Monday, March 07, 2005


Giant/Playoff Update - Part II

Watching the Kelowna Rockets play hockey is to watch defensive hockey as its 'finest'. The Rockets play the game like a true machine...If the London Knights weren't almost perfect this year, I'd pick the Rockets as favourites to win their second straight Memorial Cup.

Saturday night's 1-1 tie between the Giants and Rockets was fairly entertaining, but it was definitely the Rockets in control of the game the entire night. If not for a Gilbert Brule zone-to-zone rush and blast on a Giants Power Play, the Giants definitely would have been shut out.

Injury Notes:

"Kelowna's star defenceman Shea Weber left the game at the end of the second period with a suspected right knee injury. " (ruh-roh! I don't remember him getting hit in any special way, so hopefully it's a minor injury)

"Vancouver was without second-leading scorer Adam Courchaine, who missed the game after a bad reaction to his pink eye medication. " (why am I suddenly reminded of South Park?)

Scouting Notes/Thoughts:

Gilbert Brule (1st Star)- Was definitely the only Giant able to create anything offensively against the big Rocket machine. Brule was the only offensively creative player on the entire Giants roster and it can't help playing with guys like Tristan Grant every night as supposed to more skilled linemates. Brule's linemates aren't teriffic at getting him the puck (except for Meszaros) and Brule often had to carry the puck himself from his own zone (as he did on his goal)

Marc Fistric (2nd star) - After Friday night's feet-wetting performance, Fistric was much more involved on Saturday night and played about 20 minutes or so. His hitting was a little more effective but not at the boom-boom level we're used to...seems to be using angling and positioning even more effectively (maybe as a result of weight loss?). Was taking low 'deflect-me' shots from the point, and still seems to be afraid of unleasing a big slapper from the blue line at times. It's good to see Fistric is quickly getting back into game shape as he'll be an important playa for the Giants in the playoffs.
The extra weight loss might be a good long-term benefit. Fistric was never a slow skater, but now he appears to be even quicker.

Marek Schwarz - Good Marek was on display tonight as his Ritalin prescription must have been refilled before the game. Schwarz was not so aggressive in this game and wasn't letting out big rebounds, either. Schwarz kept his team in the game as the Rockets mounted a late-game and OT offensive that had the Giants pinned in their own zone for most of the last 15 minutes. Schwarz appeared much more calm on the ice tonight, except when he was handling the puck. Schwarz simply dumped the puck into his own corner (Twice) and the Rockets took quick possession. He should have been given 2nd star over Fistric...

Andrej Meszaros - Another game, another assist. Meszaros wasn't much of a standout tonight offensively, but his defensive game continues to impress and he's quite imposing physically. Until Fistric regains his old form, Meszaros is, by far, the best hitter on the Giants' defense corps.

Shea Weber - Was Braydon Coburn on Friday night, he was goaded into 2 penalties for being too grumpy (call it the "Brule Effect"). Left the game after the 2nd period. Wasn't noticable at first glance, but he plays a good defensive game without always knocking people around. Still, I was expecting more.

A Question for WHL Fans: The Giants played 3 imports last night (Meszaros, Schwarz, Gordichuk). I thought that CHL teams could only dress 2 imports in any game. Were the Giants allowed to have 3 imports because they only dressed 2 overage players (as supposed to 3)?? That's the only theory that makes sense to me.

* The Giants clinched 3rd place in the BC Division with a 4-1 win over Kamloops last night.

Andrej Meszaros had another goal in that game, pushing his totals to 10G and 28A in 55 games this season.

Meszaros will be in a tough battle with Swiss player Roman Wick for the WHL's Rookie of the Year award. Wick, a forward with Red Deer, has 29 goals and 34 assists in 59 games. It's pretty obvious who I'd vote for ;)


Extraleague Playoff Update


Trencin 2 - Zilina 3 (Series 1-0 for Zilina)
Wow, somehow the powerhouse Trencin team was upset in Game 1 in front of 6,150 fans. Marian Gaborik had both goals for Trencin while Ivan Droppa (1,000,000 points to any Hawks fans if they remember this guy) had 1 goal and 1 assist for Zilina.
Marian Hossa was *not* in the lineup for Trencin. Coach Hiadlovsky hopes to have Hossa in for Game 2 of the series.

Kosice 6 - Nitra 3 (Series 1-0 for Kosice) Jiri Bicek had 1 assist and Martin Cibak had 1 goal and 1 assist as Kosice wiped the floor with Nitra in Game 1.

Zvolen 4 - Liptovsky Mikulas 1 (Series 2-0 for Zvolen)
Zvolen won Game 2 by the same score as Game 1, and again the NHLers were quiet. Zednik had 1 goal and Handzus had 1 assist for Zvolen.

Slovan 5 - Poprad 0 (Series 2-0 for Slovan)
Miroslav Satan had the first goal of the game and Lubomir Visnovsky chipped in with 2 assists as Slovan didn't have much trouble with Poprad, as expected.


Pardubice 4 - Kladno 1 (Series 1-0 for Pardubice)
Kladno had the early lead, but couldn't hold back a deep Pardubice squad. Jan Hrdina of Kladno and Ales Hemsky of Pardubice were the only NHLers to get a point (1 assist each) in the game. Milan Hejduk, Jan Bulis, Michal Rozsival, and Tomas Kaberle all managed to do nothing on the scoreboard.

Slavia Prague 5 - Liberec 2 (Series 1-0 for Slavia)
Zigmund Plaffy (2G, 1A) and Tomas Vlasak (2G, 2A) put on a show as Liberec' lack of discipline in the defensive zone was taken advantage of. Josef Vasicek also picked up 3 assists in the game.

Hame Zlin 1 - Litvinov 3 (Series tied at 1)
Litvinov managed to steal one in unfriendly confines as goalie Kamil Jarina stopped 37 of 38 Zlin shots and Litvinov scored 3 unanswered goals in the 3rd period. Miro Zalesak was the big hero for Litvinov with a goal (including the game winner) and an assist.

Sparta Prague 5 - Vitkovice 4 (Series tied at 1)

Vitkovice continues to give Sparta problems as the Spartans were lucky to come out with their first victory. Petr Nedved (1G, 2A), David Vyborny (1G, 2A) and Ivan Majesky[!!] (1G, 1A) were the offensive heroes for Sparta.
Grumpy Vaclav Varada earned himself 5+game in the 1st period with some careless stickwork while Pavel Kubina also earned a 10-min misconduct for some whining.

Wow, Wick and Meszaros eh? How do the Sens do it? I wish the 'Nucks could do it....

-Displaced Canucks Fan
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