Slovak Extra League Review

By Daniel Kysel

Although Slovak Extra League (Extraliga) has finished more than one
month ago, I would like to mention several facts about the league and
their players.
Slovak champion is HKM Zvolen when defeated Dukla Trencin 3 : 1 in
playoff games.

Stats of selected players:

P.Rybar      Regular season   55 GP   3320 min.   2.00 GAA   .927 SAV
             Playoffs          4 GP    248 min.   3.00 GAA   .878 SAV

Name                             GP     G    A   Pts   +/-   PIM
J.Plch       Regular season      53    35   44    79   +59    38
             Playoffs            10     5    5    10   +4      4
R.Sechny     R.s.                53    24   46    70   +27    64
             P.                  10     9   10    19   +14    10
P.Fabus      R.s.                52    31   22    53   +13    94
             P.                  14     4    6    10   +4     60
T.Surovy     R.s.                53    22   28    50   +3     30
             P.                   6     2    1     3   +2      4
R.Pukalovic  R.s.                51    15   35    50   +45    20
             P.                  10     3    3     6   +2      6
Z.Ciger      R.s.                53    17   32    49   +17    22
             P.                   8     6    3     9   +4     16
L.Sabol      R.s.                48    24   20    44   -2     18
             P.                   3     1    1     2   +1      0
M.Kulha      R.s.                47    23   12    35   -4     58
             P.                   8     3    4     7   +2      4
T.Nadasdi    R.s.                42     5    9    14   -10   120
             P.                   3     0    2     2   +2      2
J.Tabacek    R.s.                44     8    5    13   -18    62
             P.                   3     1    2     3   -2      0

Pavol Rybar (G, 12/10/71, 5’11” 186 lb, Slovan) leading goalie of the
league and goalie of national team. Quick reflexes, solid use of both
hands but terrible use of his stick and goes down on ice too often. He
was shaded by Rovnianek, Simonovic and Murin in the playoffs.
Fortunately Slovak leagues offer solid young prospects who could replace
him on national team within few years e.g. Kostur (80), Krizan (80),
Hala (79), Pisar (81).

Robert Pukalovic
(D, 28/10/66, 6’2″ 195 lb, Zvolen) Slovak Ray Bourque,
still very valuable team player and big shooter.

Jan Plch
(RW, 16/08/74, 5’11” 178 lb, Zvolen) leading scorer of regular
season. Good and speed skater, excellent puckhandler, natural scorer.
Big prospect for European top leagues (Czech, Swedish, Finnish) but not
the NHL caliber. He does not like too physical games.

Richard Sechny
(C, 19/10/71, 6’5″ 230 lb, Zvolen) second best scorer of
regular season and top scorer of playoffs. Richard dominated in the
league, especially in the playoffs. Solid skater for his size, soft
hands, excellent passer, uses his long reach to his advantage. In spite
of his excellent size Richard prefers technical style and that is why do
not expect to see him in North America.

Zdeno Ciger
(W/C, 19/10/69, 6’1″ 185 lb, Slovan) Many people expected
that captain Slovan would lead his team to the Slovak championship but
Slovan was blown out by Trencin in semi-finals. Zdeno miss leader’s
ability and is not a strong personality. In spite of above said, Zdeno
is still able to play on NHL. He is not far to sign a contract with

Young guns

The best rookie of the league was Tomas Surovy in my opinion. I
mentioned him as well as other juniors on Extraliga in my previous
articles. Now some facts about the other ones, over-aged prospects.

Peter Fabus
(C/W, 15/07/79, 6’1″ 195 lb, Trencin) – very good selection
of Phoenix in last year draft. Excellent progress. He captained Trencin
to the finals. Hard working player with good scoring ability. Valuable
in the power plays and effective penalty killer, strong forechecker. He
lifts teammates with his style of play, good hockey sense and very good
attitude and work ethic. He might skate in the NHL shortly.

Martin Kulha
(C/W, 07/08/76, 6’2″ 193 lb, Slovan/Poprad) Though his
stats are not such amazing he is very valuable forward. Good size and
strength, strong on his skates, good attitude. Martin works hard around
the net, is aggressive to the puck and plays well without the puck. I
like he works hard all the time. He played pretty well on national team
and scored important goals but was not nominated on world championship.

Tomas Nadasdi
(D, 14/05/80, 6’0″ 189 lb, Kosice) Bronze medallist from
WJC in Winnipeg two years ago. He added some pounds and plays more
physical style. Tomas is good skater with speed and balance, reads the
play well, passes puck up to forwards quickly. He is effective on
powerplays, has hard and accurate slapshot. From time to time he plays
too sophisticated (European) style. However he played simple style on
national team and belonged to best players.

Jan Tabacek
(D, 07/04/80, 6’0″ 170 lb, Martin) Amazing skater with
killing speed and acceleration. By the way he is a winner of speed
competition during all-star exhibition. Jan is offensive defenseman,
able to play as winger. Big and accurate shooter, very good hockey
sense, good work ethic. He needs to add some muscles to be more
aggressive around his net. He played several excellent games on national
team as well.

Lubomir Sabol
(C, 11/04/80, 5’11” 182 lb, Kosice) Almost nobody knew him
in last October. He did not play either one game on senior league before
this season. Lubo was a leading scorer of the league in the mid-season.
Lately he slowed down but still pretty good rookie season. He is gifted
scorer, handles the puck well, good understanding of the game, quick
hands and release. He needs to work on his strength and balance. Solid
penalty killer and is productive on the power-play.