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Stockholm Helsinki
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Tlusty regaining form

Czech forward finding his game

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Czech forward Jiri Tlusty had 23 goals this season with Carolina. Photo: Andre Ringuette / HHOF-IIHF Images

STOCKHOLM – The 2013 World Championship have not been a disappointment for Jiri Tlusty but there’s no question that he’s capable of more. The slick forward entered Tuesday’s game against Norway with only two assists in six games played. If the Czech braintrust was looking for Tlusty to score, then this was a major cause for concern. Enough so that even fans were somewhat worried about whether the sniper would get on track. In an online fan forum where he answered questions from Czech hockey fans, Tlusty’s reply to questions about his production: “Goals will come, but it takes time." Tlusty rebounded with a superlative effort against Norway, scoring one and setting up another. The Czech Republic’s 7-0 win over Norway clinched a spot in the quarter-finals against Switzerland. They now have the opportunity to avenge their Preliminary Round 5-2 loss to the Swiss. In that game Tlusty had an assist. With Switzerland still unbeaten in the tournament, the game should provide maximum motivation for the Czechs to want to knock the Swiss off their perch. Now paired with recently added Tomas Plekanec and Tomas Fleischmann, the hope is that Tlusty’s production will improve much the same as it did with Carolina this season after being matched with the Hurricanes two most talented offensive players. Tlusty enjoyed a break out 2013 with the Carolina Hurricanes. Playing alongside Team Canada captain Eric Staal and Alexander Syomin has been an important development in his surge as an offensive player. Before this season, his career high in goals was 17 during the 2011-12 season but in 79 games. His output over the lockout shortened 48 game schedule was more than promising as he scored 23 goals and played all games for the Hurricanes, one of three players to do so. The 25-year-old was a first round draft pick by the Toronto Maple Leafs in 2006. With four NHL seasons under his belt and now his first World Championship tournament appearance, Tlusty still has so much potential. With the 2014 Olympics only nine months away, Tlusty can further help his reputation and enhance his candidacy to represent his country in Sochi should NHL players be allowed to take part. JOHN SANFUL
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