Monday, December 20, 2004


Christmas Snooze

With the approaching widely-celebrated Celebration of Consumerism, hockey news is slow and I don't have too much gnawing at my head.

Still, here is a hodgepodge of news and notes to speak about.

1. Slovakia emerged victorious in the LOTO CUP, thanks to a 4-2 win over Team Canada. Pavol Demitra had 2 goals, the Slovaks went 3-0, and it will be a happy holidays in Slovakia.

Tournament Awards:
Best Goalie: Jan Lasak (Slovensko),
Best D-man: Jamie Heward (Kanada),
Best Forward: Michal Handzus (Slovensko).
Most Productive Player: PAVOL DEMITRA (Slovensko) (4 points in 2 games)

2. Over in Russia, the ROSNO (Formerly Baltika) Cup was won by the hometown Russkis for the first time in 4 years. As usual, Sweden finished in last place. It's been a long 9-year drought at the upcoming WJC's for Sweden, a country that just can't seem to produce many skilled players anymore.

Tournament Awards:
Best Goalie: Fredrik Norrena, Finland
Best D-man: Tomas Kaberle, Czech Republic
Best Forward: Pavel Datsyuk, Russia

3. Lots of notable transfers taking place as players and teams alike set up for a total NHL lockout. If the NHL season is indeed cancelled, then players are bolting for situations more favourable to them financially or developmentally.

i. Tomas Vokoun from Znojmo to HIFK Helsinki. Poor Znojmo will be down to just 1 crappy NHL player (Radim Bicanek)

ii. Jose Theodore to Djurgardens IF - A good move for Jose to get way out of Canada after some of his relatives were charged in relation with gang-related crimes

iii. Mike Comrie from Farjestads BK to Phoenix - According to, Comrie is going back to Phoenix to 'work on his house'. With the way Comrie has been traded the past year, maybe he should be renting instead of buying.

iv. Bruins prospect goaltender Peter Hamerlik has left the Providence Bruins of the AHL and returned to Kosice in Slovakia. I hope this isn't the end of his NHL aspirations, although I don't hold out much hope for him.

v. Tomas Kurka, the 2nd tier Hurricanes prospect, has left Litvinov for Providence of the AHL. Kurka was buried behind the star players in Litvinov. Kurka also realized that he needs to prove himself more in the AHL if he wants to stick with the big club in NASCAR country.

vi. Another Slovak is leaving Slovakia :( - Ladislav Nagy has left Kosice and will join the Hossa boys with MORA IK in Sweden. This leaves Jiri Bicek as the only NHLer in Kosice.


Hopefully, the NHL and NHLPA will engage in one more round of talks before the season is cancelled entirely. In the meantime, hockey fans in Canada will focus on the upcoming World Junior Championships. I'll be sure to comment more on this tournament as news comes out and the rosters are finalized for Czechia and Slovakia.

What is interesting is that non-Canadian countries such as the USA and Slovakia are confirmed to be showing WJC games. In the past, Canada was pretty much the only country to broadcast any games from this tournament. The WJC's generate some of the highest ratings for TSN during the year, yet every other country in the world couldn't almost care less about these games. I'm happy that prospect fans in other countries will be able to enjoy this tournament on TV.

Kurka also realized that he needs to prove himself more in the AHL if he wants to stick with the big club in NASCAR country.What, he signed with one of the New York teams?
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