by Lisa Brown on 01/14/12 at 08:30 PM ET
For the 2011 NHL entry draft there were several sons of former Oilers available, and the concern of whether or not those players may be selected for their blood ties before their hockey skills appeared real enough. When it came to David Musil, son of Edmonton Oilers’ European scout Frank Musil, selected 31st overall, concerns were quickly set aside. Musil had been ranked anywhere from 23 (The Hockey News) and 38 (CSS for N.A. skaters) and taking the defenceman at 31 was reasonable.
Musil who currently plays in the WHL for Don Hay and the Vancouver Giants was born in Canada but raised in the Czech Republic. And so, when it came to the 2012 IIHF World Juniors, Musil played for the Czech Republic team.
While playing their preliminary round in Edmonton, the Czechs convincingly beat Denmark 7-0 and the USA 5-2 but were shutout by Canada 5-0 and Finland 4-0. And so, the Czech Republic would take on Team Russia in the quarterfinals.
The Czechs nearly beat Russia, but fell 2-1 in overtime to the 2011 tournament champions. That loss would haunt the players through their final game. They were so close to playing for a medal, and yet so far.
For Musil, a fierce competitor the loss was especially hard. The frustration of the loss was in every response Musil gave following the loss, and stuck with him through the team’s win over Slovakia two days later. Perhaps a cut at Musil’s seriousness and competitiveness, teammate Dominik Uher tried to lighten the feelings of frustration following the win over Slovakia.
For Musil, the biggest takeaways from this tournament came through working with former NHL defenceman and current director of player development for the Detroit Red Wings, Jiří Fischer. Fischer was assistant coach for Team Czech Republic and the one who addressed the media following every game.
Fischer, 31, whose career was cut short due to an episode of cardiac arrest in a game in 2005 would be a great source of inspiration and instruction based solely on his own personal experiences, but add to that the fact that Fischer leads the development of the Detroit Red Wings prospects, and you have a mentor whose every moment of instruction is priceless to every player hoping to take their game to the next level.
Fischer had an excellent opportunity to observe Musil’s game and was happy to comment on what he saw through the World Juniors Tournament. “Dave has been, besides missing the one game because of headaches and dizziness [when] he got hit against USA and wasn’t able to get into the lineup against Finland, he’s very steady.
“He’s great with the puck in the defensive zone he doesn’t make mistakes. He’s very hard to play against one on one down low. He clears the net front very well. He’s not afraid to block shots on the pk and he’s a big reason why our pk did a decent job this tournament.”
At the tournament, Musil didn’t find a goal or an assist, but did finish at an impressive +5 through five games, making Musil 22nd at the tournament for plus minus rankings.
With the Vancouver Giants, Musil is on pace to earn as many points as last season, 25. Although these numbers are less than Musil’s first year with the giants, this can be attributed to the situations where Musil is playing. If Musil continues his development the way it has begun, he will be a strong shut down defenceman and has the competitive attitude to go along with it.
Musil will not be playing for the Oilers next season, but this prospect will continue to be of interest to the Oilers and their fans, especially given the teams’ current situation and state of the defensive core.
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Lisa McRitchie is a fairly new writer, online at least, but makes up for inexperience with passion for the game of hockey and memories of Mrs. Leskiw’s English AP class; who knew they would pay off one day.
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