Wednesday, April 06, 2005


Injured WJC18 Invitation Declines Brule

It appears that Vancouver Giants center Gilbert Brule will miss the upcoming World Under-18 Championships due to some rather well hidden injuries.
TSN Report

After already suffering a major disappointment this week when his Vancouver Giants were eliminated from the Western Hockey League playoffs, Gilbert Brule experienced more of the same today when multiple injuries forced him to decline an invitation to join Canada's entry at this month's 2005 IIHF World Under-18 Hockey Championships.

The North Vancouver native has been playing through a number of injuries this season. He played with a separated shoulder for much of the second half of the season. Most recently, while leading the Giants playoff charge, he has been playing through injuries to his elbow and lower back, and as he said today, these injuries have taken their toll.

I suppose these injuries could explain Brule's somewhat disappointing production in the series versus Kelowna. If Brule was playing through pain and injuries, he did an amazing job hiding it. From the outside, Brule looked fiery and competitive and didn't seem to be bothered by any injuries.

Still, I wonder if Brule would fight through injuries if the 2005 Entry Draft wasn't cancelled. Right now, Brule has no incentive to play at the WJC18 if he's in pain...but if there was a draft, it would be another story.

Extraleague Playoff Update - Evil Strikes First

Let's start in Slovakia, where evil $lovan Bratislava got a game-winning goal from (Miroslav) Satan himself and won 3-2 over Zvolen on enemy territory.

Slovan pulled a switch and put their usual #1, Pavol Rybar, back in net to start the series (Sneaky bastards), and he did well in thwarting most of Zvolen's balanced attack.

Over in Czechia, Pardubice weathered Zlin's storm and stole a 4-2 victory.

Zlin certainly wasn't showing any fatigue. Jaroslav Balastik, the official prospect of Hockey Rants, set up spunky dog-lover Martin Erat for the game's first goal just 35 seconds into the game. Zlin peppered Pardubice's Jan Lasak with 42 shots in total, and really outplayed the dark horsemen from Pardubice. Lasak, as he has been this entire playoffs, was spectacular and composed.

It's unfortunate that Zlin's goalie, Igor Murin, decided to ruin the party by letting in 4 goals in just 12 shots. Frustrating Oilers forward Ales Hemsky took full advantage of Murin's poor play and was the offensive star with a pair of goals and an assist.

Who will Zlin start in goal for Game 2? An interesting story from last year is that Igor Murin went down with injuries before the finals. Backup Martin "The Nose" Altrichter stepped in and dominated during the final series. Altrichter ended up winning Playoff MVP for his play, and it's not far fetched that coach Ernest Bokros could just throw Altrichter back into the fire and hope that lightning strikes twice.

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