PRAGUE — The Czech Republic added forward Michal Birner and defenseman Tomas Kundratek to its team for the forthcoming World Cup of Hockey to replace injured Tomas Hertl and Radko Gudas.
Both play for clubs in the Russia-based KHL, Birner in Russia’s Traktor Chelyabinsk and Kundratek in Slovakia’s Slovan Bratislava.
The announcement Sunday by the Czech team comes a day after Gudas, a Philadelphia Flyers defenseman, was ruled out of the tournament, which starts on Sept. 17 in Toronto, due to a wrist injury, and forward Hertl of the San Jose Sharks was deemed not fit enough after injuring his right knee in Game 2 of the Stanley Cup final against Pittsburgh.
“We’re pleased that he has chosen to put his commitment to the Sharks and his teammates first,” Sharks general manager Doug Wilson said. “I know he’s disappointed to not be able to represent his country but Tomas is on track to be ready for the start of the NHL season and he doesn’t want to do anything to jeopardize that. Tomas had a breakthrough season last year, particularly in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, and we’re excited to see him build on that progress this coming year.”
The Czechs earlier had to replace David Krejci of the Boston Bruins with Roman Cervenka of Swiss club HC Fribourg-Gotteron.