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IIHF: Czechs solidify roster with Nashville forward

Monday, 05.14.2012 / 9:00 AM CT / Features
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IIHF: Czechs solidify roster with Nashville forward

STOCKHOLM – With the Nashville Predators eliminated from the playoffs, Martin Erat arrives just in time to help the Czech Republic in their quest for a medal. Erat’s recent playoff experience will be an important factor.

Emotionally there will be an adjustment for Erat as he was in a Stanley Cup playoff hockey mindset, attempting to take the Predators well into the playoffs and now with that dream unrealized, he’s in short-tournament mode trying to advance towards medal contention.

“It’s tough mentally getting ready to playing game five in Phoenix and then flying half the world away and then playing in the World Championship,” he said. “But that’s the hockey life and we have to get through it.”

So much emphasis had been placed on Nashville’s growth into a playoff contender. With an outstanding cast that includes Shea Weber, Ryan Suter and Pekka Rinne, so much was expected for a deep run into the playoffs, possibly conference finals and maybe Stanley Cup finals.

Even bringing Alexander Radulov back from the Kontinental Hockey League was not enough to bring Nashville beyond the second round of the playoffs where they lost the Phoenix Coyotes in five games.

Still, there is a very bright future for the team, provided they can resign Weber and Suter.

“We made the little steps and there is so much exciting in the city of Nashville that we hope things are going to get better and better,” said Erat.

It’s been a tough few days for Erat prior to arriving. He was coming off the tough series loss and then having to switch gears immediately and travel here to Stockholm without so much as a good night’s sleep then suit up and get ready to compete in the tournament. But he’s happy to have the chance to play for the Czech and is immediately getting used to things.

“I’ve played a lot of hockey but when its your country it is always something special,” he said of joining the team. “I don’t know how many World Championships I am going to play now that Nashville is getting better and better with the hope of going deeper in the playoffs the next three or four years. That’s why I decided to come and join the Czech national team.”

Erat has represented the Czechs at every level of international competition, starting with the U18 World Championship in 1999. Twice before he’s donned the Czech Republic national colours at the men’s senior World Championship, including 2006 when he won a silver medal.

With only one game remaining in the Preliminary Round, the Czech Republic is priming for playoff position.

“It’s a World Championship and it’s all about one game,” Erat offered. “If you made it through the quarter-final it is a two-day tournament and anything can happen.”

JOHN SANFUL/IIHF.com

SMASHVILLE CENTRAL

SCHEDULE
 

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AWAY
PROMOTIONAL

STANDINGS
 

WESTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 CHI 56 36 16 4 158 128 76
2 DAL 53 33 15 5 170 142 71
3 STL 55 30 17 8 132 129 68
4 LAK 51 31 17 3 135 117 65
5 SJS 51 27 20 4 147 138 58
6 NSH 53 25 20 8 136 139 58
7 COL 55 27 24 4 148 152 58
8 ANA 50 25 18 7 111 115 57
9 MIN 52 23 20 9 127 126 55
10 ARI 52 24 22 6 138 161 54
11 VAN 52 20 20 12 120 142 52
12 CGY 51 23 25 3 134 148 49
13 WPG 52 23 26 3 136 150 49
14 EDM 54 21 28 5 132 164 47

STATS

2015-2016 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
R. Josi 53 10 27 -2 37
S. Weber 53 14 21 -4 35
F. Forsberg 53 15 18 -6 33
M. Ribeiro 53 6 27 3 33
J. Neal 53 19 13 18 32
M. Ekholm 53 6 16 3 22
R. Ellis 52 6 15 2 21
C. Smith 53 11 6 -1 17
C. Jarnkrok 52 9 7 0 16
C. Wilson 36 4 12 0 16
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
P. Rinne 20 17 7 .904 2.50
C. Hutton 5 2 1 .916 2.36