Saturday, October 30, 2004


Love Hurts...Even in Russia

Bruins fans won't like this news item at all:

Sergei Gonchar received a head injury during a hockey game today when Magnitogorsk Metallurg played Moscow Dynamo at home. In the offensive end Sergei Gonchar was receiving a pass from Aleksei Kaygorodov but was checked hard by Aleksander Ovechkin. Sergei Gonchar fell on the ice and lost consciousness. He immediately was taken to local hospital with heavy concussion. According to Gennady Velichkin, representative of Metallurg, Sergei regained consciousness and lost it again.

Gonchar spent some time in intensive care after he was brought to the hospital. The concern was that he regained and lost consciousness on the way to hospital. Seemingly, Sergei is ok now. The doctors found no neck or spinal injuries. Sergei says he does not remember how the incindent happened.

Through all of my Extraliga updates, there have been a lot of injuries, of which none have been in the serious nature. Branko Radivojevic's 1 month hiatus is about as bad as it's been for these guys so far.

Gonchar would be the first NHL casualty of a major injury, and, if the injury was serious enough, this could hurt the earnings potential of Gonchar far worse than any salary cap.

Still, the NHL locked out out the players, so they can't really complain about what happens to them now.

PS: How would Caps fans react to the fact that Ovechkin smoked an ex-Cap like Gonchar like a cheap cuban cigar?

Friday, October 29, 2004


Extraleague Update Machine: 10-29-04: Heal me...

Well the Baseball playoffs are over and there' s no hockey to watch on TV at the moment. I was going to go for a longer update, but I don't have the energy right now.

Onto the Extraliga update...where the action really is.

1. Injury Returns - Jaromir Jagr returned from injury just in time to help Kladno beat Trinec 2-0 (bastard!). Roman Cechmanek returned to help lead struggling Vsetin to a win over Zlin (more on this below). Ladislav Nagy and Vlado Orszagh both returned from their respective injuries as well.

2. Friday Night Fights - Martin Erat, Rostislav Klesla, and Petr Cajanek were all involved in a massive 3rd period brawl in this game, a 3-2 Vsetin win.
A total of 246 minutes of penalties were called in this game, no doubt helping some lucky poolsters pile up the PIM points.

3. Forgotten Canucks goalie prospect Lukas Mensator finally got a promotion from the 1st division and shut out a loaded Litvinov squad with 42 saves altogether! Too bad the Canucks are so invested in Alex Auld and Rob McVicar... I have a sinking feeling that the Canucks will never give Mensator a real chance within their organization.

Now for the stats...



Wednesday, October 27, 2004


Extraleague Update Machine: 10-27-04

I’m still shaken over the retirement of Franta Kucera, but somehow I’ll find the strength to carry on...

Today’s News:

1. Milan Kraft is leaving Plzen and will join Karlovy Vary (aka Karlsbad). Karlovy Vary is one of two Czech Extraliga clubs without an NHLer.
With Kraft moving to KV, Jihlava is the only club now without any current NHLers
(or former NHLers, either).
2. Ladislav Nagy is expected to return from injury in this Friday’s match against Zilina. Nagy has missed quite a few games with a bothersome knee/groin problem.
3. Martin Strbak – I reported earlier that Strbak would be leaving Kosice for Dynamo Moscow. This is still true, but it’s now set in stone that he won’t be leaving for Vodkaville until November 13th.
4. You can count Pavel Kubina amongst the piles of injured bodies lying around the Czech Republic. He will miss a minimum of 3 games (a week) with an arm/shoulder injury. Lightning fans can thank Pardubice’s Tomas Rolinek for this injury.

There were no Slovak Extraliga games yesterday, so here are the Czech League

Tuesday, October 26, 2004


Frantisek Kucera: Gone from my (hockey) life forever!

I have some sad news to report today, although most of you would find it strange that it would be so.

Frantisek “Frank” Kucera, 36, who had been playing for Slavia Praha, announced his retirement today from playing hockey.

I’m not sure why it is so, but Kucera has always been one of my favourite defensemen.

Maybe it’s because he resembles WWF/WWE wrestler The Undertaker, who was also one of my favourite wrestlers growing up. This ‘connection’ came to me when I was at a Canucks game (sitting in the 2nd row, the one and only time I’ve ever had such tickets to an NHL game) and Kucera had just joined the team.

Any time I played a game of EA’s NHL series, I generally paired myself with either Kucera or Jiri Slegr when I was a defenseman.

Some background:
Kucera was drafted in 1986 by the Blackhawks in the 4th round. After playing a few years with his hometown Sparta Prague (Kucera is one of the few Prague-born players to ever do well in the NHL), Kucera came over to the NHL in 1990 as the Iron Curtain fell in Europe. Kucera played 4 seasons for the Hawks before stints with the Whalers and Canucks.

In 1996-97, Kucera had his roughest year when he spent the majority of the season in the AHL with the Syracuse Crunch. He was dealt to the Flyers and played 2 games with them to finish the season.

Before he headed back to Europe, the last memory he left burnt in my brain was when he deflected a puck into his own net during his short stint with the Flyers. Not a great way to end (at the time) an NHL career.

Kucera went back for 3 seasons to play with (evil) Sparta Prague. Kucera led them to a championship and he came back into my life when he was with the golden Nagano Olympic team in 1998. Seeing him with ex-NHL Vladimir Ruzicka and non NHLers like Jiri Dopita was just really strange at the time.

When the NHL expanded (again), Kucera found work with the Columbus Blue Jackets and returned to the NHL. He played 2 more seasons and also played with the Penguins and Capitals, and was also a throw-in to the Jagr/Capitals deal.

Speaking of Jagr, here are some funny quotes from a translated article. This is in regards to him ‘accidentally’ hitting Kucera and injuring him during a game.

Reporter: Washington is chasing the Stanley Cup [play-offs], yet you injured your countryman and a teammate Frantisek Kucera during the last game. He played very well until that point, but then he wasn’t able to finish that match because of you. Wasn’t that sabotage?

Jagr: Well, I did erase him. He fell like [a sack of cement]. He criticized me, so I destroyed him. {laughter}

Reporter: How did that happen. Didn’t you see him?

Jagr: I saw him, but it’s my territory in front of the net. I have no idea what Franta was doing in that place. I’d guess this would be his last trip over there. {laughter}

Reporter: He then apparently tried to get on his knees, but fell back on the ice…

Jagr: I’m sorry, but I really had to laugh when I saw that. He will be OK, though. He practiced on Thursday. It’s just his shoulder that hurts, and he doesn’t feel his hand.

Reporter: Well, it is actually somewhat humorous. You have like ten hits during the whole season, and then you go and injure your teammate…

Jagr: Hey! I got nineteen [hits]. I have to add a few more, though, because another of my teammates Ulf Dahlen is closing on me. And Franta claimed that he has never been smashed like that during his whole career. I appreciate that.

Who needs friends like that when you have enemies? :)

Kucera returned to Czechia in 2002 and played with Slavia Prague, Sparta hated rivals. Kucera also helped Slavia win their first ever championship, although he was injured for the final series.

