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News and Notes from Europe

Hello readers,

I hope everyone is enjoying the hockey season and are gearing up for the upcoming holiday season! Remember the holidays mean the World Junior Hockey Championships are just around the corner, beginning on Boxing Day!

Now, some news and notes from various European leagues.

On the subject of the World Juniors, Team Sweden is hoping that the Edmonton Oilers will release Magnus Paajarvi-Svensson for the tournament. The Swedish rookie has collected 9 points in 25 games this year, while currently riding a three game point streak. However, the Oilers have already stated that they have no plans for releasing the talented winger for the tournament. On the bright side for Sweden, they do have the Ottawa Senators blue chip goalie prospect; Robin Lehner on their training camp roster, as well as the Phoenix Coyotes young defensive phenom; Oliver Ekman-Larsson.

Owen Nolan is enjoying much success playing in for the ZCS Lions in Switzerland’s National League A. Although Nolan has only signed a temporary contract, due to his hope of returning to the NHL at some point this season, he has shown that he still has a scoring touch, with 14 points in 12 games for the perennial Swiss league powerhouse.

Speaking of former NHLer’s who are eager to return to North America, Miroslav Satan has also signed another temporary contract in Europe. Satan re-signed with HC Slovan Bratislava, where he currently has 9 points in 4 games. Satan is hoping to sign another mid-season contract in the NHL, similar to his stay with the Boston Bruins last year. However despite rumours that the Montreal Canadiens had an interest in Satan, as of yet, the “Dark One” has yet to find a suitor in the NHL.

Former Nashville Predator; Alexander Radulov continues to dominate the KHL scoring race with 47 points in 32 games for Salavat Ufa. That is 11 more points more than the next highest scorer, teammate and former Oiler and Philadelphia Flyer; Patrick Thoresen, who has 36 points in as many games for Ufa, who currently sit in second place in the KHL’s Eastern Conference.

Speaking of former NHLer’s in Europe, Evgeni Nabokov continues to struggle statistically, while tending the crease for SKA. Nabokov has a 2.80 GAA and a .895 save percentage in 20 games, compared to teammate Jakub Stepanek’s 2.22 GAA and .921 save percentage in 15 games. Stepanek was a standout goalie in the Czech league last year and despite making their 2010 Olympic hockey team, he has never been drafted by an NHL team.

Filed in: Non-NHL Hockey, International Hockey, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: alexander+radulov, boston+bruins, edmonton+oilers, evgeni+nabokov, jakub+stepanek, magnus+paajarvi-svensson, miroslav+satan, montreal+canadiens, nashville+predators, oliver+ekman-larsson, ottawa+senators, owen+nolan, patrick+thoresen, philadelphia+flyers, phoenix+coyotes, robin+lehner

Comments

Primis's avatar

Phil -

THN had a blurb about the DEL’s state, and that it’s in very bad shape.  Could we get a post on it?  It’d be sad if the DEL goes away…

Posted by Primis on 12/05/10 at 08:45 PM ET

Avatar

Primis,

For sure!
The DEL is a great league and player development in Germany is really on the upswing with Uwe Krupp at the helm.
So many European leagues are struggling financially.
Hopefully the global economy turns around soon.
I’ll look more into it this weekend and create a post.

Posted by Phil Davies from Ontario, Canada on 12/09/10 at 10:50 AM ET

german_wing's avatar

hi guys,

just wanted to give you some infos on the del since i’m following the league since ‘95.

first of all, krupp and the del couldn’t be farther apart. he’s the national team coach (deb), and he’s struggling to get enough talented players for all the national team stuff besides the world cup. bruins won’t let seguin go to the junior world cup? well, that’s what happens most of the time in our league - either the schedules of the league and the deb/iihf collide or the teams won’t give their players leave so they can play or train with the national team.
so the development of the del don’t have to do anything with krupp. but it’s true that the national team does a loot of good things for our young players!
more and more teams now play young germans instead of more expensive couldn’t-make-it-in-the-ahl players who are mercenaries at best ... so let’s hope that trend continues, eh?

secondly, the financial struggles of the european leagues have little to nothing to do with the economic situation around the globe. at least in germany - just take a look at the del’s history and see how many teams simply died (because of bankruptcy) or had to give their licenses away. it’s been like that ever since the del started, and sadly enough, it was worse before ‘94.

hockey’s so small in germany, it simply doesn’t make sense to invest a lot in your team or to let it play in a huge arena. not coincidently, the only teams not losing money are the real small ones (straubing, iserlohn, augsburg) that usually don’t go far in the playoffs.

hamburg and berlin only survive because of billions of anschutz money. hannover won the championship last year and it actually looked like the team couldn’t start the next season because of money issues. the second-league team in hannover has more people coming to their games (for years) than the first-league champions!

mannheim’s safe, too, they got sap (one of the biggest software corporations in the world) backing them up, together with a first-league handball team and a bundesliga soccer club.

frankfurt, my team, tried to get bigger and more professional in small steps - but they ceased to exist after last season because one big sponsor jumped ship and they lacked about 2 million euro to be allowed/able to continue playing in the del.

the teams that invested in huge multi-functional arenas without the financial insurance of the anschutz group or sap (cologne, düsseldorf, krefeld) are struggling mightily to pay all the bills and live in constant fear of some investor or the other jumping boat, which usually spells the end for a club here.

hockey clubs in germany are usually financed by private people who have the money - but neither the knowledge (let alone the passion!) about hockey. so once “their” team starts to suck constantly, the revenues go down, they’re out. simple as that.

wolfsburg plays amazing hockey with a low budget for a couple of years, but still volkswagen decided not to sponsor them anymore and instead concentrated only on giving millions to wolfsburg’s soccer club. hell, there’s not even 2.000 (!) people watching a wolfsburg grizzlies game on a regular basis. yea, in the arena. if that ain’t sad, i don’t know what is

there will always be professional hockey in germany, but right now it looks like there’s another bubble about to burst. it happened in the beginning of the 90s, before the del was created, and the way things are going, we’re facing another major explosion ... or rather implosion.

funny enough that wade dubielewicz and manny legace chose this season to come over. have fun guys, as long as you can!

Posted by german_wing from Toronto, Canada on 12/10/10 at 04:32 PM ET

Avatar

Thanks a lot german-wing, for your incredibly in-depth post.
It is unfortunate that the league is constantly struggling.
By the sounds of it, it is surprising that some teams can keep a consistent roster from year to year. I guess if investors are hard to come by, then so is revenue and exposure.
Thanks again for the very interesting post!

Posted by Phil Davies from Ontario, Canada on 12/12/10 at 03:32 PM ET

german_wing's avatar

you’re welcome smile

i wish there was some kind of consistency regarding the rosters, most teams start a new season with at least 10-15 new players. the “rich” teams in the league manage to keep their rosters together and just exchange a few role players - but in augsburg, for example, you’re gonna see a whole new team on the ice every year.

the wc 2010 in germany really, really helped hockey’s status in our country. but then, the del had a circus show in the offseason, a lot of lawsuits between them and the kassel team about being allowed to play in the league or not ... and so, revenue is down to the same level as it was before, and media exposure has been very negative if it occured.

sigh again ... wink

Posted by german_wing from Toronto, Canada on 12/13/10 at 01:54 PM ET

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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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