Slovak Hockey Update

By Daniel Kysel

End of Regular Season 1999-2000

Slovak Elite (West Extraliga)

The Slovak Elite (Extraliga) regular season is now over and we now know which teams have
play-off berths, which team has been demoted as well as what new team will be in the
Extraliga for next season.

Please find below basic data of Extraliga:


Standings
Team GP W L T Scores Pts
Slovan Bratislava 56 34 15 7 233:133 75
HKm Zvolen 56 31 16 9 219:161 71
SKP Poprad 56 29 19 8 182:162 66
Dukla Trencin 56 27 20 9 207:151 63
HK36 Skalica 56 23 22 11 159:175 57
HK32 L. Mikulas 56 20 20 16 157:184 56
HC Kosice 56 12 33 11 142:235 35
HK VTJ S. N. Ves 56 9 40 7 114:221 25


STATISTICS (after 56 games)

Leading scorers
Name, year of birth, team GP G A Pts +/- PIM
1 Vlastimil Plavucha (68), Zvolen 54 43 29 72 +44 76
2 Zdeno Ciger (69), Bratislava 51 23 39 62 +29 48
3 Arne Krotak (72), Poprad 56 33 28 61 +25 64
4 Richard Sechny (71), Zvolen 49 24 31 55 +29 48
5 Jan Plch (74), Poprad 56 24 31 55 +27 36
6 Petr Vlk (64), L.Mikulas 55 15 40 55 +3 62
7 Lubomir Kolnik (68), Bratislava 55 28 24 52 +35 30
8 Lubomir Hurtaj (75), Trencin 56 25 27 52 +33 18
9 Vasilij Pankov (68), Bratislava 55 22 30 52 +45 48
10 Jan Lipiansky (74), Bratislava 46 30 21 51 +39 18

Leading scorers - defencemen
Name, year of birth, team GP G A Pts +/- PIM
1 Lubomir Visnovsky (76), Bratislava 52 21 24 45 +64 38
2 Robert Pukalovic (60), Zvolen 48 7 30 37 +25 18
3 Richard Pavlikovsky (75), Trencin 51 16 15 31 +26 36

Leading goalies
Name, year of birth, team GP Min. Shots GA GAA Perc.
1 Igor Murin (73), Trencin 53 3031 1558 128 2,53 91,78%
2 Radovan Biegl (69), Bratislava 46 2591 1106 92 2,13 91,68%
3 Miro Simonovic (74), Poprad 52 3047 1715 145 2,86 91,55%
4 Rasto Rovnianek (69), Zvolen 45 2376 1137 101 2,55 91,12%
5 Miro Lipovsky (76), Skalica 54 2965 1631 144 2,91 91,17%

Plus/Minus Leaders
Name, year of birth, team GP G A Pts +/- PIM
1 Lubomir Visnovsky (76), Bratislava 52 21 24 45 +64 38
2 Daniel Babka (72), Bratislava 54 4 8 12 +51 40
3 Vasilij Pankov (68), Bratislava 55 22 30 52 +45 48
Vlastimil Plavucha (68), Zvolen 54 43 29 72 +44 76
Jan Lipiansky (74), Bratislava 46 30 21 51 +39 18

Vlasto Plavucha ended the season as the leagues top scorer with 72 points.
Top goalies were Rado Biegl and Igor Murin. Lubo Visnovsky leads all D-men in scoring and dominated the +/- category with a +64 rating.
Zdeno Ciger and Lubo Visnovsky are the best players of the Extraliga in my opinion. You can find
several foreign players among above players as well. Biegl and Vlk are Czechs, and Pankov
is Belorussian.


Stats of selected juniors

Goalies
Name, year of birth, team GP Min. Shots GA GAA Perc.
Peter Hamerlik (82), Skalica 7 286 153 16 3,36 89,54%
Matus Kostur (80), Zvolen 20 768 321 36 2,81 88,79%
Karol Krizan (80), L. Mikulas 54 3032 1659 151 2,99 90,90%

