Czech him out

RANDY SPORTAK -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 7:13 AM ET

NASHVILLE -- With the right eyes watching him, Tomas Vokoun made a strong case for Olympic duty.

Czech national team coach Alois Hadamczik was on hand to see Vokoun earn a shutout win for the Nashville Predators last night.

Vokoun blocked all 31 shots sent his way in a 2-0 victory over the Calgary Flames.

"If you can leave a good memory in a coach's head, it's good," Vokoun said.

"It's better than giving up four goals and getting pulled in the first period."

And now the braintrust from his homeland has a delightful problem.

Although 1998 gold-medal hero Dominik Hasek will likely be the main man between the pipes for the Czechs at February's Winter Games in Turin, Italy, compatriot Vokoun has shown he's also capable of performing at an elite level.

Vokoun wasn't a member of that 2002 squad -- Hasek, Roman Cechmanek, Milan Hnilicka were the Czech goalies in Salt Lake City -- but his stock has skyrocketed since taking over No. 1 duties in Nashville.

He's also prospered on the international stage, playing at the 2004 World Cup of hockey and then backstopping his country to gold at the 2005 world championship, where he was named top goalie and an all-star.

This season, he's among the NHL's league leaders in wins and save percentage, all the while handling a large number of shots on a nightly basis.

Flames captain Jarome Iginla came away from last night's game impressed with Vokoun.

"He makes the saves," Iginla said. "He reads the play really well."

Predators coach Barry Trotz believes Vokoun should be considered by the Czechs for some Olympic duty.

"I know Hasek almost walks on water in the Czech Republic but I think Tomas certainly deserves an equal shot."


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