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Elias honored to captain Czech team

by Eric Marin / New Jersey Devils
Patrik Elias has been named captain of the 2010 Czech Olympic team and spoke to the media before Wednesday's contest with Pittsburgh. The tournament begins Feb. 16 in Vancouver.

Were you surprised to be named captain?
Elias: There was no indication. You look at the past tournaments that we played that I was a part of, you had Marek Zidlicky as the captain, then Tomas Kaberle. I think that there were a few guys that could’ve been in that position.

Why do you think you were selected?
What kind of an honor is it?
PE: It’s a great honor. It’s a responsibility, but at the same time there’s just going to be more communication going on between me and the coaches and the media. I think that’s the only difference that you have to do especially in the short term. Why maybe because I got my coaching license (back at home).

How did you find out?

PE: I had a text message from my brother in the morning when I got up just congratulating me on that. It was nice.

Does it feel more real now that the roster has been named?

PE: It does, but I think the excitement is going to calm down again because we have so many games to play. The announcement of the rosters brings the excitement a little bit higher, but in a couple of days it will be back to normal. A few days prior to the tournament, that’s where you kind of come back to it.

How do you like the Czech team?

PE: I think we have a lot of good, talented guys. They did a smart thing not just picking out the same type of players. They picked out guys that can play in different situations, that are tough to play against defensively. They’re good on PKs, and you need to have that. You need to have good balance. You cannot just have 23 guys that are the same type of players.

What about Jaromir Jagr being selected?

PE: He said for that past couple of years that that was his goal, and that he wants to make sure he keeps himself in top shape playing-wise so that he can still play in the Olympics. He’s going to be a big part of it. I played with him at the World Championships, he still has a lot of talent and he’s going to be counted on, no question about it.
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