Kukla's Korner Hockey
by Phil Davies on 10/24/10 at 01:36 PM ET
This week I will take a look at some former NHL players now playing in various European leagues. With the implementation of the salary cap, the average NHL players’ career is now ending when they hit their mid-thirties, as GM’s round out their roster with younger, less expensive options. This recent trend has led to an influx of big name players, such as Pavol Demitra and Evgeni Nabokov, heading overseas for better contracts and a chance to lengthen their career. Do most of these players repeat their NHL success overseas or are they clearly at the twilight of their careers?
Hasek was signed last summer after leading HC Pardubice to the Czech Extraliga championship. However, Hasek has struggled this year with a 4-10 record, a 2.80 GAA and a .898 save percentage as Spartak currently sit 18th out of 23 KHL teams.
Demitra has 3 goals and 15 assists in 16 games for Yaroslavl, who currently sit in 11th place overall However, Pavol is in tenth place in the scoring race, while also supplying leadership and a strong two-way game for the KHL club.
Ozolins hockey career seemed to be virtually over in 2007, when injuries and personal problems seemed to get the best of him. However, Ozolins has revived his career in the KHL, where he leads all defenceman in points with 19 points in 19 games.
Like Hasek, Nabokov was brought in under much fanfare in the hopes of turning his struggling KHL team around. However, also like Hasek, Evgeni and his team have struggled to a 4-6 record under his watch as they currently sit in 14th place in the overall standings. If SKA hope to move up, Nabokov will have to improve on his 3.09 GAA and
.898 save percentage.
Metropolit has 15 points in 15 games for second place Zug of the Swiss National League A. Interestingly, the league’s leading scorer is former Detroit Red Wings and Minnesota Wild alumni; Stacy Roest, who has 26 points in 16 games for Rapperswil.
Straka is currently 3rd in scoring in the Czech Extraliga with 16 points in 12 games as Plzen have struggled to an 11th place spot in the overall standings. However, Straka contributes much more than just scoring and leadership for the team, as he has helped fund his hometown club during tough economic times for the Extraliga.
Filed in: Non-NHL Hockey, International Hockey, | KK Hockey | Permalink
Tags: detroit+red+wings, dominik+hasek, evgeni+nabokov, glen+metropolit, martin+straka, minnesota+wild, pavol+demitra, sandis+ozolins, stacy+roest
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Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.
From breaking news to in-depth stories around the league, KK Hockey is updated with fresh stories all day long and will bring you the latest news as quickly as possible.
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