Saturday, March 05, 2005


Saturday Slam

So, I blew my wad a bit early on the Rockets/Giants game.

The Giants/Rockets play *tonight*...last night was the Giants vs. the Portland Winterhawks.
I'm attending both matches, but I should learn the read tickets more closely ;)

Anyway, last night's match was rather frustrating as the G-men lost 4-2 to the Winterhawks. The Giants finished 1-5 against Portland this season and they have now lost 4 in a row.

The game featured 3 of THN's Top 50 Prospects in Andrej Meszaros (20), Marek Schwarz (29), and Braydon Coburn (26). Marc Fistric, the Dallas Stars first rounder, also returned to the ice after sitting for many months with two consecutive jaw injuries.

Notes and thoughts from last night's action.

Marek Schwarz - Made the easy saves look difficult...if he even made them at all. Can be credited with giving the Giants the loss. Still plays far too aggressively and was caught far out of his net after letting out rebounds...leading to goals against. He should learn that he can play deeper in his net because of his great reflexes (ala CuJo). He could get away with playing far out of his net in International hockey because of the wider's costing him here in North America.

Andrej Meszaros - Earned 2nd star honours and was the best Giant all night. Had 1 goal and 1 assist, both off of his big blasts from the blueline. Andrej continues to play a very physical game and can overpower many of the WHL's wingers.

Marc Fistric - Apparently he's lost a lot of weight due to his jaw injuries, but he still looked bigger and thicker than every other player on the ice (Except Mitch Bartley, who apparently took his spot at the team buffet table and must weigh 230 by now). Played with Meszaros on the PK and Even-Strength. Lack of muscle was apparent when his bodychecks lacked the 'oomph' they used to. Played an OK game defensively and took one effective rush up the ice. Given his long absence, it was an OK return to the ice.

Gilbert Brule - He was hitting and getting mixed up physically as he usually does, but he was absolutely ineffectively offensively. I've never been to a game where Brule did so little offensively. Playing with 'lesser' linemates clearly had some effect as he was getting little support in the offensive zone.

Braydon Coburn - Portland Winterhawks d-man draws obvious comparison to Chris Pronger for his height, reach, and style of play. Was given lots of ice time and never looked tired...tough cookie to crumble and uses his size and reach to make it impossible for opposing forwards to get around him. Was very eager and physical with Giants' players Gilbert Brule and Tristan Grant. This aggression caused him to take 3 minor penalties. Yep, it looks like he has the same temprament as Pronger, too :). Displayed vocal leadership abilities and confidence with the puck. One aspect he clearly needs to work on is his backhand passing technique.


Czeching the Extraleagues...


Vitkovice 5 - Sparta 1

OK, so I may look a bit foolish for proclaiming that Vitkovice had no chance in hell in this series...but I stand by my prediction!
Sparta went with 20 year-old Tomas Popperle in goal over the 50 year-old Petr Briza. Poor Popperle let in 3 goals in the first 10 minutes (2 of them to former Penguin Vladimir Vujtek) and will probably not see another playoff game this year.
Pavel Kubina was the only NHLer (and 11 played in the game) with a point in the game as he got a lone assist.

Zlin 5 - Litvinov 0

Hame Zlin manhandled Litvinov quite easily as the non-NHLer line of Jaroslav Balastik, Petr Leska, and Ondrej Vesely tore apart Martin Skoula and his partner, Martin Tupa.
Jaroslav Balastik finished with 1 goal and 2 assists while Skoula finished with an awful -3.


Slovan Bratislava 4 - Poprad 3

$lovan just barely eeked out a win over Poprad, no thanks to Miro Satan and Lubo Visnovsky (Who were held pointless). Poor Rado Suchy was -4 for Poprad.

HKm Zvolen 4 - Liptovsky Mikulas 1

Zvolen, meanwhile, had little trouble swatting their opponents in their first playoff match. The NHLers were quiet (the theme of the night) as Handzus and Zednik just had 1 assist a piece while Vlado Orszagh went pointless.



Joeri Loonen of updated me on the 'progress' of Rob Niedermayer as he's playing with Hungarian team Ferencvaros.

Before signing with a European team, it seems Niedermayer was demanding at least a Mercedes and an easy lifestyle.

Looking at him, Rob seems to be enjoying the Mercedes, McDonalds food, Hungarian women, and what ever special favours he's been getting over there. Rob's let himself go a little too much, eh?

Imagine if there were NHL games this season...

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