Defencemen and forwards
Name, year of birth, position, team GP G A Pts +/- PIM
Dusan Devecka (80), RD, L. Mikulas 49 0 0 0 -18 18
Stefan Fabian (81), LD, Kosice 40 1 3 4 -22 12
Boris Flamik (80), RD, Skalica 31 0 0 0 -9 16
Tomas Frolo (82), D, Zvolen 2 0 0 0 0 0
Marian Gaborik (82), LW, Trencin 50 25 21 46 +1 34
Ladislav Harabin (80), LD, Poprad 41 1 7 8 -7 44
Lukas Hvila (81), W, Poprad 7 1 0 1 -1 10
Pavol Hruby (81), C-W, S.N.Ves 15 0 0 0 -8 8
Jaroslav Jabrocky (80), RW, Poprad 34 4 7 11 -11 8
Peter Jasik (80), RW, Trencin 24 3 2 5 -1 0
Marek Kolba (80), LD, Poprad 43 4 9 13 +6 30
Tomas Kopecky (82), C, Trencin 52 3 4 7 -8 24
Peter Kristian (80), W, S.N.Ves 27 3 0 3 -15 2
Branko Mamic (80), D, L.Mikulas 5 0 0 0 +2 4
Tomas Nadazdi (80), LD, S.N.Ves 42 1 7 8 -26 14
Juraj Podhradsky (81), F, Trencin 7 0 0 0 -2 2
Samuel Polomsky (80), C, S.N.Ves 32 3 2 5 -18 18
Michal Ruzicka (81), LW, Skalica 6 0 0 0 0 2
Gabriel Spilar (80), C, Kosice 44 10 6 16 -29 8
Tomas Starosta (81), RD, Trencin 35 0 0 0 -15 8
Marek Svatos (82), F, Kosice 19 2 2 4 -7 0
Roman Tomas (80), C-W, Poprad 18 3 6 9 +6 4
Vladimir Urban (80), LD, L.Mikulas 27 2 0 2 -16 16
Alexander Valentin (81), D, Kosice 21 0 2 2 -8 6
Lubos Velebny (82), D, Zvolen 7 0 0 0 0 0
Martin Zajac (81), LD, Trencin 18 0 0 0 -3 0

Commentary on the junior players

Zvolen

Matus Kostur is a solid goalie prospect for Slovak Extraliga and maybe for other European Elites but he is far from NHL caliber. Due to the injury of the teams #1 goalie he saw much more ice time than in the beginning of season. His performances had progressive tendency and he satisfied his coach as well as the fans. By the way, he recorded an admirable 175 minutes without allowing a goal.

Defensemen Lubos Velebny (CSB #47 in European ranking) and Tomas Frolo (CSB #53 in Euro) are gifted kids but they played only several shifts in 7 and/or 2 games only.

Bratislava

Unfortunately this team ignores youngsters. No junior played on the senior team this season. In the last three seasons only one junior – Peter Podhradsky – has found a regular spot in lineup.

Poprad

Ladislav Harabin was extremely talented kid at age 17, he was very talented at 18, he is talented at 19. But what will be in the next season? After WC U20 he lost a regular spot on his team. He is tough and aggressive player and loves physical game. He is still good prospect but the expectations on him were much higher. His progress changed on stagnation.

Marek Kolba was ranked (as Harabin) on the CSB list two years ago. I do not expect to see his name in the NHL draft but he might follow Peter Podhradsky who plays on national team yet after excellent performances on the U20 national team last season. Marek uses his body very well and has an accurate shot from the point.

Jaro Jabrocky and Roman Tomas proved they are gifted offensive forwards who are able to shine on Extraliga in next years. Both have potential to collect a lot of points.

Trencin

Trencin is the best supplier of players for the NHL from Slovakia and this year is no exception.

Marian Gaborik “Brambor” (his nickname) is a BIG TIME PROSPECT (CSB #2 in Euro). He is a pretty good skater with amazing acceleration and quickness, very aggressive on both ends, very impressive stickhandler with good shot, excellent desire, attitude and work ethic, and many other assets. Comparing him to Marian Hossa at age 18, he is the same or better in every aspect. However Hossa was better in one thing – scoring ability. It looks like Gaborik needs a lot of chances to score the goal. I believe he will be the first #1 from Slovakia in NHL draft ever. If not, never mind he will play in the NHL next season at any rate.

Tomas Kopecky (CSB #11 in Euro) is the other very gifted kid with good size from Trencin. Tomas is a good skater for his size, and a good team player who is willing to learn. Although Pre-season CSB ranking did not know his name I have mentioned him in my article on HF in October yet. His ice time was limited at the end of season due to below reason. However Tomas has played his first senior season while Gaborik is in his third one. I guess next season will say much more about Tomas’ talent if he stays on Extraliga. Or on major junior?

Peter Jasik started pretty well but after the return of experienced players from the injury list he was sent back to the junior leagues. Lately he played on Division 1 as well.
Other forward Juraj Podhradsky played only a few games and his time should come next season.

Tomas Starosta is a very good defenseman who can play offensive as well as defensive play. Tomas is a good skater. He passes well and plays his position very well. However Trencin’s roster included 9 solid D-men and he did not see enough ice time – unfortunately.