In the end, Kucera’s injuries limited him to just 11 regular season games last year and he had enough of the aches and pains and called it quits after 8 games this season. I’ll miss him.

Kucera’s final tallies:

NHL: 465GP 24-95-119 251PIM
CZECHIA: 445GP 60-107-167

Olympic Gold (1998)
World Championships Gold (1999, 2000)


The Things Athletes Do In Their Spare Time

Normally, I really don't care what an athlete chooses to do in their spare time.

In the case of Patrik Elias, I'll make an exception.

Why? Well, he made his escapades public and it's just good to resist! See for yourselves...


At the start of the season, Elias was healing from some injuries. With the lockout looming, Elias needed a second source of income.

Thus, Elias got a job on a fashionable private charter plane. It's a lot safer than playing hockey, although it doesn't pay nearly as well

(Thanks to 'Misha' for the photographic evidence)

Here is Elias completing the pre-flight underwear check. Looks good!

"Everyone get into their proper positions for take-off!"

Ruh-roh! Elias was caught with his pants down!

It's easy to see why he didn't last long on the job, and why he is now playing with the Znojmo Eagles.

Monday, October 25, 2004


Extraleague Update Machine: 10-25-04 -> Day of the Slovaks

Today's Theme: Injuries and Whine

1. Jaromir Jagr and Martin Havlat, among many of the NHLers, have publicly whined about the referees off or on the ice. It seems the NHLers are too used to their 'superior' officiating and are quite frustrated with the Czech officials (Rozhodci).

2. Injuries - Jaromir Jagr crashed into the goal and he's out. Jiri Slegr hurt his back, and he's awaiting a doctor's diagnosis to see how long he will be out. You can see on the stat updates just how many NHLers are missing games due to injury. I'm sure the NHL teams can't be liking this, but they should expect it and live with it. It's not as if they are actually paying the players right now, anyway.


Martin Cibak is in this week's Zlata Helma honour roll. Watch this video clip as he wires a slapshot over the shoulder of ex-Avalanche prospect Petr Franek.

Today's stat updates, complete with the season-to-date totals for NHLers in the Slovakian Extraliga.



(edit: here they are!)

Saturday, October 23, 2004


Extraleague Update Machine: 10-23-04 -> HCO Trinec


(PS: The stats are at the bottom of today's post)

You've often seen me talking about my favourite Czech team, HCO Trinec (Trinec Steelers), so here's a little background on them.

(BTW, they just pasted Znojmo 5-0 thanks to a 50-save performance by Vlasta Lakosil. Take that, Havlat!)

In the days of Czechoslovakia, the little mining town of Trinec, which is close to both the Polish and Slovak borders, (hence the sponsorship and Steelers nickname) had a constant presence in the 1st division, and wasn't much of a factor in the hockey world. Things changed after the breakup of the two countries, and Trinec earned Extraliga promotion for the 1995/96 season.

The presence of a rich sponsor like Trinec Zelezarny (Steelworks) allowed Trinec to sign stars from other organizations and develop a good team rather quickly. One of those players, Richard Král (a personal favourite), is one of the few players currenly playing that has over 250 goals in the Extraliga in a career. This sponsorship also allowed Trinec to lure prospects and teenagers away from poorer organizations and smaller towns without an Extraliga team. The most famous of these would be Martin Havlát, who was lured away from Brno (a very big city without an Extraliga team), Vaclav Pletka (who had a 1 game stint with the Flyers and was never given much of an opportunity to make the Flyers) Petr Svoboda II(who had a short stint with the Maple Leafs), and Jan Marek (Rangers 9th rounder who now plays for friggin Sparta Praha).

Now, I get a lot of flak from my Czecho/Slovak pals for liking a team in a ruddy mining town like Trinec, but I guess I was initially attracted to the team due to the large presence of Slovak players. Being close to the border has made it easy for Trinec to attract good Slovakian talent (even into the junior program), the most famous being ex-Wild defenseman Lubomir Sekeráš. Besides, I usually cheer for the underdogs and the underappeciated. It takes real dedication to stay with this team :)

Why? Well, if you were an NHL coach running this team, you would have a heart attack in short order. Just think of the mid 90's Pittsburgh Penguins: A high-octane offensive team with a weak defense, weak goaltender, and a total disdain for defense. Trinec has been involved in more 5-4 shootouts than any other team in the Extraliga accordingy to my unscientific analysis.

One more note: Vlasta Lakosil - When you get to a certain age (Now I'm 25), there are players that enter pro hockey at the same time you turn into an adult, and you tend to follow their careers as you grow older. Lakosil would be a such a player for me, seeing as he was born just 3 weeks after I was, and began playing pro hockey for Trinec when he in his teens.

Lakosil was once a fine prospect, although he never was drafted by an NHL club. Lakosil, for all of his athletisicm. is an extremely 'Wild' goalie who relies on his reflexes and guesswork. He's been Trinec #1 goalie for most of his adult life, but he's never seemingly gotten better since he turned 18. I call him 'Lak-o-skil' for a reason. This year, however, he's prevented Trinec from residing in last place. Maybe he's finally put it together?

Today: Heading into the season, Trinec needed to improve its goaltending and defense as usual. Unfortunately, phenom Marek Schwarz was lured away to the WHL after agreeing to a contract just months before. So, another year of Lakosil...

At least NHLers Radek Bonk, Michal Rozsival, and Branislav Mezei (along with Ducks farmhand Peter Podhradský) came in to improve the defense up front and on the back end. Funny how Trinec suddenly stopped scoring and found themselves in last place to begin the season. As of right now, they've strung together consecutive wins and are residing in 11th place, 2 points out of a playoff spot.

Radek Bonk, C (Montreal) - The much maligned Bonk joined Trinec and has played well at both ends of the ice. He's on a scoring line with Jan Peterek (returning from Russia) and currently has 4 goals and 4 assists with a +3 rating and 22PIM in 13 games.

Michal Rozsíval, D (Pittsburgh) - The poor guy missed the entire season last year with a bevy of injuries to his right knee. Given Pittsburgh's poor state, maybe it wasn't such a bad thing that he wasn't subject to finishing -35 or something. Right now, Rozsíval has certainly fit the Trinec bill with good offense and craptacular defensive play. Michal has 1 goal and 7 assists with a -3 rating and 10PIM in 15 games. At the very least, Michal has quickly become the leader of a Trinec defensive unit that lost their leader from last year (Petr Jancarik).

Branislav Mezei, D (Florida) - Ever since Mad Mike Milbury made Mezei the 10th overall pick in the 1999 Entry Draft, Mezei's career has been on the long-road to Mediocreville. He's struggled to earn a regular spot in the NHL, and he's been dissapponting thus far for Trinec. Mezei has 1 goal and 0 assists with an even+/- rating and 28PIM in 12 games.

Pavel Brendl, W (Carolina) - Oh yes, how can we forget the fat pig who came into the season out of shape and fell out of favour with coach Pavel Marek in the 2nd game of the season! Maybe Brendl can learn a lesson from Róbert Döme (Yes, I mentioned this before).

