Wednesday, 21 November 2012

Is it time yet?

Around this time of year in many of the leagues serious contenders for playoffs are profiled. First third is already down, most teams know their ups and downs and first changes are being made. Weakest links and all that business.

EC KAC is a team with tradition, history and passionate fans. They do lean towards the right a bit too much, but as long as there is beer and food there is no problem in Klagenfurt. However... the title keeps eluding their grasps for a few years now despite big names and players coming to play in Corinthian club. Four seasons without the title makes KAC a place with lot of pressure both on players and management. Last year's "shock" therapy with removing Manny Viveiros from the head coach bench has proven to be a "minor improvement" and then managed to get to the finals for the second year in a row just to get demolished by EHC Black Wings Linz. Now they tried to shock the team back on track again.

Andy Chiodo (EC KAC) doing a crazy dance in front of Adam Miller (Medveščak)
On Sunday KAC lost to Vienna with 1:0, and then a change happened. Weber took some time off to be with his wife, and Manny Viveiros managed to hustle his way back on the bench. 11 injured players and a new import Andrew Cogliano. Cogliano is friend of an NHL Lockout player on a stint in Klagenfurt, Sam Gagner. While KAC is steering towards utter fail, signing of Gagner and Cogliano isn't helping. Two "good" players have between them a total of zero pro seasons when they played in playoffs. Is time for them to try the taste of it finally? Only time and Bettman will tell.

Sam Gagner chewing his moutpiece while Bears own his a$$ (photo: Igor Šoban)
Sam Gagner fires a shot from a blue line. 
Sam Gagner appeared (sorry for the pun) in 11 games so far for EC KAC and got 14 points on his sheet. Not bad though, but he's also +- 1. KAC is still looking for a home win in November, and Head coach change wont help with it. On the road they're terrible, five losses in a row.

Sammy said he's all alone there and he needs a friend from americas. So the management went to ask Cogliano whether he's bored over there. Lucky for them he came over and in one game added a single assists so far. Oh boy. So good.

Another Bull in Salzburg - Johnny Boychuk
Red Bull Salzburg on the other hand is slightly worse than Klagenfurt. With 20 points in 23 games RBS is firmly holding 10th place. Bernd Bruckler is injured, terrible Alex Auld holds one win for the team, while Gračnar, a terrific young goalie is out for next one to two weeks. Clarkson and Enstrom left the team few weeks ago, while the Bulls added Johnny Boychuck to the roster.

PAN Arena Ice Fever (photo: Igor Šoban)
After suffering a defeat in front of 15.200 fans in Arena Zagreb, with brave youngster Gračnar between the pipes, Bulls had no choice but to have Auld in goal on Tuesday. NHL veteran goalie had a stunning 83% SVS% and they managed to lose against their arch nemesis Szekesfehervar devils with 4:5.

Also check out this gnarly interview that an NHL player gave. He did lose but still, that's one poor loser. You can hear everything under the dub that Croatian commentator did live. Good job Tyler Myers, you're a complete twat.

Are NHL players really worth it regardless of teams they play in? Vanek certainly wasn't. Ever since he left Graz 99ers are on the roll, last five games they won clearly. VSV is slowly dropping and now they're third with 4 points behind leaders, while Andreas Nodl is not to be mentioned ever again. Clearly one of the best additions to the league currently is Jan Muršak in Olimpija who in 18 games has sky high 33 points (12 goals).

Medveščak just finished their first series of Arena games with two wins and one loss in 5 days. Rougly 40 000 fans saw Medveščak playing against Olimpija, Salzburg and Klagenfurt and quite few NHL players: Sam Gagner, Tyler Myers, Alex Auld, Dustin Jeffrey and Jan Muršak. A game on Sunday, 18th of November, had a special meaning to all Croatians, as it was the day when 21 years ago Vukovar fell. In honor of that heroic city there was a minute of silence for all victims of the war horrors. And it was quite the picture.

18.11.2012. PAN Arena Ice Fever KHL Medveščak Zagreb - EC KAC 4:1 (photo: Mirko Janković)
Three home games in a row meant that its time for Bears to hit the road. First stop was again a game against Klagenfurt, just this time Red-White had Cogliano to back up their battered roster. It wasn't enough once again regardless of 3 point game by Sammy Gagner.
Dustin Jeffrey (Pittsburgh Penguins) scores a decisive penalty shot for the victory.
Yeah, no chance for Andy Chiodo there...

Last week I also met some guys, so shutout to Barbara Kavčič, Matej Grošelj from Ljubljana and Hannes Biederman from Vienna. You all owe me beers now. Officially. Only Rok Županc gets a free pass but he's EBYSL Team Manager now. Lucky guy!

Hopefully next update will be soon, so spread the love, we're back!

P.S. Simmonds and Stewart broke up and Stewart ran back to East Germany to cry manly tears. Simmonds decided not to return to Germany, had a family issue and returned to Toronto area. Hopefully guys will get back together in NA or somewhere else if Lockout lasts. I would hate to miss all this love and energy.

P.P.S. A friend of mine, Ned Lukacevic also left Crimmitschau but went to Slovakia and Banska Bystrica. So far in 4 games Neddie has 2 goals and 4 assist. Not bad buddy, by Xmas I want atleast 2ppg or we're not going to Adriatic this summer.

Ned Lukacevic and Dennis Bozic with a friend

1 comment: