Wednesday, January 19, 2005


EuroUpdate: Bondra Pops Up in Poprad

It really is going to be a wild 2 weeks as we approach the January 31st transfer deadline for (most) IIHF leagues.

With the NHL/NHLPA doing some last minute negotiating, and with only a dozen games left in the Czech Extraleague, European teams are trying to gear up for the stretch run with players are unsure of what the future holds (or dumping good players if they can get a return).

"Should I stay or should I go?"

Bob Goodenow has given his guild members the OK to find jobs in Europe, but some players remain optimistic that a last-minute deal can be reached. Thus, there are still many players and teams on the edge.

With special thanks to my Slovak correspondent, Daniel, here are some of the latest newsbytes, rumours, and other stories from Central Europe.

1. "The name’s Bondra, Peter Bondra" – "Bonzai" made his return to Poprad for the first time since Sidney Crosby was wearing Pampers. He scored the game-winning goal and added another assist in his debut versus Skalica. Bondra plans to play about 6 games with Poprad and then return to Washington to watch his son take part in a youth hockey tournament. Bondra has been public about his optimism regarding the CBA talks, which has me thinking that he’s been taking a few hits from Marcel Hanzal’s stash.

2. Branko Radivojevic and Radovan SomikVsetin is clearly out of the playoffs and Slovan Bratislava’s GM (Krajci) has expressed interest in bringing these players to Bratislava.
...but wait!!!
Pavol Demitra, co-owner and interim captain of Dukla Trencin, has expressed interest in bringing Branko to Trencin to help replace the departures of Hossa and Gaborik. Apparently, Pavol is pretty pissed with his teammates’ effort at the recent European Champions Cup and wants to fix his team before they get slaughtered in the Slovak Extraliga playoffs.

3. It has been a nightmare season for Trinec, so now they are starting the task of dumping/trading some of their good chips in to other teams who want them. We’ve already seen Michal Rozsival transferred to Pardubice, and Branislav Mezei will probably be next. Ex-Ducks farmhand Peter Podhradsky will also be in some demand.

4. Martin Brodeur – Not really Central Europe-related, but he did express his interest to play for Canada at the World Championships should there be no NHL season. As the Devils are regularly in good playoff runs, Brodeur hasn’t had the chance to help his country at one of these unheralded tournaments.

5. Miro Satan – As stated before, his tenure with Slovan was really only to extend until January 15th. As it stands now, he’ll wait until the end of January to make a decision (barring an NHL miracle) and he did play with Slovan last night.

6. Speaking of Pothead Marcel Hanzal, it is likely that any further punishment he’ll receive will be quite minor or ‘symbolic’ since Marijuana isn’t really a performance enhancing drug. Hanzal has already missed the ECC, so he’s been punished enough for smoking up. It also helps that Robert Svehla and Pavol Demitra have some clout within the Slovak Hockey Federation. (His ‘B’ sample results will be released later this week, but I doubt that will really make a difference)

7. Ronald Petrovicky – It’s somewhat amusing that NHL players go over to Europe and expect a picnic. Some Canadian players, like Marc Savard, found this out the hard way, but the homeboy Ronald Petrovicky apparently didn’t remember how things were back in Slovakia. As reported by an anonymous Slovakian reader and also by my Slovak correspondent, Zilina released Petrovicky due to poor play and poor work ethic.
Petrovicky never really played in the Slovak Extraleague as a youngster as he went directly to the CHL to develop. Look for Slovan or Trencin to jump on Petro if he remains available.

One interesting side-note: Zilina is one of the few sports teams with a female GM: Ms. Anna Tomkowa.

Here are the usual stats from yesterday’s games:



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