Photo: Bruce Bennett
With Vladimir Sobotka sidelined due to a leg injury, the Czechs have called upon Martin Erat to fill their ranks in Sochi. Erat has yet to score a goal this season, but he has put up some strong underlying numbers and is tied for fourth in assists on the Capitals.
Not everybody agrees with the pick.
The Czech Olympic team has a spot to fill. They discuss these two. They choose Erat. …They confuse me. pic.twitter.com/ywwdAbKYJA
— Justin Bourne (@jtbourne) February 4, 2014
But despite inferior boxcar stats, Erat compares pretty favorably with Hudler. He drives more shots towards the opponent’s net despite inferior teammates and fewer shifts started in the offensive zone, and he hasn’t enjoyed hardly as much power play time as Hudler. It’s a close call for sure, but I think the Czech team made the right call here.
From the Caps:
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – February 4, 2014
Martin Erat Named to Czech Republic Olympic Team
ARLINGTON, Va. – Washington Capitals left wing Martin Erat will represent the Czech Republic at the 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Sochi, Russia. The Czech Republic announced Erat was added to the team’s 25-man roster today.
Erat, 32, will be making his third Olympic appearance. The 6’0”, 202-pound left wing won a bronze medal with the Czech Republic at the 2006 Winter Olympic Games in Torino, Italy, recording two points (one goal, one assist) in eight games. Erat scored a goal in the bronze medal game. The Trebic, Czech Republic, native earned one assist in five games at the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver. Erat has represented the Czech Republic in one World Junior Championship (2001) and three World Championships (2006, 2008, 2012).
Erat has skated in 48 games with the Capitals this season, collecting 21 assists and 20 penalty minutes. In 780 career NHL games with Nashville and Washington, Erat has recorded 505 points (164 goals, 341 assists) and 450 penalty minutes. Erat joins Capitals teammates Nicklas Backstrom (Sweden), John Carlson (United States) and Alex Ovechkin (Russia) in representing their respective countries at the 2014 Winter Olympics.