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Five Preds get tickets punched for Turin

by Staff Writer / Nashville Predators

Nashville Predators Tomas Vokoun, Marek Zidlicky and Martin Erat were among the players named to the final roster of the Czech Republic's 2006 men's Olympic ice hockey team Thursday. Predators defensemen Kimmo Timonen and Danny Markov will represent Finland and Russia, respectively, as those countries rosters were announced as well. All five players will participate in the XX Winter Olympic Games, which will take place February 10-26, 2006, in Turin, Italy. Twelve countries will vie for gold in the men's ice hockey competition.

Vokoun, who is tied for second among NHL goaltenders with 17 wins, captured a gold medal with the Czech Republic at the 2005 World Championships in Austria. The 29-year-old netminder was also awarded the Directorate's Best Goaltender Award and was selected to the tournament All-Star team after posting a 7-1 record with a goals-against average of 1.08 and a save-percentage of .953.

Zidlicky also captured a gold medal with the Czech Republic team at the 2005 World Championships, earning a selection to the tournament All-Star Team. His +8 rating tied for the best among all players in the event. The 5'11", 190-pound defenseman also represented his home country at the 2004 World Cup of Hockey and tied for second among tournament defensemen in scoring with 3 goals and 1 assist in five games. He is currently tied with Timonen for first among Predators defensemen in scoring, and has 21 points in his last 18 games.

Erat will be making his national team debut at the 2006 Winter Olympics, but won a gold medal with the Czech Republic at the 2001 World Junior Championships. This season with Nashville, he has collected 17 points (8 goals, 9 assists) in 32 games.

Timonen has represented Finland twice previously in Olympic competition and a dozen times in other international tournaments. At the 2004 World Cup of Hockey he helped lead Finland to a second-place finish and earned a spot on the All-Tournament Team. He led all defensemen and Team Finland and tied for third overall in World Cup scoring with 6 points (1g, 5a). This season he leads all Predators in assists with 21 and has 19 points in his last 18 games.

Markov won a bronze medal with Russia at the 2002 Olympic Games, posting one assist in five games. Since joining the Predators to start the 2005-06 season, the 6'1", 190-pound native of Moscow has notched seven assists in 21 games.

Nashville's 2003 third-round draft selection Alexander Sulzer will also be playing for his homeland of Germany, it was announced Wednesday. A 6'1", 207-pound defensive prospect for the Predators, Sulzer has spent his career playing in Germany's tiered hockey league system. This season he has accumulated 2 goals and 10 assists in 29 games with the DEG Metro Stars of the German Elite League. He represented Team Germany at the 2003 World Junior Championships and the 2005 World Championships.


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