Czechmate: The 20th Anniversary Czech Carolina Hurricanes Team

Well, let’s get the awkward part of of the way first. Like the all-Finnish team from last week, there’s no goalie that has ever played for the team from Czechoslovakia or the Czech Republic. You’d think that wouldn’t be possible. That, just by sheer randomness someone would’ve wound even playing ONE game for the team that meets that criteria.

That unpleasantness aside, here’s the 20th Anniversary Carolina Hurricanes Czech Team!

Center/Centre: Josef Vasicek

Yes, there was this. There was the guy that led the '03/04 team with 19 goals. And I'm SO glad he was on the team when we won the Stanley Cup in '05/06. Even if he wasn't exactly a crucial member of the team. RIP, Big Joe.

Winger: Robert Kron

Wanted to make a nod to the Old School (Defining that as pre-’02 Stanley Cup Final run; as difficult as those days were they deserved some acknowledgement). I’m not going to claim a ton of expertise about Kron but again, service should be noted. Bonus points for making the trip down from Hartford.

Winger: Jiri Tlusty

Easily the best (partial) season of anybody considered here. Riding shotgun with a healthy Eric Staal and Alex Semin actually caring can do that for a guy, but give him credit for taking the slot and running with it. You don’t get as many multi-goal games as he did that season just being a plug.

Defenseman/Defenceman: Marik Malik

Before Joni Pitkanen, probably the most frustrating big-bodied blue liner (i.e. not David Tanabe) in Hurricanes history. In fact, he might be the first guy on the Hurricanes that I'd hear fans complain about. A dubious rite of passage, but probably an important one when you're following a sports team for the first time.

As much time as he spend here, it’s frustratingly appropriate that his career highlight isn’t even in our uniform.

Defenceman/Defenseman: Frantisek Kaberle

(Note for anyone not clicking on the link for Frank: the picture there is, um, a picture of his brother Tomas.)

I know Tomas was the better-know of the brothers, but I got nothing bad to say about Frank.

At least they won the Stanley Cup the same number of times, though Frank has a LOT more to do with Carolina winning than Tomas did with Boston.

Also, sorry if that reminded you that Tomas Kaberle was a Carolina Hurricane. I know we all kinda agreed to never mention that again. that's why I'm not linking to his page. Bad enough it's his picture on Frank's page.

Honourable/Honorable Mention:

Winger: Andrej Nestrasil

For being on the same line with Jordan Staal almost going a month without giving up an even-strength goal. As offensively impressive as Eric Staal/Semin/Tlusty line was that (partial) season, Jordan, Andrej and Joakim Nordstrom were almost as impressive defensively. It’s really a drag that injury against Detroit really started his tenure here on such a negative trajectory.

Defenseman/Defenceman: Michal Jordan

Yeah, it’s still pretty much about the similarity of his name to Michael Jordan’s. It’s not exactly a ringing endorsement of your career when the most memorable thing you ever did was remind people of someone else. In another sport.

Defenseman/Defenceman: Jarolsav Spacek

When we made Tomas Kaberle disappear, we got another skilled Czech defender in return.

Except, y’know, not an actively terrible one. Or as actively terrible.

Not sure why Montreal wanted to get rid of him, but this was one of Jim Rutherford’s last good trades here. And yes, I really wish that was a much more competitive category.

Winger: Martin Frk:

That's Calder Cup Winner Martin Frk, thankyouverymuch.

Huh-huh, I said "Frk."

Player Most Likely To Be On This List In Five Years For The Quarter Century Team

Forward: Martin Necas

One of the few Czech players in our system right now, but one of our more promising forward prospects. Granted, we literally just picked him a couple months ago so he might only be in his second or third season in Raleigh by the time we reassess these lists at the quarter-century mark.

Even if he hasn't nudged anyone off this, here's hoping he's somewhere in our top two lines by then.

And I'm going to assume that if you're reading this that you already know what his last name means and another word you can make out of the letters in his last name.