Good early morning back in the Cities.
What a game, what an atmosphere here at Canada Hockey Place tonight. Sorry, Canada. Not even in the same area code as the Czech-Slovak fans that packed this join with banners, flags, face paint, whistling, and dancing tonight.
And Jaromir Jagr has not missed a beat. The 38-year-old's NHL comeback began tonight. Teams may line up at his door, although Edmonton, which pursued him before he signed his two-year KHL deal, is expected to have the inside track.
Jagr scored a breakaway goal and an assist in the Czech's 3-1 win. Martin Havlat and Marek Zidlicky had an assist each. Marian Gaborik scored for the Slovaks. Gaborik played with Jozef Stumpel and Ziggy Palffy. Seriously.
At even strength for the Czechs, Zidlicky played with Filip Kuba. Seriously. On the power play, Zidlicky played with Tomas Kaberle. Havlat lined with Tomas Plekanec and Patrik Elias, who each scored a goal.
Great game up until third, when the Czech sat back like nobody I've ever seen. They had one, maybe two shots in the period -- in the last minute.
Three games on tap for Thursday, and I'll be back for an 11 a.m. joint presser with NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman and IIHF Prez Rene Fasel to discuss I'm sure partially the 2014 Olympics, which the NHL has made quite clear it's hesitant to commit to and the players have made quite clear they want to be included in.
Everybody's already getting ready for Sunday, when there's big huge rivalries -- US vs. Canada, Sweden vs. Finland, Czechs vs. Russia. US coach Ron Wilson said it might be the biggest day in international history.
Media's already preparing for the goalie controversy. Roberto or Marty? Who would you choose?
Martin Havlat before Czech-Slovak game
Marek Zidlicky before Czech-Slovak game
Sniper Marian Gaborik before Czech-Slovak game