Sunday, April 08, 2012

Hop On Board the Brno Bandwagon

So if you're like me (and who isn't) you're a bit adrift as we enter these NHL playoffs. The Avalanche fell just short, the Thrashers apparently got lost in a snowstorm or something because I can't find them in the standings. I've latched on to a couple teams (the Blues -- my team as a youth -- and the Predators, because go Southern hockey plus they have a bunch of Slavs) but that's more along the lines of "it'd be cool if they won" as opposed to rabid frothing support.

Fortunately, friends, there's another option. The Czech Extraliga hockey final begins tomorrow, and it pits the PPA-supported HC Kometa Brno against Pardubice. Kometa -- for those who have forgotten -- are just a few years back in the top league (after, um, buying their way back in). The top club in the league in the 1950s and 1960s, they won their last title in 1966, fell on hard times in the 1980s and slipped into the lower leagues for quite a while. Imagine if, in addition to all their other problems, the Toronto Maple Leafs had to go down to the AHL for a few years. (Actually, don't imagine that, because it's hilarious and subtracts from the gravity here.)

Kometa's a good club for Avalanche fans to get behind, based on me supporting them. (And if you ignore that Pardubice is Milan Hejduk's old club.) So starting tomorrow, forget the Stanley Cup playoffs -- turn your attentions to the Czech Republic's second city!

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I've been remiss in Tomáš Klouček updates this season. I've been following, though. He signed on to the KHL's new Slovakian entry, HC Lev Poprad, at the start of the year. But he found himself a healthy scratch pretty often (the team ended up toward the bottom of the KHL, which shows what happens when you don't use Klouček right) and he was cut loose in a more general bloodletting at the end of 2011. Fortunately, Czech team HC Třinec recognized an opportunity and scooped him up -- he rewarded them with a goal in his first game (and down the line, 35 penalty minutes in a five-game playoff series). He ended up with five points for the season (all with Třinec) and will become a free agent again this summer. Meanwhile, I'm expecting at least some reshuffling on the Avalanche's blueline. I see a convergence of my interests coming.

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