Thursday, March 24, 2005


Roundup: Cooler Heads, WHL Award Nominees, and More...

Lots of news and notes to comment on today...

Let's start in Europe, where IIHF head honcho Rene Fasel is calling for cooler heads to prevail in light of recent violence in playoff matches.

The atmosphere around the playoffs is starting to resemble the one at a wild-west saloon where unshaved men are exercising frontier justice. Instead of going to their best players to make them score or execute the perfect play, many coaches give unwarranted ice time to the so called 'character guys' whose only objective is to take out the skilful player.
Now, I know many European fans can't fathom the fact that North American teams often give out roster spots to 'enforcers' or 'goons' who do nothing more than hit and beat people like a congo drum. Still, most European teams don't waste roster spots on such players because they would likely be a detriment on the International ice surface and in the European style of game. I take this statement to be a jab at the large amount of North American players taking up spots on European rosters these days.

More from Fasel...
Just like in U.S. sports, we too have 'March Madness', but there is nothing positive with this version.

The whole rhetoric of vengeance and vigilante environment that surrounds the playoffs in Europe could lead to someone losing control just like Todd Bertuzzi did when he crippled Steve Moore one year ago. Do we need another Bertuzzi-incident for people to come back to their senses? Or does anyone need to be killed before everyone realizes that this has gone too far?
Poor he is being used as the prime example of a Player Gone Wild. As much as I respect the fact that Rene is trying to curb violence in the European leagues, he really shouldn't overstate his case and get his facts wrong. Steve Moore is not 'crippled', and there have been violent incidents in European games before.

Methinks Rene should also cool down just a little.

Speaking of violence, Marek Malik of Vitkovice was handed a TWO-game suspension for his smashing of Zlin's Miroslav Okal. His teammate, ex-Flyer Petr Hubacek was handed a FIVE-game suspension for a foul he committed in the brawl-filled 3rd period. Zlin got away without any suspensions, and they are now in prime position to take command of the series as they head to Ostrava for Game 3 today.

- - -

Shifting back on over to this continent, it appears that the NHL is ready to cancel the 2005 Entry Draft within a week.

Be prepared to hear 1,000,000 stories about where Sidney "Nextzky" Crosby will be headed next year. The 'leading' rumours suggest that Crosby would go to Toronto to play with the AHL Marlies. Big market, better league. Hmmm...

I just wonder...if the NHL draft is cancelled, will Gilbert Brule be back with the Giants next year? That would totally rock the house.

- - -

The Western Hockey League (WHL) announced its award nominees/finalists yesterday.

Dion Phaneuf will be the heavy favourite to take home the Best Defenseman (Shea Weber is the other finalist) and Most Outstanding Player awards, while Eric Fehr walked home with the scoring crown.

For the Giants, it appears that Andrej Meszaros (and Red Deer's Roman Wick) were not eligible for the Rookie of the Year award... I'm not sure, but how else can you explain the fact that they weren't even nominated? Is this a new rule where Europeans aren't eligible? I wish someone would tell me these things :(

Meszaros did walk home with a Western Conference 2nd Team All-Star award, while Gilbert Brule was named to the 1st All-Star team and is a finalist for the Scholastic Award.

Aaron Sorochan, the goalie here for the Giants last season, is a finalist for Goaltender of the Year. A year ago, Giants fans weren't all too sad to see him go...what a difference a year can make.

- - -

Back to Slovakia, where evil Slovan Bratislava took a 2-0 series lead thanks to a convincing 5-3 win over Dukla Trencin.

Slovan did a masterful job in shutting down Marian Gaborik (just 1 goal) and Pavol Demitra (0 points) while frustrating Trencin into taking 11 penalties in all.

Marian Hossa missed yet another game with his damn ankle injury, and one has to wonder just how 'minor' this injury really is.

Over in Czechia, Pardubice took a commanding 2-0 series lead over Liberec with a 3-1 win. Radim Vrbata, Vaclav Nedorost, and Ales Kotalik have done little and really need to get their asses into gear if they want to launch a comeback.

...or at least punch someone out :) ...

Please explain to me why Bratislava is "evil" in your opinion.

I was rooting for them because my grandparents came from a villaige on that end of the country. So with that rationale I was also rooting for Kosice because my other grandparents came from a village on that end. Yea, I know. It's kind of polarizing, but ya can't pick yer family!

Oh well... I was just wondering why Slovan Bratislava is "evil".

I would also like to speculate that maybe Hossa's injury is on "the down low" because the Sens would throw a hissy fit and demand that he stop playing. Just speculating.
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Slovan Bratislava = New York Rangers of the Slovak League. Slovan has a huge financial advantage and can pretty much buy any player it wants from other teams once they are 'free agents'...or even before that

I think Slovan has about 1/3 of Poprad's (my fave team there) old roster...

As for injuries...NHL clubs have no say in what goes on over in's more about hiding it from the other Slovak clubs. The european teams have learned to hide injuries as well as NHL teams... ;(
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