There is a lot of ground to cover in today’s European Updates. The Extraliga as well as HC Lev Praha has remained important for this week, but today, something special happened – news broke that Claude Giroux has been thinking about signing with HC Rytiri Kladno.
Let’s start from the beginning. Tuukka Rask came to HC Skoda Plzen. The Boston Bruins goaltender signed with Plzen last week and played his first game against struggling Sparta. It wasn’t an easy match for Rask’s new team. They were leading 4-1 when David Koci and Ryan Hollweg started to fight. (You can watch that here). Sparta came back and made it a one goal game but was unable to tie the match.
Rask is the third goalie in the Extraliga (Ondrej Pavelec is playing for HC Bili Tygri Liberec and Michael Neuvirth is playing for HC Sparta Praha) but is the only one who won the game for his club. Pavelec is struggling and was a healthy scratch during some games, and Neuvirth’s Sparta is struggling as a unit. They are last in the Extraliga.
Today there could be another fight between former Atlanta Thrasher Boris Valabik (who is infamous for Sidney Crosby’s back attack) and Ryan Hollweg again. Czech media thought that Hollweg is an enforcer, but, from my point of view (and also from Valabik’s view, too), he’s more an agitator than a real enforcer.
Roman Cervenka, maybe the best player outside the NHL, had 8 points after 4 games in the Extraliga and it was only a matter of time until Lev made an offer. Cervenka doesn’t want to betray “his” Slavia (he went to Omsk and, before the lockout, he signed with the Calgary Flames) and start playing for the newcomer of the KHL. But it’s obvious that he’s on a different level than other Extraliga players. Moreover, his contract is going to expire in the middle of October. Nevertheless, KHL doesn’t allow more than three players from the NHL.
Jiri Hudler (only one assist during four games) could be the first odd man out because of his injury and lack of success with the Prague team. HC Lev also rejected Claude Giroux, which is not understandable on the first sight and also on the second sight. But they are frontloaded with forwards and they are in need of some defenseman. That’s why they want Zdeno Chara,who is supposed to play for HC Lev in the next couple of days. Also, Kris Letang had some talks with Lev, but he chose to stay in the US for personal reasons.
You can watch some of HC Lev’s games on ESPN – 10/6, 11:30 EST against St. Petersburg (with Sergei Bobrovsky) and 10/9, 13:00 EST with Dynamo Moscow.
After the HC Lev’s snub, Giroux is in serious talks with Jaromir Jagr’s Kladno. Firstly, Jagr joked that Plekanec doesn’t want to play and the team wants some additions. But then he told the reporter that he advised Giroux to go to the KHL to make some money, but the door is always open for him to join Kladno. Jagr also added that Giroux has been waiting for a Canadian friend with whom he can go to the KHL. If not, he could come to Kladno.
Lastly, Jagr was asked about Giroux and the money. He replied that money is not the problem for Claude. He knows that Kladno can’t afford to pay him like teams from the KHL can, and that is not an issue for him.