4 years ago, Döme came to Trinec in a much heralded signing. Like Brendl, he came into the season out of shape and lasted just 5 games with Trinec before they booted him out the door. Döme finished that season with Kladno, and then, after life-altering events, Döme changed his lifestyle and work habits 180 degrees. Döme might not be in the NHL today, but he's worked hard on and off the ice to become a better player.

Of course, both of Döme's parents died, and that's a rather extreme circumstance to go through for anyone so young.

To finish off: I will keep the faith and will not jump on the Pardubice or Plzen bandwagon's like some would like me to ;)

NHLers who have been with HCO Trinec (not including the lockout babies):

Lubomir Sekeras (Wild, Stars)
Lubomir Visnovsky (Kings)
Milos Holan (Ducks)
Martin Havlát (Senators)
Petr Svoboda II (Maple Leafs)
Róbert Döme (Penguins, Flames)
Vaclav Pletka (Flyers)
Miloslav Guren (Canadiens)

STATS from yesterday's action (and one game from Slovakia this morning):



Friday, October 22, 2004


Chris Pronger: Whining the Blues

It seems that it’s not only fans, fringe players, ex-NHLers, and ‘independent’ auditors that are frustrated with the lack of talks between the NHL and the Players Guild.

Chris Pronger, the Blues lynchpin defenseman, is frustrated with having to stay home with the wife and kids, and he’s not afraid to show it.

"If all the energy we've seen being wasted on public relations could be spent negotiating a deal, we could probably be halfway done a deal," Pronger said earlier this week from his home in St. Louis.

"Realistically, who cares whose side you are on, neither one of us looks good," he said. "Nobody is going to be a winner in that deal."

"Ultimately the people who lose are the fans who are missing the game they love; the players who are missing the game they love playing and the owners who own their franchise and aren't getting anything out of it. Right now its lose-lose all the way around."

Apart from the fact that the NHLPA hasn’t spent a damn penny on any public relations (What is the use fighting that losing battle?), Pronger is pretty much dead-on, and it’s good to see one of the ‘star’ players realize this. Unlike Chelios, Pronger isn’t perched too far on his high horse to see that everyone is being punished in the battle of the big egos (Bettman and Goodenow).


What concerns me more, however, are the comments made by Pronger in an interview he had with Sportsnet. It’s not hard to see that Pronger wants out of St. Louis:

Dreger: So, it's a distinct possibility you will be wearing a different uniform whenever hockey resumes?

Pronger: "Very well, yeah. I think it's two things; one, they don't want me, two, they want me but maybe I want to be somewhere else, or three, maybe I just want to go somewhere else if I don't see the right team in St. Louis."

Dreger: What about 2 and 3 ... is it time?

Pronger: "Well, I've been there awhile. Very rarely do you see in sports where a player plays in the same city for his whole career. I haven't been in St Louis my whole career, but I've been there a good portion of it."

Dreger: You have a tough decision?

Pronger: "It is, but I've got to do what's good for my career. At this stage, a lot of time it's not about the money. I've made a lot of money over my career. I want to go somewhere and win! In our league it's very tough to pick who's going to win because you never know, but you can give yourself a good opportunity and whether that's in St Louis, whether that's somewhere else we'll see when the time comes to make that decision.”

While watching this interview on TV, it was very clear from his body language that Pronger was quite unhappy and looked like his wife had cheated on him with Tie Domi.


For a Blues fan, such as myself (They are still my 2nd favourite team until Pavol signs elsewhere), the whole house of cards has come crashing down rather quickly this past year. The Blues managed, by a thread, to hang on to their cherished streak of post-season appearances...but the end is nigh!

Al MacInnis...probably retired
Pavol Demitra...probably gone
Farm system...quite thin
Keith Tkachuk...albatross contract
Chris Pronger...ready to leave?

It doesn’t take a rocket surgeon to realize that the Blues chances of capturing Lord Stanley are growing thinner with each passing season. If Pronger wants to jump off the Titanic before it sinks, then I can understand that.

It’s just the fact that he’s so resigned to it, as it the Blues betrayed him, that really irks me. Is he upset because the Blues ‘only’ made him the qualifying offer?

Why he is complaining about winning?

Hmm, let’s look at the Blues during his tenure.

1995-96 32-34-16-0 80PTS
1996-97 36-35-11-0 83PTS
1997-98 45-29-8-0 98PTS
1998-99 37-32-13-0 87PTS
1999-00 51-19-11-1 114PTS
2000-01 43-22-12-5 103PTS
2001-02 43-27-8-4 98PTS
2002-03 41-24-11-6 99PTS
2003-04 39-30-11-2 91PTS

Final Tally: only one losing season, playoff appearances every year, a President's Trophy winning team, and many great chances at the Stanley Cup. Pronger has won a Norris Trophy and has been paid very very very very very well during his tenure in St. Louis.

Yeah, they had the misfortune of being owned by the Red Wings like prison currency, but the Blues were one of the more competitive teams over the past decade.

There are 30 teams (unfortunately) in the NHL, which makes it even harder to win the Stanley Cup. Very few teams had been able to match the record of the Blues during Pronger’s tenure with the team. Pronger should at least be thankful that he’s had the good fortune to play for a good team for as long as he has.

If he wants to leave, then fine, but be grateful for what you’ve had.

And one more thing, Chris: Look in the mirror if you want to talk about playoff failures. When it comes to taking bad penalties and being roughed off of one’s game during the playoffs, you and Keith Tkachuk could write a prize-winning textbook on the subject.

Luckily for St. Louis, the Cardinals are in the World Series (yay!) and they don’t have to consider the Blues depressing future.

Wednesday, October 20, 2004


Extraleague Update Machine 10-20-04 - HC Vsetin

I’m a bit behind on things, so be sure to check out the Hockey Rodent, who has some nice tidbits on the Czech League, including the possibility of Vincent Lecavalier playing for evil Sparta Prague.

He also mentions the master of disaster, (ex-Trinec and a whole other whack of teams) Roman Kadera. Think Bobby Holik without the steroids and about 4-5 inches of height.


It does look more and more like Jaroslav Modry will be joining the Liberec White Tigers once he gets healthy. They have been slipping of late, and he should help them out tremendously. I wonder if he’ll be a good influence for young Ducks prospect Ladislav Smid.


Today’s Team Focus: HC Vsetin (Vsetinska Hokejova)

In its hayday, Vsetin was a dynasty of its own in the late 90s. Roman Cechmanek, Pavel Patera, and Jiri Dopita were the cornerstones of a powerful squad that steamrolled the competition and pulled off consecutive championships.

Then, the owner got caught up in legal troubles, they lost their main sponsor (an Oil company) and the team nearly went bankrupt. In order to maintain a franchise, they had to sell off their stars (or watch them go to the NHL), which included phenom prospect Jiri Hudler. Although they are stable financially, they are pretty weak compared to the other Extraleague teams.

Today, things aren’t too happy in Vsetin after a pretty good start, as they are now tied for last place with 10 points.
Their top scorer, Tomas Vak, isn’t even in the top 40 overall scorers with just 7 points in 14 games.

Although they have a decent roster and 4 NHLers on the roster, this team has been in a major freefall and it may not stop any day soon.

