Tuesday, 26 February 2013

Pierre Page was a good coach

no one said ever. 

You know those guys that were coaching when your parents we young? Those guys that know everyone, have been everywhere, yet have not done anything at all? 

Pierre Pagé
Pierre Page who is currently a coach of Red Bull Salzburg, director of hockey operations, and a guy who works on team's hiring policy, is one of those people. Given the chance this guy can talk for hours. I've heard his players comparing his speeches to those of Fidel Castro on Cuba.

When my local team cancelled post game press conferences in favor of press statements done in passing by players and coaches one of the things I started to miss were his speeches on these. Previous years, regardless of winning or losing, Pagé just started to talk, and talked for quite some time. 

My first encounter with Pagé as after winning a game over a team crippled by injuries and overcoming a 2 goal deficit in last two minutes followed by a win in OT, "my" local team playing with two D-men in 3rd line as forwards. Pierre promptly recalled some SC run with one of his teams sometime between '80ies and mid '90ies and proceeded to talk about it for good 15 minutes.

And then there were playoffs

This time he has outplayed even himself. After barely qualifying for the playoffs Pagé team lost in the opening game. He didn't congratulate the opponents, or commented the game. This was a playoff game. 

Pierre Pagé, EC RBS player, Marty Raymond, Curtis Fraser
Pagé said (quote): "I've been in this league for 6 years now. And just last week I heard a comment by Swiss ref saying that this league has no speed and no skill. These are not my words but words by Swiss refs, Swiss GMs and Swiss coaches."

Well too bad mr. Pagé, but is this not a league in which you with almost unlimited budget can't compete? A league where you wouldn't qualify for PO if there hadn't been a system that favored you rotating a thousands of players? In few months of regular league Pagé has dressed 28 different import players and had overall of 57 players on his 22 men roster at some point.
Dont blame the players, blame the bad coach

I'm not sure here but it sounds to me like he didn't get a single player with speed or skills that mattered to him this season. Note at this point that Salzburg acquired several LOCKOUT players (most in league) this season like Johnny "The Rocket" Boychuk, Clarkson, Dorsett, Brassard, Tobias Enstrom. These guys weren't good enough I guess.

I wonder what they would say. Or Nick Ross, Ryan Kinasewich, Tyler Maxwell, Justin Keller, Shawn Hunwick and many more from previous seasons. The team is a joke. Hopefully it'll become something as it has means and facilities to be big. Without Pierre Pagé.

The issue with dropping a bomb in closed quarters full of people

was never a problem with Pierre Pagé as he managed to say the following:

"NHL has become a league with lack of skill and speed recently and is not looked upon anymore." 

Erm... what? Best players, best coaches and best venues in the world, but the league lacks skill and speed to be the best in world? 

It's not over till Pierre sings

Playoffs are a series of games between two clubs. They are played until last man standing and many things are done that wouldn't be done otherwise in a regular season game.

Now, Pierre Pagé is a master in those games. Not playoff games but in dirty games. 2007/08 Red Bull Salzburg was losing to Olimpija. One of the reasons was a superb goalie Alex Westlund between the pipes of Olimpija.
Player in crease holding a goalie and its a good goal. 

Tactics? Easy, ram the goalie. Didn't work then.

It worked today. When faced against a superb goaltending its best to brew a old recipe - have a sucky player ram the goalie and lets take the game home. Daniell Welser, a mediocre austrian player rammed and injured an Olympic Slovenian goaltender just so his team can win. Shoulder to the head works. Usually.

Also this is a good goal apparently:

This won't work as Medvescak has two excellent goalies and hopefully Pierre Pagé dirty moves will be penalised soon enough with a plane ticket to a nursery home. So long old man, we'll miss you...

That one you will never hear. Beat it.
Ha - Ha (Nathan Perkovich) 

Wednesday, 13 February 2013

Olympics, playoffs, Russians, hockey

What do Croatia, Germany and Denmark hockey players all have in common?

They're all going to watch Olympic games on TV. 

