Wednesday, August 24, 2005


EuroUpdate: Petr Sykora, the Sequel.

It's time for some news and notes from the European side of the Atlantic pond.

1. Petr Sykora II signed a 1-year deal with the Washington Capitals. Sykora, the brother of ex-Shark/Flyer Michal Sykora, had been rumoured for years to be coming to the NHL, but really showed no interest in doing so.

Sykora is a right-shooting winger with a good one-timer, an itchy trigger finger, and good skating ability. His passing leaves something to be desired, but put him on the left side on a Power Play and he's a dangerous weapon. I expect Sykora II and Miroslav Zalesak will be tried together as a one-two punch.

Sykora II (That's what he'll be called on here and other places) actually played with the Nashville Predators for 2 games back in 98-99. He spent a rather frustrating year in the IHL with the Admirals where he had just 29 points in 73 games. He grew frustrated with the AHL game and the long travel, so he went back to Pardubice the following season and had been there since.

Sykora II lead the Czech Extraleague with 26 goals in 47 games in 2000-01, and has put up 106 goals and 77 assists in 215 Extraleague games since his return. His rights were dealt from Nashville to Washington, and the Caps somehow managed to convince him to come over and give the NHL another shot. I would predict about 20 goals and 15 assists for Sykora II.

2. Mattias Ohlund and the Vancouver Canucks avoided arbitration (only Roberto Luongo's case seems to be going all the way) as Matty signed a 4-year deal. No details yet, but I would expect he'll get paid less than Ed Jovanovski. Ask any knowledgable Canucks fan who the #1 dman on this club is, and they will tell you it's Ohlund. We're glad he's back and signed long-term.

3. The Dany Heatley/Marian Hossa swap wasn't the only bit of surprising news out of Atlanta yesterday. reported, yesterday, that Goaltender Pasi Nurminen has announced his retirement from hockey due to a knee injury suffered while training with the Lahti Pelicans. It must have been a really serious knee injury if it forced him to retire at the tender age of 29.

Nurminen was expected to help mentor young phenom Kari Lehtonen and provide a good chunk of quality minutes as the Thrasher's 1B goalie. Pasi is also a goalie on one of my fantasy teams and now has thrown me for a loop. Thanks, dude! :(

4. Ivan Huml, the slow-developing Boston Bruins prospect, will report to training camp with Boston this year. reports that Huml will return to Kladno of the Czech Extraleague if he does not make the pro squad.

5. Ladislav Smid, the Mighty Ducks 1st round pick of 2004 (9th overall) has inked a contract and is expected to come over and start his North American career. Smid's offensive numbers against Extraleague competition may look poor (6 points in 88 games), but given his age, it's not at all surprising. Smid is still a fine 2-way defender and has more talent than many pundits realize. I'm just worried that he's too damn skinny for the North American game, so we'll see if he eat his share of Rice Krispies and protein bars during the off-season.

6. Patrik Elias, aka "Hepatitis Boy", has agreed to sign his Qualifying Offer with the New Jersey Devils. Now that the Devils are $5mil over the $39mil cap, I wonder what they will do to remedy the situation...

That's it for now.

Sykora's case is even complicated than it was with Prucha - Pardubice had to bought out him from Nashville sedven years ago, they paid 50 000$ in three days in order he can return home. And now, he will go to Washington for free - it is really strange. If I would even accept, that cases like Prucha are underpaid for 200 000 bucks, but anyway, that is a deal. But Sykora II has to be bought from NHL and so what is the point that he could return there for free?? It really makes no sense to me...
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