1. Roman Cechmanek is injured and is his usual grumpy self. He didn’t like the team captain, Slovak Roman Stantien, so he had Stantien exiled to the Slovak League. Cechmanek was 2-6-0 in the 8 games he played, and Vsetin has had to suffer with the inept goaltender of youngsters and 1st division quality keepers since Cecho has been out. Cechmanek hasn’t been the same goalie in the last 1.2 seasons after he’s suffered so many injuries.

2. Branko Radivojevic suffered a knee injury and will miss a month or so in total. He had 2-3-5 in 9 Games.

3. Radovan Somik joined Vsetin just as Branko was injured. He has 3 points in 5 games, but is not a high scoring player that will boost the anemic offence.

4. Rostislav Klesla has been thrust into the #1 defenseman role and has faltered in some regard. Klesla has struggled to establish himself in the NHL as a positive-impact player, and he has 2-4-6 and -8 in 14 games. Klesla may turn into a Brad Stuart-type defenseman, and not the ‘Franchise’ type that was expected of him.

In future updates, I’ll do a focus on one team each day and give a bit of background on their current struggles/successes and how the NHLers are affecting that team. If you are following your favourite players over there, it’s good to know a bit more about the league they are in. If you have a request, just email it in.

Now, the stats...



Tuesday, October 19, 2004


A Slovakian Chink in the NHLPA's Armour

(This is Jes Golbez, and I approve this message...)

Given the lack of real hockey news of late, the press was quick to jump over Juraj Kolnik's comments regarding the lockout:

"This is really hard for the young guys," Kolnik told the press. "They don't care how much they're going to make. They just want to play. The guys making $10 million want to make even more. That's a little crazy. Why do the young players have to (suffer) for that?"

Of course, as is usually the case, Juraj Kolnik was chased by the NHLPA heavies and quickly retracted some of his comments with the good "My English sucks" excuse.

"As a locked-out player, I was just frustrated, I just want play hockey," Kolnik said before skating for the AHL's San Antonio Rampage against the Edmonton Road Runners.

"I've had time to think about my comments and I know for sure that I would not play in the NHL again until both sides come to an agreement. I would not be a replacement player."

To be fair, one can understand how Kolnik may have confused the issues. After all, not that many people actually understand the implications of legal impasse, let alone a young Slovak still having difficulty speaking English.

"English isn't my first language and that was a problem"

This comes on the heels of ex-Leaf and ex-Canuck Lonny Bohonos openly declaring he would become a replacement player after seeing his European job taken by NHL players.

"I understand what they're fighting for. I used to be one of them. I never cared much for the business side of hockey but I've got a family to feed. I've got to get the best deal I can get."

Perhaps a year from now, when the NHL may open its training camp doors to anyone who will enter, Lonny Bohonos will gladly compete for a job.

"One hundred percent," he said. "I can tell you that right now. If they want me to be a replacement player, I'll play."

With the highly-paid stars like Chris Chelios seemingly OK with the idea of contracting teams, you can bet that the tweeners and fringe players can't be feeling a whole lot of solidarity with the NHLPA.

As TSN's Bob McKenzie puts it so well:

Let's just say this: if there's a soft spot for the NHLPA in terms of solidarity, it will be at the low end of the NHL food chain, the 100 to 200 lowest paid players, the so called marginal guys who populate roster spots 16 to 23 on any given NHL club.

These guys aren't stupid. They know where they stand and they know if NHL franchises are lost due to an extended lockout, they'll feel the pinch before anybody else. They can read, too. They've seen Chris Chelios' and some other big-name players' comments about contraction maybe not being such a bad thing.

Now, as I was reading my daily roll of websites and weblogs, I came across Ben Wright's take on the current NHLPA Executive committee, and he pretty much sums up my thoughts perfectly:

...the NHLPA is governed by Bob Goodenow and an executive committee made up of seven players- Trevor Linden (president, Canucks), Daniel Alfredsson (Senators), Bob Boughner (Avalanche), Vincent Damphousse (Avalanche), Bill Guerin (Stars), Arturs Irbe (Blue Jackets), Trent Klatt (Canucks), all who make over seven figures when they play (although Boughner and Klatt both make below the league average) and who have mostly seen better, richer days. Irbe, Guerin and Damphousse have all had lavish contracts and are winding down their careers. Linden is nearing the end of his career and Alfredsson is probably nearing the peak of his while Klatt and Boughner are both the kind of players who are one bad injury or one bad season away from the waiver wire. Do any of these players have the best interest of the first, second or third player in mind, or the interests of the AHL journeyman who just wants his shot? I doubt it.

As per my comments before, it is well established that the NHLPA is purely concerned with making sure that the 'Stars' are able to earn exhorbitant amounts of US currency. If Bobby Holik makes $8 million a year, it makes it that much easier for a player half as good as Holik (Of which there are many) to make a good salary.

Still, with such a disdain for the number of jobs available, it's no small wonder that the guys like Juraj Kolnik, who would have trouble gaining a spot in a 24-team NHL, are speaking out.

I should point out that Kolnik would be earning $700,000 US$ if he were to be playing in the NHL this year. Before he speaks out too much against the NHLPA, he should realize that he could never hope to earn that kind of money if the NHLPA had not battled so well to inflate salaries. Superior players like Jiri Dopita and Richard Kral certainly don't earn $700,000 US$ to play in the Czech Extraleague.

Monday, October 18, 2004


Extraleague Update Machine: 10-18-04

Lots of news and goodies for you today.

...You know, I just might not want the lockout to end, after all.

1. My pals David and Daniel both pointed me to a small Denik Sport story that suggests two Canadian TV networks are in negotiations to buy the rights to broadcast Czech Extraleague games! This is added to the fact that Sportsnet apparently bought the broadcast rights to Swedish Elite League games. Who needs NHL hockey when you get have exotic International leagues? Of course, I’m in the minority…but that’s usually how it’s always been :)

2. Daniel also reports that Michal Handzus has finished his lounge-singing tour and his biceps are, while still hurting, almost well enough to play. Handzus has agreed to join Zednik and Orszagh in Zvolen and should play there within the next 10 days.

3. - Zigmund Palffy had a fast impact to his Slovak Extraleague debut this past Saturday!
Palffy combined in a line with two other players with North American experience (Zalesak and Milan Carsky) en route to a 6-1 pounding of a strong Kosice team (sans Nagy).
Palffy wore #33 (his number while in LA) and racked up 1 goal and 1 assist with a +2 rating during the game. Zalesak was even better with 1 goal and 3 assists with a +3 rating. Poor Strbak finished pointless for Kosice with -1 while Martin Cibak had the job of shadowing Zalesak and finished pointless with a -3 rating.


3 NHLers were featured in this week’s Golden Helmet award voting. Check out the links below to watch some NHLers pull off some sweet moves.

(Right Click and SAVE AS for best results)

1. Jaromir Jagr with some sweet dekes around some hapless defensemen.

5. Jozef Stumpel combines with fellow Slovak Palffy for a nice stickhandling goal.

6. Jaroslav Spacek lays out an absolutely thunderous hit (ala Scott Stevens) on some poor helpless schmuck. This clip got my vote.