Robert Kristan standing firm for Slovenia against Denmark
Austria and Slovenia made an uproar and qualified to the Olympic hockey tournament in Socchi 2014! Beating "hockey" countries like Belarus, Ukraine and Denmark Slovenia qualified for the first time (since 1984 and OG in Sarajevo where they played as part of Yugoslavia), while Austria took a point from Germany with a goal in last minute to tie the score.

Slovenian team trying to hug their goalie all at once for stellar performance
at OGQ tournament. Photo by iihf.com
What do Austria and Slovenia have in common? Well, its a similarity at least. Almost all players from Austria play in the local/regional EBEL league, but almost all players from Slovenia play abroad. And they're mostly out of a single, and world-known, hockey school. A school where Anže Kopitar was made, on a sunny side of Alps in Jesenice.

So, in a league where Vanek stayed with his folks in a village in Austria (Graz) and scored like 15 points in 11 games. A bit less then he managed to do in his dozen or so games of a shortened NHL season. Yikes, EBEL is better league than NHL!

Btw. three countries with teams playing in EBEL are going to Olympic games. Only two countries with teams playing in NHL are going to Olympic games. Do the math! I know I did.

So, Sammy Gagner said congrats to his Austrian Eskimo brothers:
Also, Andy Chiodo, his former teammate and two times draftee commented the same. He discovered twitter as well recently. Coincidence? I think not.

Though, somehow I think Gagner's tweet went to a broader audience. But we're all praying that finally this is the year Oilers and Sammy go to playoffs. If not, he'll always have the Alps.

Anže Kopitar was also proud on his baby bro and his papy who pulled Slovenia to the first Olympic Games tournament in history. No one understood what he wrote though. Well, his teammates in Slo did. Maybe. Not sure.
He did say though that he's playing in Socchi 2014. Take that NHL.

"This is a miracle," Slovenia head coach Matjaz Kopitar, father of the Los Angeles Kings Anze Kopitar, was quoted as saying afterwards. "A great success, not only for our sport, but for our nation."

http://instagram.com/p/VmrMGWrOc1/ This picture sums it all up.

What else? Oh yeah, they have to brothers actually named Rodman. Cool right? And their brightest stars is a young trio that emerged from Jesenice school Sabolič - Tičar - Jeglič, twenty something kids playing in DEL and Allsvenskan. Going to Olympic games. Good luck boys!

Dustin Jeffrey is doing some graveyard shifts in NHL. And he was a star in Europe. Just like Muršak. Hope Jan gets better though and starts playing again like he knows he can.

Russians are coming

Ergo Arena in Gdansk
Or are they? Poland nominated Gdansk for KHL team. Their idea of a KHL team is a road show that'll be based in Gdansk but will tour around Poland in order to promote hockey. 

Seriously? Who comes up with ideas like those? 

In other news: Russians plan to have Milano in for 13/14 and by 14/15 another Swiss based team. That would sum up to 28 teams, with one spot open for either a Croatian team and Polish team, or someone else with money. 

Two cups one league 

But there's still playoffs to be played in EBEL league before Russians arrive (if?). EBEL has a really silly intermission round system worked in a way to give bottom teams a chance to qualify for playoffs while doing jack shit all season. Also gives chance to Red Bull Salzburg to dress a 28th foreign (transfer card) player this season. A frenchie. Yikes, seriously guys?

Vienna continues to dominate, and are now a team most would bet to win championship. Two cups one league? Yes, thats EBEL. Vienna will miss their star D-man, Dan Bjornlie who's out with a season ending concussion.

Trade deadline doesn't end by 15th so we'll see if they'll bring a substitute by then.

Bears from Zagreb, who are declining in this intermission round, got a new goal scorer, Roman Tomas from Slovakian team Poprad is supposed to arrive to Zagreb tomorrow and join the team for the away game in Vienna. Live video will be at www.medvescakizbliza.com under STREAM. Hopefully we'll have a good game to watch. Its about time.

Geoff Waugh might return to roster after a month long absence due to concussion.

Clayton Stoner still didn't reply to a few questions, but its okay, he's busy in NHL. Hopefully he'll do it soon and we'll have something to read about.