The Czech Republic and Slovakia sat out Day One of the World Juniors, but get to debut today against the promoted Division 1 teams from last year today. Both teams had injury concerns coming out of training camp and left open spots on their roster until they got further information about their injured players. The Czech Republic left Canadiens prospect Daniel Pribyl off their initial roster over injury concerns, and while that would be a significant loss for the Czechs in combination with Martin Frk's withdrawl, the Slovaks are really in a state of concern. The Slovaks only registered 5 defencemen and 12 forwards on their Dec. 25 roster, leaving three roster spots open with injury concerns surrounding two of their top defencemen, Peter Ceresnak and Martin Gernat. Ceresnak and Gernat are two of only six Slovakian players that are NHL prospects (Rangers and Oilers respectively). The forward that is injured is Baie-Comeau winger Lukas Cingel. We'll see if there are replacements coming for these players or if they are now activated to play today... particualrly on the Slovakian defence.
Group B, Game 3: Czech Republic vs. Denmark (1 GP, 0 pts) - 6:00 PM MST, Rexall Place, Edmonton
Denmark showed a lot of proficiency against the Americans on their PP, but we didn't learn a lot about them in that game other than that. The Czechs will most likely be out of Denmark's league as well, but we should learn a bit more about both teams from this game.
This will be broadcast on TSN in Canada and Ceske Televize in the Czech Republic.
Group A, Game 3: Slovakia vs. Latvia (1 GP, 0 Pts) - 8:00 PM MST, Scotiabank Saddledome, Calgary
Latvia had a good effort in their 9-4 loss vs. Sweden, although most of their offence was caused by the random flow of the game at times, as well as shaky Swedish goaltending. This is their big chance here, and their top line of Kristians Pelss-Zegmus Girgensons-Davis Straupe showed some real promise, as did youngsters like Roberts Lipsbergs, Toms Andersons, Nikita Jevpavlovs, and Teodors Blugers. This could be a close game, and is definitely won Latvia has circled as a potential win.
Unfortunately, this game is not being televised by anyone, but is available via FastHockey.