Martin Zajac (CSB #51 in Euro) is a big muscled defenseman. He uses his body well and moves the man without taking a lot of penalties. He came to Trencin from Nitra (Division 1). I do not know what was better for him. He was their key player and saw plenty of ice time on Nitra’s team while he played very irregularly on Trencin.

Skalica

Coach of Skalica Dusan Ziska was head coach of national team U20 but he omits junior players on his own team. It sounds like a joke but it is true. Note: Ziska was fired at the end of regular season.

Yes, I agree Peter Hamerlik (CSB #1 goalie in Euro) is a rare talent among European junior goalies but I do not think he is a first round selection. His performances has not been real steady.
He changes excellent days with foolish ones e.g. Viking Cup, games on Extraliga. I cannot imagine him being a #1 goalie on Skalica’s senior team. While Krizan at the same age was #1 on his team and his teammates could rely on him in every situation. Peter is just not that type of goalie. In spite of the above mentioned, Peter is a really big prospect with the potential to play in the NHL within 4-5 years.

Boris Flamik got a chance only due to injured D-men after Christmas break. From that point he supported the first line. Good step into senior hockey for the rookie.

One of the top snipers of the junior league Michal Ruzicka has played only a few games. He has potential to score tons of goals.

Liptovsky Mikulas

Karol Krizan is my favorite player. He has played behind weak defenses but his stats are pretty good. By the way LM has missed three experienced D-men (due to injuries) and played with 3 – 4 defensemen in many games. I cannot understand why he is overlooked by scouts. Of course I can imagine their reaction: “he is small, his style is not good, etc.” I know his performances are not excellent in each game but you cannot have too big expectation from 19 year old goalie. Believe me Karol was born for the NHL. His only weakness is he had to feel he is a #1 goalie on the team. In order he was drafted, Karol needs to prove his qualities on the national (junior or senior) team as well.

Vladimir Urban had a good start this season and played on U20 national team as well. He is strong on his skates and controls the front of his own net. Many people looked forward to see his progress on Extraliga. Unfortunately he suffered a knee injury (meniscus) in the first game after his return from WC U20 and the season was over for him.

Dusan Devecka was ranked by CSB two years ago. He is solid defenseman for Slovak hockey but not NHL caliber.

Branko Mamic was the first Yugoslav player in the Slovak leagues ever.

Kosice

Kosice’s team was one of the best ones in former Czecho-Slovak and later in Slovak leagues from mid-80th. Present situation is much worse. Many experienced players left and that is why a lot of youngsters played on the team this season.

Gabriel Spilar had a shy start of season and played dully. From the mid-season he played much better and coach gave a chance him to skate on the first line. He came on strong near the end of season on Extraliga. Spilar with Gaborik, Kopecky and Krizan were the most exciting juniors at the end of season.

Marek Svatos is a very gifted small winger with potential to score a lot of goals. He has good acceleration, quickness and a solid wrist and slapshot. It looked like he has found a regular spot on the senior team but he suffered shoulder separation in February and was lost for the season.

Stefan Fabian found a regular spot in weak Kosice’s defense. He is a player with good hockey sense but he is too small for North American hockey.

Alex Valentin is not tall but is a strong muscled defenseman. He was ranked by CSB last year. He plays a good defensive style without taking penalties. Lately he has not played regularly.

Spisska Nova Ves

Samuel Polomsky had a good start of the season. After 13 games he collected 3 goals and 2 assists. From that time on he has not scored and has definitely faded.

Tomas Nadazdi is a smooth skater and good passer but he would need to be more aggressive in front of his own net and in the corners. He needs more muscles and weight. In spite of this Tomas was one of the best defensemen on his team. He missed the last 8 games due to ankle injury.

Peter Kristian is a solid forward as well as is Pavol Hruby but both played irregularly.

Two youngsters playing abroad


Name, year of birth, position, team GP G A Pts +/- PIM
Jan Homer (80), D, Zlin (Czech Elite) 26 1 6 7 +5 N/A
Andrej Nedorost (80), RW, Essen (German Elite) 50 3 3 6 -14 26

Jan Homer is a very hopeful defenseman. He has begun the season on Czech Division 1 but later he played regularly on the top Czech team (second-leading team after regular season).

Andrej Nedorost plays on the worst team of German Elite (DEL). He could not show his talent on that team. Andrej had a good offer from Trencin’s general manager in September. Maybe he regrets now that he did not skate on his mother’s team – Trencin.

Note:

Play-off games started on last Friday. Bratislava leads 2 : 0 (10:2, 2:0) against Trencin after two games. Poprad leads 1 : 0 (2:0) against Zvolen.

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