Sunday, September 19, 2004


Czeching Out Opening Weekend

While hockey fans in North American are bemoaning the fact that there won�t be any top level professional hockey this season, fans in the Czech Republic and Slovakia just enjoyed opening weekend in their Extraleagues.

Not only do these lucky bastards still get their top leagues running as usual, but they get the added bonus of watching a bunch of NHLers plying their trades with various teams in the league. Just about every Czech team has 2-4 NHL players on the squad, which has the home fans excited.

There is a downside with having an NHLer on the roster for a short-time; Mainly, that player may not give a good effort in fear of suffering an injury (Most notably Jozef Stumpel during his tenure with HC Slovan Bratislava). There is also the fact that the tenures of these players are never guaranteed as they may solve the lockout tomorrow. Still, fans and team managers aren�t worried about these things this time around. The lockout looks to be a long one, and the teams are loaded up for the long-haul.

Czech Extraleague

For a great English-language overview of the Czech Extraleague, the Hockey Rodent has a great one for ya.

Trinec started the weekend very poorly with a 5-4 loss (Radek Bonk had 3 assists and Jan Peterek had all 4 Trinec goals!) to Znojmo and an 8-1 road loss to the loaded Litvinov team. Trinec is really really missing Marek Schwarz right about now.

Also notable is that Jaromir Jagr has signed to play with HC Rabat Kladno, but he has not yet dressed for the bulldogs for any of the opening games. Meanwhile, Martin Havlat seems intent on playing in Switzerland, and Trinec� president has confirmed that there is no chance in hell that Havlat will be with Trinec this year. Damn!

Your update on the NHLers playing in Czechia�
After 2 games�

Radim Vrbata 1-1-2 +2 0PIM
Ladislav Smid 0-1-1 +3 0PIM (Ducks 1st round pick)
Vaclav Nedorost 0-0-0 +2 2PIM
Milan Hnilicka 2Wins 1.50GAA 93.88SV% (Returned to Europe permanently)

Litvinov (Looking good after their 8-1 trouncing of Trinec):
Robert Reichel 2-2-4 +1 0PIM (Has returned to Europe permanently)
Martin Rucinsky 1-2-3 +2 14PIM
Martin Skoula 0-1-1 +1 0PIM
Tomas Kurka 0-1-1 +1 2PIM
Jiri Slegr 2 0-0-0 +1 2PIM

No NHLers for this newly promoted team, but they do have former Vancouver Giant
Marian Havel, who played about 3 minutes a night on the 4th line and has all zeroes on the statlines in 2 games.

Zlin: Last year�s Champions are boosted bigtime with some returnees
Martin Erat 1-0-1 �1 2PIM
Petr Cajanek 0-1-1 �1 0PIM

Karel Rachunek 1-2-3 even 2PIM
Tomas Vokoun 2Wins 3.00GAA 90.91SV%

Pavel Trnka 0-0-0 even 8PIM
Jaroslav Spacek 0-0-0 �4 0PIM (Ouch! �4?)
Martin Straka 0-0-0 �2 10PIM
Milan Kraft 0-0-0 �1 0PIM

This team is LOADED! Yet, they only have 4 goals in 2 games�
Ales Hemsky 1-0-1 �2 2PIM
Milan Hejduk 0-0-0 �5 2PIM
Jiri Dopita 0-0-0 �5 0PIM (Wow, him and Hejduk are off to a rough start)
Jan Bulis 0-0-0 even 2PIM
Jan Lasak 1GP 1Loss 4.07GAA 90.91SV%

Trinec: Can you play goalie? If so, Please apply to the offices of HCO Trinec
Radek Bonk 0-3-3 +1 12PIM
Pavel Brendl 0-0-0 �1 0PIM (Just as useless as ever)
Michal Rozsival 0-0-0 �3 6PIM

Tomas Kaberle 1GP 0-0-0 2PIM
Jaromir Jagr 0GP�still waiting

Slavia Praha:
Josef Vasicek 1-1-2 +1 0PIM
Jozef Stumpel 1-0-1 even 2PIM
Zigmund Palffy 0-1-1 even 4PIM
With former NHLers Frantisek Kucera, Josef Beranek, and Pavel Kolarik on board, this team is my favourite to win it all.

David Vyborny 1-0-1 0PIM
Petr Nedved 0-0-0 �1 0PIM
Karel Pilar 0-0-0 +1 2PIM
Jan Hlavac 0-2-2 �2 2PIM

Vitkovice: No Kubina this far
Vaclav Varada 1-0-1 even 4PIM
Marek Malik 0-0-0 �1 0PIM
Martin Prusek 2Wins 1.50GAA 96.05SV%

Branko Radivojevic 1-2-3 +3 0PIM
Rostislav Klesla 0-0-0 even 0PIM
Roman Cechmanek 2Wins 1.00GAA 97.22 SV%
Robin Kovar 0-0-0 �1 2PIM
Along with Havel, Kovar was among the first imports the Vancouver Giants had. Like Havel, he�s basically a 4th liner in the Czech league now after a failed CHL career.

The Zlata Helma (Golden Helmet) awards are back up again. Click on the picture below (or right-click and hit SAVE TARGET AS) to see Martin Prusek rob Josef Straka on the doorstep. Good stuff!


SLOVAKIAN Extraleague

Unlike the Czechs, the Slovaks don�t have their league flooded with NHL players just yet. Only Trencin (loaded to bear) and a couple of others have had such luck. The Slovak teams just can�t offer the $$ the others teams can. So, after 2 games�

Dukla Trencin: Last year�s champions are loaded with some NHL players, but they�ve only managed two 2-2 ties in their first 2 games�not a great way to start with the talent that they have.

Pavol Demitra 1-1-2 +1 2PIM
Marian Gaborik 0-2-2 +2 2PIM
Marian Hossa 1GP 0-0-0 even 2PIM

Jiri Bicek 1-1-2 even 14PIM!

Lubo Visnovsky 2-1-3 +4 2PIM!

Miroslav Zalesak 2-0-2 +1 8PIM

Liptovsky Mikulas:
Martin Cibak 1GP 0-0-0 �1 4PIM

If there is one constant in all of these statistics, it�s the fact that the NHL players are taking a lot of penalties in their short return. It looks like the bad habits they learn in the clutch-and-grab NHL are hurting them in the more finesse-oriented Extraleagues. If only the NHL would call the damn penalties, then the NHL wouldn�t be so damn boring.

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