Tuesday, September 20, 2005


Preseason Tidbits

My boy Jaroslav Balastik had the winning shootout goal and an assist and 5 shots on goal in the Columbus Dinner Jackets 3-2 preseason win over the Pittsburgh Penguins.

I'm not sure why Jaro is wearing #40 instead of his usual #96, but I hope he's allowed to pick the number he really wants when he makes the pro roster for good. Not a bad North American debut, eh? Jaro played on a line with young phenom Nik Zherdev and Manny "the Ranger$ nearly ruined my life" Malhotra.

Over in Dallas, the enigmatic Vojtech Polak had an amazing debut with 2 goals, 2 assists, and a shootout goal in a 6-5 win over the Edmonton Oilers. He didn't get in a fight, so Gordie Howe wouldn't have been proud.

Given Polak's lazy and unproductive play last year in the Czech Extraleague and with the Czech national Junior sqrad, I'm not jumping up and down on the air mattresses just yet.

I remember when Jon Sim lit up the preseason with the Dallas Stars about a good 6-7 years ago (I wish I could find preseason stats)...I mean he really lit up the place. Just 158 NHL games and 36 points later, it's obvious that a hot preseason didn't translate into much for Sim. Now, he's just a bit player for the Philadelphia Flyers.

The Canucks had Slovak defenseman Rene Vydareny (even hard-core fans will have trouble remembering him) who came in out of junior and almost made the 2000-01 team on the strength of a great preseason. 6 years later, Vydareny never did play a single NHL game and is back to Europe for good.

Buyer beware, the preseason stats can deceive you.

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