And now for the stats from Sunday’s action...



Marian Gaborik (Trencin) - 2 assists, +3, 2PIM
Marian Hossa (Trencin) - 1 goal, 2 assists, +4
Pavol Demitra (Trencin) - 1 goal, 2 assists, +3
Miroslav Zalesak (Skalica) - 0pts, even, 4PIM
Zigmund Palffy (Skalica) – Did not play (they gave him a day off so he wouldn’t end up playing 3 days in a row)
Radoslav Suchy (Poprad) - 0pts, -1
Martin Strbak (Kosice) - 0pts, -1
Ladislav Nagy (Kosice) – Still injured…
Jiri Bicek (Kosice) - 0pts, even
Lubomir Visnovsky (Kosice) - 2 assists, +2
Vladimir Orszagh (Zvolen) - Did not play (injured)
Richard Zednik (Zvolen) - 0pts, even, 2PIM
Ronald Petrovicky (Zvolen) - 0pts, +2, 2PIM

Saturday, October 16, 2004


Extraleague Update Machine: 10-16-04

While the NHL and NHLPA are involved in very intense non-negotiations, the beat goes on in the homeland.

1. From my pal Robert Neuhauser's Extraleague News and Notes, he makes mention of the Pavel Brendl/Trinec situation:

Perhaps the saddest story written so far by returning NHLers was the tale of Pavel Brendl and the Ocelari Trinec team.

Trinec envisioned the Carolina Hurricanes forward as a potential scoring boost to their lineup, however, the problematic Nove Mesto nad Metuji native was invisible to begin the season, and was unceremoniously run out of town after being benched midway through the second game against Kladno.

Looking awkward and out of shape on the ice, Brendl struggled to keep up with the pace. His disastrous debut in Trinec can, in all likelihood, be traced to a lack of summer workouts and sub-par attitude, criticisms that have dogged him since junior.

After failing to swing a deal with German DEL team Krefeld, Brendl now plans to return to Olomouc (Cze 2), the same club he played for prior to departing for the WHL.

I guess the German team officials got scared when they took Brendl to an all-you-can-eat buffet and he viciously attacked the Bratwurst tray :)

Yep...more and more, Brendl is looking like the Czech version of Robert Dome.

To Dome's credit, he turned his career around (only after both of his parents died), and Brendl has no excuse for coming into the season in such lousy shape. When you play hockey for a living, it's pretty much a given that you need to be in top physical shape.

On top of all of this, Brendl's Olomouc team got routed 9-0 in his first game with the team. Brendl finished with 0 pts and -2...Maybe he would feel more comfortable in the 2nd division.

2. In Trencin, Demitra and the gang played in RETRO uniforms (harkening back to the ARMY days, when the good players were drafted to DUKLA), which remind me of Boston Bruins old digs for some reason. All the big stars could eek out was a 2-2 tie against poor Poprad. It wasn't due to Trencin's laziness, but rather the fact they keep running into white-hot goaltenders. This time, Stanislav Kozuch, another garden-variety Slovak leaguer, made 37 of 39 saves and will tell his grandkids about this game some day.

3. As mentioned previously, Palffy is now on his way to Skalica to complete his promise to play a handful of games for his home club. Given the fact that Skalica is barely out of the basement, maybe Palffy can get the club back into playoff contention. I wonder what kind of pair Palffy-Zalesak will be.



Richard Zednik (Zvolen) - 0pts, -1
Vladimir Orszagh (Zvolen) - Did not play
Ronald Petrovicky (Zilina) - 1 assist, even
Lubomir Visnovsky (Slovan) - 0 pts, -2
Marian Gaborik (Trencin) - 1 assist, +1, 5SOG
Marian Hossa (Trencin) - 1 goal, 1 assist, even, 8SOG
Pavol Demitra (Trencin) - 0pts, even
Radoslav Suchy (Poprad) - 0pts, even

Thursday, October 14, 2004


Chris Chelios: Dishin' It to the MAN!

No, Chelios isn’t tossing dishes around in a restaurant, but he is mouthing off about Der Komissar Bettman and the state of the NHL.

Now, what is it with these loudmouth American players?

Brett Hull, Mike Modano, Jeremy Roenick, and Bobby Holik (Yes, he is American) have all publicly whined about one thing of another in the past couple of months and have made themselves look rather foolish in the process.

Still, we appreciate the honestly and their quotes made good copy. Keep it comin’...

As for Chelios, he had a few choice words about the current labour situation, and I have a few choice words for him (as if he cares...)

"You know, I don't speak for Mr. Ilitch, but I don't think he wants anything to do with this, and a great indication of that is Gary Bettman won't let (the owners) talk," Chelios said this week. "How can an owner that's not in favor of this have no opinion and not speak his mind? The guys who know how to run their teams, they should let them speak. What do you want, to be fined $50,000 every time you open your mouth? It's ridiculous. Bob Goodenow's not stopping us from talking."

I agree that Bettman looks rather ridiculous fining his employers $250,000 or $1million for saying what is on their mind. I can see the reason for Bettman telling the owners to shut up (as to not hurt their bargaining position), but it seems overkill to be laying out incredible fines against the people HE WORKS FOR!

On the other hand, Chelios should know that the NHLPA isn’t exactly the bastion of Free Speech. Look at the comments made by Steve Thomas and John Madden regarding Salary Caps. The very next day, Goodenow sent a few of his heavies to their respective homes, and then we were subjected to NHLPA-prepared statements about how ‘They’ (Thomas, Madden, the rest of the PA) would never accept salary caps and their comments were taken out of context, blah blah blah blah blah.

“Gary Bettman has put the league in this situation," Chelios said. "A guy who doesn't do his job shouldn't be there. ... He put hockey where it shouldn't belong. You get rid of six or seven teams that don't belong where they are. ... Some states just aren't marketable, some cities. Hockey's not a national sport in the U.S., and Gary Bettman doesn't have a feel for that. That's my opinion."

An American saying the league is in trouble in poor markets has more weight than a Canadian on a soapbox railing against teams in Carolina and Phoenix. It certainly doesn’t help to market the game when the players say such things, however, and maybe Goodenow should tell Chelios that these type of comments only make it harder to market to the US fans (Thus, decreased revenues and decreased salaries).

Still, Bettman isn’t the only one to blame (He can’t control the actions of the Rangers, Flyers, or any other team without screams of collusion), and Chelios and the PA aren’t blameless, either.

Reminded contraction would cost the players jobs, Chelios didn't flinch. "Well, it'll cost jobs, but it'll make the league a better league," he said. "There's a lot of players -- especially a lot of guys that come over from Europe -- who are average players. Make the league a better league. The league was a strong league 10 years ago.

If you ever wanted to see the true colours of the NHLPA Guild, then Chelios has exposed you to them.

A real union:

1. Wants to protect the number of jobs of its members as much as possible. A real union will look at the economics of the current marketplace, and make concessions to ensure that their employer can profit in the long term while keeping the jobs of the unionized employees. Air Canada employees had to make salary concessions in order to keep as many jobs possible for their peers, and they realized that if they didn’t take salary cutbacks, the airline would probably fold and NONE of them would have any jobs.

