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Erat to replace Sobotka on Czech Olympic team

Feb 4, 2014, 10:41 AM EDT

MartinErat Getty Images

The Czech national team continued to surprise on Tuesday, announcing that beleaguered Washington forward Martin Erat had been named as an injury replacement for the Olympics.

Erat will take the place of St. Louis forward Vladimir Sobotka, who is currently sidelined with a leg issue.

Erat, 32, has struggled mightily in Washington this year and has zero goals (21 assists, though) in 48 games. He’s been a healthy scratch on a few occasions and has demanded a trade out of Washington, yet was still named as Sobotka’s replacement over a number of seemingly good candidates.

Calgary’s Jiri Hudler is one. He leads the Flames with 42 points through 55 games and is the third-leading Czech scorer in the NHL this year, trailing only Boston’s David Krejci and New Jersey’s Jaromir Jagr.

Another is Phoenix’s Radim Vrbata. He has 13 goals and 37 points in 53 games, scored a career-high 35 goals during the 2011-12 campaign and leads the ‘Yotes in power play goals this year, with six.

The Czechs also passed on Sharks forward Martin Havlat (who has been injured for most of this season) and Carolina’s Jiri Tlusty.

  1. lonespeed - Feb 4, 2014 at 10:47 AM

    Seriously? I would have taken either Radim Vrbata or Jiri Tlusty. After a slow start, Tlusty has been a key contributor to Carolina’s hot January and rise in the standings.

    Marty Erat has been absolutely terrible for the Capitals. He’s been shuffled around on the lines, been scratched, and hasn’t been scoring on a team that has zero scoring threats once past Alexander Ovechkin.

    Look for Erat to ask to be traded to the Swedish team by end-of-week.

    • ibieiniid - Feb 4, 2014 at 11:06 AM

      the last line got me lol

    • stcrowe - Feb 4, 2014 at 11:32 AM

      Darn it! You beat me to that joke! However, i just don’t see the Swedish GM being stupid enough to trade Filip Forsberg for Erat. Who could be that stupid?

  2. lowenni - Feb 4, 2014 at 10:51 AM

    Hudler probably should’ve been on their instead, but I think Erat’s history and relationship with the team and coaches got him a spot. I believe there was a story that he was promised a roster spot by the coach last summer but was denied if. Also, he’s been playing very well of late (been on the top line with Ovi and Backstrom) and had a lot of chances to score the last game. Looks like he’s starting to play with passion and energy again. I think it was mostly his speed and defensive awareness that got him on though. Shame that the coach’s selfishness left Hudler off.

  3. AppealToReason - Feb 4, 2014 at 10:56 AM

    If Hudler didn’t sleep with anyone’s daughter he might as well go do it now.

  4. btlpper68 - Feb 4, 2014 at 11:01 AM

    Czechs apparently have an age requirement so that’s why prety stupid to me

  5. jpelle82 - Feb 4, 2014 at 11:35 AM

    20 pts in 31 games internationally, half of which came in 2006 wc and olympics. i dont get it. would laugh my ass off if he ended up being the mvp of the tournament somehow though.

  6. thailer35 - Feb 4, 2014 at 11:47 AM

    A fairly accurate representation of the hypothetical conversation between decision makers of the Czech National Team and me about choosing Erat over Vrbata:

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