The San Jose Sharks will be without rookie forward Tomas Hertl for over a month as he recovers from knee surgery. The injury also will keep him out of the 2014 Winter Olympics.
Hertl still leads NHL rookies in scoring (25 points) and goals (15), despite missing some games over the last two weeks, and his offensive success made him a candidate for a top-nine forward spot on the Czech Republic’s Olympic roster.
But according to Roman Jedlicka of TV Nova Sport, the 20-year-old winger won’t play in Sochi.
Another evidence how serious is #sjsharks Hertl's injury: Czech national coach Hadamczik confirmed for isport.cz Tomas won't play in Sochi.—
Roman Jedlicka (@jedli) December 26, 2013
Without Hertl, the Czech Republic’s top two lines could look something like this:
Jakub Voracek (PHI) — David Krejci (BOS) — Jaromir Jagr (NJD)
Jiri Hudler (CAL) — Tomas Plekanec (MTL) — Radim Vrbata (PHX)
The Czech Republic isn’t among the top gold-medal contenders in Sochi, primarily because of a lack of quality goaltending, and the loss of Hertl could be what results in the team failing to make a strong run toward the medal stand. The Czechs likely will be forced to rely heavily on veterans from the 2010 Vancouver Games, including Krejci and Jagr, to have any chance of success.