It’s obvious, with the comments or Chelios and even Goodenow, that the NHLPA is purely concerned with the ability of its top stars to make as much as humanly possible. Pushing up the top salaries makes it easier for the lower employees to make larger salaries and for the agents to make killer commissions.

Notice how easy it is for a star like Chelios to dismiss the ‘average’ player because Chelios knows his job is safe?? How would you feel about this if you were a borderline 4th liner like, say, Brad Chartrand or Jarkko Ruutu? Would you really support your union if they don’t care about your jobs? Do you think Ruutu and Chartrand would have steady NHL jobs in a 24-team NHL? Not bloodly likely. If the NHL wanted to bust the NHLPA, just contract 6 teams and watch a good portion of the membership get a little ticked off.

2. Cares about the safety of its employees. The NHLPA has never fought for safety enhancements that might protect the players from injury and even death. Visors, Helmets, Seamless glass with give, etc...the NHLPA has never taken a forward position on these elements to protect their membership. A real union would care about its membership and the NHLPA would work to ensure safer working conditions in a very unsafe environment. Even the Major League Baseball Players Association fought with their owners to put padding on outfield walls amongst other safety issues.

And, to complete Chelios' outstanding knowledge of the business world...

"It's a business, and you take chances. Nothing's guaranteed in business. Teams come and go. You saw what happened to Minnesota. You see what happened to Cleveland in football. One of the best football cities there ever was, with the history in Cleveland, and they lost their team for a couple years.

"So that's just the nature of the beast. If some teams have to go or you can't make it, then so be it. The players aren't going to feel it as much as the owners."

Cleveland didn’t lose their football team because of a lack of fan support (Far from it), and Minnesota didn’t lose the North Stars due to a lack of fan support. Those teams left due to a lack of public funding for new stadiums, and nothing else.

And sure, businesses fold and go bankrupt all the time, but why would the employees of a company want their own company to be hurting? You don’t hear workers at the Ford Auto plant say “If a few plants fold, it will serve Ford right for bad business practices.”

Chelios may not feel the effects of a 24-team NHL, but many of his ‘peers’ would. The NHL cannot be considered a true union when there is such a disparity between the Chelios’ and the Chartrands’. Trust me, Chelios, the players will definitely feel the affects if the NHLPA is unwilling to help the NHL owners correct some of their problems.

Wednesday, October 13, 2004


Extraleague Update Machine: 10-13-04

Well, today was supposed to be Opening Night for the NHL.

What does it say about the NHL when a die-hard fan, such as myself, didn't even notice it was 'Opening Night' until I heard about it on the radio this morning?

Anyway, let's take a look at some actual hockey news..

Only one game yesterday: A make-up game against Slavia Prague and Znojmo Eagles.
The good guys (Slavia) won 4-2 and clearly outplayed the Eagles.
With the NHLers either whining too much (Elias, Havlat) or beating the crap out of opposing players (Rachunek), the Eagles are clearly trying to enhance their bad boy image.

Jozef Stumpel - 0pts, +1
Zigmund Palffy - 1 assist, +1
Josef Vasicek - 1 assist, +2

Patrik Elias - 0pts, even, 12 PIM (whine, whine, whine)
Martin Havlat - 1assist, even, 4PIM (These brats are undisciplined, eh?)
Karel 'The Enforcer' Rachunek - 0pts, even, 0PIM(!)
Tomas Vokoun - 38-42 SAVES, LOSS


Planning Ahead - The Slovaks announced that they will be bidding for the 2010 World Championships. The problem for the Slovaks is that they lack the shiny big arenas that the IIHF wants its hosts to have. The Czechs had to complete the groovy Sazka Arena in Prague just to get the WC last year.

Ladislav Nagy has been having some groin and minor knee problems, so he'll be out of action for about a week or two. Still, Kosice was able to shutout powerful Trencin 2-0 thanks to the 37-save effort of young goalie Imrich Petrik (21 of them from the NHL trio).

A full slate of games in Slovakia yesterday, so here are the relevant stats:

Radoslav Suchy (Poprad) - 0pts, -2
Martin Strbak (Kosice) - 0pts, +1, 2PIM
Jiri Bicek (Kosice) - 0pts, even, 6 SOG
Ladislav Nagy (Kosice) - Injured
Marian Gaborik (Trencin) - 0pts, -1, 4PIM, 5SOG
Marian Hossa (Trencin) - 0pts, -1, 2PIM , 6SOG
Pavol Demitra (Trencin) - 0pts, -1, 10SOG(!!!!)
Lubomir Visnovsky (Slovan) - 1assist, +2, 2PIM
Richard Zednik (Zvolen) - 1goal, +1
Vladimor Orszagh (Zvolen) - Did not Play
Miro Zalesak (Skalica) - 1assist, +1
Ronald Petrovicky (Zilina) 2 assist, +2

Tuesday, October 12, 2004


Stanislav Lascek: The boat that all the NHL teams missed

Where's the love??

While the scouts, fans, and media have focused their QMJHL lust on phenom Sidney Crosby, it’s been a young Slovak, Stanislav Lascek, who has taken over the lead in the QMJHL scoring race.

For his recent efforts, Lascek was named QMJHL Offensive Player of the Week for the second week in a row!

The 18 year-old Lascek now has 7 goals and 17 assists in 12 games!

So, you ask, who does this fine prospect belong to?

Answer: nobody

That’s right, one of the most talented offensive producers in all of Canadian hockey over the past 2 seasons went completed undrafted in the 2004 Entry Draft.

In my pre-draft preview, I ranked Lascek 9th with these caveats:

Stano Lascek is the ultimate dark horse, or black sheep, in this draft for the Slovaks. Inexplicably, he finished the year unranked by CSS, but other sources, such as ISS, see potential and production within Lascek’s game.

Unlike the other Slovak prospects, Lascek is not very polished or smooth in the least. ‘Choppy’ would be a nice way of describing his skating ability, and he does not excel at carrying the puck.
On top of his described feeble skating skills, Lascek is also quite thin and not very strong. A lack of size combined with poor skating ability is the death knell for most any prospect.

For all of his faults, there are things Lascek can do very well, mainly score goals and produce offensively.

There was once a poor skating right winger who lacked strength, yet went on to score 50 goals with the Red Wings one season. His name? Ray Sheppard.

Come draft day, it will be very hard to guess if NHL teams can overlook Lascek’s deficiencies and draft a player based on proven production. There have been bigger ‘project’ players that have been drafted, and never produced well at any level. He just may make one lucky team very happy.

To my shagrin, Lascek went completely through the draft without even a sniff from 30 NHL teams. Now, all he is doing is leading the QMJHL in scoring.

With offence at a premium in the NHL, and the importance of development talent from ‘within’, why couldn’t one NHL team figure out that spending a late-round pick on a very talented producer like Lascek, investing some $$ in skating instruction for the guy, and letting him develop in their system might very well reward them with an impact offensive player in the future?

Are you telling me that it’s worthwhile to draft some scrub grinder from the WHL or some big sloppy US High School kid over a junior who has produced more than most of his peers?

