Tuesday, December 14, 2004


WorldStars invade Plzen

While the NHLPA and NHL prepare to meet today (and hopefully avoid a total season loss), life was happier in the land of beer and Ice Girls.

Yesterday, in the beer town of Plzen (Pilsen, to you Anglos), home of the world-famous Pilsner Urquell Beer, the ‘WorldStars’ beat up on HC Plzen by an 8-3 score in front of just under 8,000 rambunctious and tipsy spectators.

Dominik Hasek started the game for the WorldStars, giving the Czech fans one of the rare first-hand looks at their Nagano hero (That is, when he’s not playing the role of roller hockey goon). Hasek and the World stars were joined a couple of other Czech Leaguers: Petr Nedved of $parta Prague, Tomas Vokoun of Znojmo, and Pavel Kubina of Vitkovice (Per Misha, Kubina did not play due to an injury suffered at the hands of Michal Mikeska of Pardubice). Plzen was ‘bolstered’ by the addition of Karlovy Vary’s Roman Malek.

The game started well for Plzen, as Michal Duras scored just 3 minutes into the game on a very shaky Dominik Hasek. Plzen was actually leading 3-1 when the WorldStars replaced Hasek with Tomas Vokoun. From there, Vokoun shut the door and the skill of the WorldStars was just too much for Plzen as they piled on 7 straight goals on backup Rudolf Pejchar(3) and the outsider, Roman Malek(4).

Mats Sundin finished with 1 goal and 3 assists while Martin Straka lead Plzen with 2 assists. It was an enjoyable game of shinny for the fans (only 1 penalty called the entire game), and there were no bananas tossed onto the ice.

Your game recap:

Lasselsberger Plzen - Worldstars 3:8 (1:0, 2:4, 0:4)
Goals and Assists: 4. Důras (Martin Straka), 28. Moravec (Martin Straka, Cibák), 31. Kracík (Cartelli, Důras) – 25. Sundin (Daigle, Domi), 32. Murray (Amonte), 39. Amonte (Murray, O'Donnell), 39. Amonte (Murray, Warrener), 46. Jackman (Sundin, Domi), 47. Daigle (Sundin), 52. Nedvěd (Sýkora, Carter) , 60. Domi (Sundin).
Penalties: 0:1. Attendance: 7693.

Duba (21. Pejchar, 41. Málek)– Výtisk, Spacek, Jindrich, Výborný, Cartelli, Trnka – Moravec, Martin Straka, Cibák – Mrázek, Michal Straka, Důras – Paroulek, Kudrna, Matějovský – Adamský, Kracík – J. Straka. COACHES: Miroslav Prerost, Jirí Kucera.

Worldstars: Hasek (31. Vokoun) – J.M. Liles, Norström, O'Donnell, Jackman, Blake, Regehr, Warrener – Carter, P. Nedved, Petr Sýkora – Domi, Sundin, Daigle – Briere, Murray, Amonte. COACHES: Marc Bergevin, Marty McSorley.

Terry Jones of the Edmonton Sun also provides a mini recap of the event. Unfortunately, as is typical with an Anglo-Canadian writer covering a region he knows little about, Jones makes some glaring factual errors. If you are going to write about Slovakia and Czechia, try to get your facts straight before you make sweeping generalizations.

(Explaining why the event was moved from Bratislava to Plzen) Attendance is down in Slovakia. Not only do fans support the players who lost jobs, fans complain about games which are less pleasing to watch when the NHLers are on the ice. Slovakian fans prefer the eye-candy pretty pass plays to hitting and checking.

1. Anti-NHL backlash? You mean to tell me that the whopping total of 10 NHLers now in Slovakia has created an anti-NHL backlash? There is an average of 1 NHLer per Slovak Extraleague team, and they are only ‘taking’ jobs away from 4th liners and junior players for whom demotion is not such a bad thing. In Czechia, there is an average of about 3.93 (55 for 14 teams) NHLers per Extraleague team. All of the NHLers playing are ‘hometown’ guys...there are no Canadian, Finnish, Swedish, or American foreigners in the Extraleagues.

2. The real reason for decreased attendance is a problem that has been growing for a few years now. If Terry Jones had bothered to ask any knowledgable Slovakian hockey fan, they would tell you that the quality of the league has been eroded by a mass player exodus to every other league around Europe and North America. Slovakia has lost many talented players to the NHL, AHL, CHL, Finland, Germany, Czechia, Switzerland, England, Scotland, Holland, France, etc... you get the point? With it’s poor economy, many talented Slovakian players have left for other countries. Combine this with a 10 team league containing 2 very very very very poor teams (Skalica and Dubnica) and you get some very jaded hockey fans who get tired of seeing so much of their talent playing elsewhere.
"Martin Straka and Martin Cibak are the only NHLers in Pilsen"
Pavel Trnka and Jaroslav Spacek say ‘Hi’.

...Let’s end on a brighter note! Here are some pictures from the exhibition game, courtesy of Jaromir Pech and www.hcplzen.cz

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