Feb 8, 2014, 4:57 PM EDT
If you combine the United States, Canadian, Russian, and Swedish Olympic rosters, you would end up with just two players over the age of 35. Daniel Alfredsson on Sweden and Canada’s Martin St. Louis, who joined the squad as an injury replacement.
The Czech Republic has four players alone that are in their late 30s and early 40s in defenseman Marek Zidlicky and forwards Patrik Elias, Jaromir Jagr, and Petr Nedved. They have a total of 12 players that are at least 30.
So it’s fair to call the Czechs a veteran squad, but Jagr doesn’t think that should be seen as a potential weakness.
“I don’t think it really matters,” Jagr told the Bergen Record. “All the players who play there, we play the same kind of minutes like everybody else in the NHL. You shouldn’t get tired because you play three games there. We are used to it.”
Jagr added that being slower isn’t necessarily a disadvantage either, particularly on the larger international ice. For one thing, he argues that it’s the team that controls the puck that ultimately dictates the tempo of the game. He thinks that the big rinks puts an even greater emphasis on puck possession as it’s that much harder to force a turnover.
The Czech Republic isn’t one of the leading candidates to win a gold medal, but they certainly can’t be dismissed either. They’ve been assigned to Group C with Sweden, Switzerland, and Latvia.
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