last year, Havlat signed a huge deal with Minnesota. He’s not having the greatest year of his career, but his combination of speed, skill and scoring make him one of the Czechs’ top assets.
Jaromir Jagr: The oldest player on the team, Jagr’s last year in the NHL was in ’07-08, when he finished with 71 points. He has 27 points in 35 KHL games this year, and while he may have lost a step or two, he is still a serious offensive threat to any goalie.
David Krejci: After breaking out with 73 points last season, Krejci is emerging as a legitimate scoring threat for the Bruins. He’s only got 24 points this year, but playing with stars like Jagr and Havlat might jumpstart his production.
Milan Michalek: The Sens’ leading goal scorer might be questionable for the Olympics after suffering an undisclosed upper body injury.
Tomas Plekanec: In the middle of the best season of his career, Plekanec is a great two-way player, and is currently the highest-scoring Czech with 46 points on the year so far.
Tomas Rolinek: A smallish playmaker, Rolinek has 16 goals and 28 points with Magnitogorsk in the KHL this year.
Josef Vasicek: A former Stanley Cup winner with the Carolina Hurricanes, Vasicek has played the last two years in the KHL with Yaroslavl Lokomotiv, and is on pace to put up the highest point totals of his career this season.
Roster Depth: Strong Medal Chances: Good