Low risk, high’s amazing how dumb NHL teams can be, even when it comes to late round picks. If some NHL teams learned how to better invest their resources in ALL of their draft picks (Not just the top picks), they would put themselves in a better spot with more useful assets.

Unfortunately, it seems many teams still throw away their late-round picks on prayers and don’t take any time to fit these draftees into their future plans. Talented players like Stansilav Lascek or Jan Marek (Rangers 9th rounder) aren’t ever given a fair chance.

Maybe next year, one NHL team will take Lascek and invest some time and money for, perhaps, a very high reward.

Monday, October 11, 2004


Extraleague Update Machine: 10-11-04


Here's a photo of Miroslav Zalesak scoring on a penalty shot. Why is this important? Well, it gave his Skalica team their *first* win of the season and they brought themselves out of the basement of the standings. Zalesak was on fire yesterday with 5 goals in a 7-1 pasting of Nitra. The last 5-goal game in the Extraliga that I can remember was Marian Gaborik's 5-goal effort when he was 18 (and whe the hold-out Miro Satan was setting him up).

Not a lot of news since the last update other than Martin Cibak and Radovan Somik made their debuts for Plzen and Vsetin respectively (and both in losing causes).

Lubomir Visnovsky also returned from injury and scored in his first game back...

Onto the stats


Mirolav Zalesak (Skalica) - 5 goals(!), +6, 6 shots on goal (sharpshootin')
Richard Zednik (Zvolen) - 0pts, -2
Vladimor Orszagh (Zvolen) - Did not play
Lubomir Visnovsky (Bratislava) - 1 goal, +2
Marian Gaborik (Trencin) - 0pts, even
Marian Hossa (Trencin) - 0 pts, +1
Pavol Demitra (Trencin) - 0pts, +1, 2PIM
Ronald Petrovicky (Zilina) - 0pts, -1
Martin Strbak (Kosice) - 0pts, -1
Jiri Bicek (Kosice) - 0pts, -1, 2PIM
Ladislav Nagy (Kosice) - Did not play (knee)
Radoslav Suchy (Poprad) - 1 assist, +2

Sunday, October 10, 2004


OSHL Version 1.2a

Although many have proclaimed the OSHL as dead as Disco, it seems the league has risen like the Phoenix from the ashes and will play a short, revamped schedule in Atlantic Canada with some games possibly planned in Ontario in late October.

The OSHL website, as usual, doesn't provide the most detailed information, but it looks like the OSHL has learned from some its earlier mistakes.

Unfortunately for Atlantic Canadians, the OSHL hasn't really announced any chances to the format of on-ice play. Randy Gumbley ought to try and improve the on-ice product to resemble something a little closer to an actual competition, rather than practice shinny.


WHA - One of my recent entries decried the lack of news about the WHA and how it let itself die without a whisper.

Then, one day, we get an announcement that some lumber magnate was looking to buy the WHA as a single entity.

Of course, we've heard *nothing* since then, and the WHA is back to dying an invisible death. I guess this lumber magnate woke up and realized the WHA had no potential.

Want proof? go to the WHA WEBSITE and all you get is:
Website is temporarily offline...

Not even a corpse left...

How will the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation cope with losing it's big money maker, Hockey Night in Canada?


Talking head Ron MacLean will host movies from his set in a hockey arena... At least they are trying :). CBC uses the money it makes from HNIC to help fund it's other Canadian projects (That lose money due to low viewership), so we could see some smaller Canadian shows take a hit...not that anyone watches them anyway.

Friday, October 08, 2004


Extraleague Update Machine: 10-08-04

Lots of news and stats from Freaky Friday in the homeland...

First, the news:

1. Martin Cibak wanted a higher level of competition, so he's leaving Liptovsky Mikulas (although he played for them today) of the Slovak Extraleague and will join Martin Straka, Milan Kraft, and Jaro Spacek with Plzen of the Czech Extraleague.

2. Richard Zednik made his debut with pal Vladimir Orszagh (pictured) for HKm Zvolen today. 'Zed' finished with an assist in a big win over evil Bratislava.
Zvolen is also in talks with Michal Handzus (who rejected evil Slovan, yay!) and Ivan Majesky.

3. Jozef Stumpel wanted to play for his hometown club of Nitra, but Slavia coach/GM Vladimir 'Rosy' Ruzicka wouldn't let him. Obviously, Ruzicka doesn't want to lose both Palffy and Stumpel at the same time. (Thanks to Daniel for this info)

4. Also as per Daniel, Miroslav Satan will announce Tuesday if he'll be prepared to play for evil Bratislava (it would be fitting) or not. If Satan went back to Trencin, that would almost be too unfair to the rest of the the league, wouldn't it?

5. Juraj Kolnik was considering playing with his brother in Nitra, but will stay in the AHL with San Antonio to be closer to his wife and son. (poor Nitra! rejected twice.)

6. Branko Radivojevic will be out 3-4 weeks now with an injury. Fortunately for Vsetin, they just signed his Flyers teammate Radovan Somik to play for them.

Now, onto the stats...



Martin Strbak (Kosice) 0 pts, -1
Ladislav Nagy (Kosice) 0pts, even
Jiri Bicek (Kosice) 1 assist, even, 7 shots on goal!
Martin Cibak (Liptovsky Mikulas) 0 pts, -2, 2PIM
Marian Gaborik (Trencin) 1 assist, +1, 7 shots on goal
Marian Hossa (Trencin) 2 goals, +3
Pavol Demitra (Trencin) 3 assists, +3, 2PIM
Radoslav Suchy (Poprad) 0pts, -1
Richard Zednik (Zvolen) 1 assist
Vladimir Orszagh (Zvolen) 0pts

Thursday, October 07, 2004


Without the NHL, life goes on...

With the baseball playoffs in full swing (&$^# Yankees!), I'm hardly 'jonesing' for hockey at this point. The NHL and NHLPA don't appear to care about getting a deal done, so fan apathy will continue to build as the Yankees Cardinals make their World Series run.

Still, the other leagues are benefitting in some ways by the lockout, and yesterday Sportsnet announced that they will televise 22 regular season games this season for Canadian fans.

The 22-game schedule features all-Canadian content with coverage of the four AHL teams north of the 49th parallel:

  • Hamilton Bulldogs - NHL affiliate: Montreal Canadiens -- 12 games
  • Manitoba Moose - NHL affiliate: Vancouver Canucks -- 11 games
  • Edmonton Road Runners - NHL affiliate: Edmonton Oilers -- 11 games
  • St. John's Maple Leafs - NHL affiliate: Toronto Maple Leafs -- 10 games

Unfortunately, we'll be seeing the Canadian teams playing each other pretty much exclusively! We won't get to a chance to see some of the American teams and the prospects they have. It's certainly efficient scheduling by Sportsnet, but I'd prefer more variety.


The CHL has seen good juniors like Adam Courchaine put back in juniors thanks to the lockout and a marked increase in attendance in cities such as Vancouver.

Unfortunately for the CHL, they aren't getting the 'developmental' funds, as reported by

Under the previous CHL-NHL agreement, which expired in June, the NHL paid major junior hockey development fees each year after the entry draft. That agreement has not been renewed because the NHL is preoccupied with its current lockout of its players.


