May 10, 2010, 2:15 PM EST
Kids these days; they just don’t have any respect. What with their loud music, lack of patriotism … and disinterest in growing mullets (unless it’s just for laughs).
Those are the words I envision going through Jaromir Jagr’s head as he critiques the Czech players who declined invitations to play for their 2010 IIHF World Championships team. TSN shared his criticisms.
Jagr grew up dreaming of playing for his country and cautions that the Czech Republic could be relegated to a lower tier in the future if more players don’t start showing up at the world championship.
“The game has changed, there’s no question about it,” said Jagr. “We’re not a country like Canada or Russia — if the top 20 guys say no, they can still put together a great team. We just don’t have those kind of players. And the players should realize it — you never know, because the level of hockey is getting better.
“You can see Denmark beat Finland (on Saturday). If your top guys don’t go to world championship, it might happen that your team next year might play in B group.”
The Czech teams haven’t had much success since 2006, when they managed to land an Olympic bronze medal and a silver at that year’s world championship tournament.
It’s understandable that Jagr is frustrated, but as I’ve said before, the competition is a lot like how the N.I.T. is to March Madness in college basketball. Particularly in a year in which the Vancouver Olympics took place; it’s not like these guys threw out their national allegiances altogether. He does have a good point, however, in saying that the Czech Republic could run the risk of declining on a world hockey scale.
Ultimately, though, national teams will just have to deal with players passing on more hockey in favor of rehabilitation … or margaritas.
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