Tuesday, May 24, 2005


Marek Schwarz: "Screw you guys, I'm going home!"

For Vancouver Giants and St. Louis Blues fans, I have some bad news to report from this past week.

Marek Schwarz, the first round selection of the Blues in 2004, has decided to leave the Vancouver Giants and will return home to Prague to play with Sparta Praha as the backup goaltender.

After a very trying season with the Vancouver Giants, in which 'Schwarzik' finished with very mediocre statistics (56GP 26-24-4 2.67GAA .900SV%) in the WHL, and a terrific performance at the World Junior Championships, Marek just had enough.

Why is he going back?

  1. Homesickness - He misses his girlfriend (awww, how cute)
  2. The Pressure - Marek didn't really like the fact that the media and fans were very hard on him for his off-and-on performances and his tendancy to give up some very easy goals.
  3. Confidence - Marek would like to play in an environment where he can succeed, and not one where he feels 'out of place'

Marek never wanted to come to Vancouver in the first place, a fact that I had mentioned many times last year. Robert Neuhauser, a scout for McKeens Hockey, had confirmed my suspicions:

Schwarz personally isn't that happy with the solution as he was looking forward to playing for Trinec in the Czech senior Extraleague. He signed a good contract there and was a fan favorite last season.

His agent has basically forced him to decide not to play for Trinec and head to Vancouver in August
...and a year later, the relationship soured and Marek's heading home. The pressure from the Blues and his agent isn't enough to get him to endure another 'year from hell'. My rantings from last year were dismissed by many as 'sour grapes'.
...it's also obvious that he believes coming to the WHL will get Schwarz him an NHL contract faster...and that, folks, equals "bling bling"
Henys and his agency will not make that much money from Schwarz playing in Europe, but once Schwarz and Meszaros (who also falls under the same agency) sign their first NHL contracts, the commission from that contract is all the incentive that they need to push their kids into the CHL.

What role do the Giants have in all of this? I can't say for sure, but I speculate if the Giants weren't making some "side" payments to Schwarz's agent to get him to push their clients towards Vancouver. If Schwarz and Meszaros were openly willing to come to the CHL, you'd better believe they would have been drafted (CHL IMPORT DRAFT) much higher than they were.


It would also be nice if someone could help remind Schwarz that Henys and his agency works for Marek Schwarz, and not the other way around. If Schwarz truly doesn't want to leave Trinec, then he should tell his agents to go to hell.
I can't say that I'm entirely happy to say 'I told you so', because Schwarz obviously needs to continue learning the angles and nuances of the North American game. If his play for the Giants was any indication, he should really stay here another year and continue his development under the guidance of Bill Ranford.

And to add to this...how about Vancouver's reputation as a 'Goalie Graveyard'? As soon as any goaltender plays for a Vancouver team, they are ultimately cursed, so the legend goes. This will certainly add to the mystique and aura that surrounds this dark city.

In the meantime, Schwarz will split the Spartan goaltending duties with the ancient Petr Briza. I expect Schwarz will do great things once he's in the loving arms of his home country. His NHL future, on the other hand, certainly gets a bit more clouded. If Schwarz can't handle the pressure of playing for the Vancouver Giants, then how can he handle the pressure of the NHL?

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