Each team would receive a $50,000 base grant and then additional money based on the number of its players drafted and in which round.

A first-round draft pick, for example, was worth between $15,000 and $17,000.

So the Giants, with Marc Fistric drafted in the 1st round last year, would have received at least $65,000 from this benefit program. For the true small-market WHL clubs, these funds make a huge difference over the course of a year (Travel costs, etc)

The CHL clubs expect the NHL to eventually remit the money to them even though there is no formal contract in place. It's hardly the headache that the IIHF agreement will be for Bettman.

Tuesday, October 05, 2004


Extraleague Update Machine: 10-05-04

Ok, so there is not a lot of incredible North American hockey news of note these days.

Still, I'd encourage you to check out TSN's proposal to end the lockout that would appease both sides. I'll have my own proposal in blog format sometime this week (I hope).

Now, onto today's news from the homeland


1. Milan Hejduk is heating up: He had 2 points today after getting his 1st point in the previous game. This time, Pardubice beat up on Trinec... and who hasn't? :(

2. Fighting is illegal in European hockey, but that didn't stop Jiri Slegr from dropping the mitts against Stanislav Prochazka. The goonish Slegr is now 2nd in the league with 39 penalty minutes.

3. One guy I neglected on my updates was Tomas Kloucek. Including today's game, Kloucek has 0 points and is -3 in 7 games. This guy just can't seem to stick in the NHL, and I wonder if he'll be a permanent fixture in Europe before long.

4. Martin Prusek has played so poorly this season that he's been replaced by garden-variety backup Marek Pinc. Pinc has played well the past 2 games, so don't expect Prusek to get much playing time in the near future. It hasn't been a great return to the Extraliga for the NHL goalies...

5. Jaromir Jagr is in a familiar place: on top! Jagr leads the Extraliga in scoring now with 13 points in just 7 games (the other dudes have 9).

Today's stats...


No games today from Slovakia, but some tidbits

1. Patrik Stefan, the wonderfully unproductive 1st overall pick of the Thrashees was talking to Slovan Bratislava about joining their team. Today's news report suggest that those talks are off and Stefan won't play in Slovakia any day soon.

2. Zigmund Pálffy has scheduled his 10-game 'personal loan' to Skalica to begin on October 17th (Round 13) when Skalica will travel to Poprad. Pálffy plans to stay with Skalica until November 7th. This isn't set in stone just yet.
I don't think Slavia will be shedding too many tears since Pálffy only has 4 points and a -4 rating in 8 games with Slavia to date.

3. Radovan Somík has been playing with 1st division Martin, to date. He's looking to join a Czech Extraliga club (perhaps his old haunt of Zlin) and is not too interested in the Slovak Extraliga.

Sunday, October 03, 2004


Extraleague Update Machine: 10-03-04

Lots and lots of news and goodies for you today...


1. In yesterday's Hockey Night in Czechia game, Sparta Prague beat Plzen 5-3 in front of 5,143 rather pissed off fans. Stats not included in the last updates

Jan Hlavac 1 goal, 2 assists, even, 2PIM
Karel Pilar 0 pts, even, 0PIM
Robert Schabel 0 pts, even, 2PIM

Milan Kraft 1 assist, even, 0PIM
Martin Straka 0 pts, -1, 10PIM
Pavel Trnka 1 assist, even, 0PIM
Jaro Spacek 1 assist, evem 0PIM

2. Pavel Kubina made his season debut for Vítkovice today in a 0-0 tie with Trinec. Yep, Trinec is now back at the bottom of the standings... :(

3. Patrik Eliáš and Martin Havlát made their debuts for Znojmo in a loss to Zlin. Elias managed to get himself a game misconduct in the 3rd period whining about his pal Havlat's penalty. WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHH HAHAHA

Stats from today's games...


1. In Slovakia's own Hockey Night in Slovakia game yesterday, the powerful Dukla Trencin squad was derailed at home 4-1 by Zvolen. Most of Slovakia was shocked, even if you weren't.
Gaborik 1G, -1
Demitra 1A, even, 2PIM
Hossa 0PTS, -1

2. Radoslav Suchý made his debut today for Poprad in a 0-0 tie. Poprad is a poor team, so it's nice to see Suchý is helping them out.

3. From today's action...
Martin Cibák (L. Mikulas) 0pts, -2
Vladimir Országh (Zvolen) 1G, 1A, +1, 2PIM
Miroslav Zalesak (Skalica) 3A, -1
Marián Gáborík (Trencin) 2 G, 3A +4 (8-1 win over Dubnica)
Marián Hossa (Trencin) 2G, +3, 2PIM
Pavol Demitra (Trencin), 3A, +3
Radoslav Suchý (Poprad) 0PTS, even, 2PIM
Jiri Bicek (Kosice) 1 A, +2
Ladislav Nagy (Kosice) 2A, +2
Martin Strbak (Kosice) 1G, +2, 4PIM
Ronald Petrovicky (Zilina) 0PTS, -1


Anxious to see some game action? Well, there is the next best thing..


The top 6 plays/actions from the past week are up for voting on the Zlata Helma site.

Here are the NHLers making nice plays this past week.

Ales Hemsky cuts through the Jihlava defense like a hot knife through butter (STICKHANDLING).

Jaromir Jagr with a show of strength as he throws a one-handed pass to Tomas Kaberle for the easy goal (PASSING PLAY).

Jiri Slegr sets up Viktor Hubl as part of a 4-way combination play.

Friday, October 01, 2004


Extraleague Update Machine: 10-01-04

I just got back from the Giants/Thunderbirds game, which Seattle won 3-0. It was one of the worst efforts I've ever seen from the Giants...disgusting. I'll have a game and scouting reports later this weekend.

On with the update machine!


1. It's not confirmed that Pavel Brendl and his hot-dog eating butt has been kicked out of Trinec. Club bigwig Petr Husicka confirmed that Brendl whined like a little baby during the 2nd game of the season (against Kladno) when he was benched...and Trinec already has enough unproductive lazy forwards (Yes, they lost again today 3-1). Brendl will probably land in the Belgian 2nd division in 3 years with his (lack of) work ethic

2. Pardubice got rid of coach Frantisek Vyborny (The guy with the worst hair in Europe) and replaced him with Vladimir Martinec (He's been around the block a few times). Pardubice responded with a win...although Hejduk still doesn't have a point!! Even Marian Havel is outscoring him!

The stats...


1. Vladimir Orszagh had enough of the 1st division and has agreed to play with HKm Zvolen!

2. Lubomir Visnovsky will be out at least 2 weeks due to the injury he suffered in Slovan's last match. A big loss to Slovan, who could lose more ground to the rolling Trencin powerhouse and Nagy's Kosice team.


Ronald Petrovicky (Zilina) - 0 pts, -1, 2PIM
Martin Strbak (Kosice) - 1 assist, even
Ladislav Nagy (Kosice) - 0 pts, even 2PIM
Jiri Bicek (Kosice) - 1 goal, even
Miroslav Zalesak (HK36 Skalica) - 0 pts, even

Trencin and Zvolen meet in the high powered matchup on Saturday.

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