Every day we read in the newspaper, or see on TV, some professional sports person getting an outrageous contract for playing his chosen sport. I agree that it seems out of line that somebody should be paid millions of dollars a year to play a kid’s game, while the majority of the work force has to grind out a living day in and day out.
As we hear about these sports/entertainment millionaires, we should remember that for every multi-million dollar contract there are thousands of players who are just making what we might consider a good living. With the help of Matt Bradley, I would like to take you on a journey. We will take a look at how this young man went from his first pair of skates in his backyard in Stittsville, Ontario, Canada, to a professional hockey contract with the San Jose Sharks.
Matt started skating at the age of 4. “I started on skates with 2 blades on each of them. I was pretty much just walking on the ice. That’s how both of my sisters, Cassie and Paula, and myself all learned how to skate. As I started to get a feel for the ice I moved to the one blade skates. I remember seeing pictures of how bent my ankles were. My ankles weren’t strong enough, but that’s how you have to learn. You start taking small steps, then you are walking around on the ice, eventually you glide a bit and then one day you suddenly start skating around.” As you can see Matt already had an interest in hockey. Read more»
On September, 7th, 2000, was the game over. On that day Czech star Jiri Dopita signed a two-year contract with HC Slovnaft Vsetin of the Czech Elite league. Good news for National team coach Josef Augusta, bad news for the Florida Panthers staff. The negotations lasted for four months, no conclusion. The Czech National team captain stays at home. Panthers assistant coach, Czech Slavomir Lener, knows what they have lost. Lener tried hard to change Dopita’s mind (he found a good school for Jiri’s son) and guaranteed him a roster spot. Not to say, it was the center position next to superstar Pavel Bure, the famed Russian sniper. Not every player would be able to support Pavel. Jiri would. A great leader, Jiri is a superb mix of size (6’4”, 210 lbs.) and skill. Nearly 32 years old, Jiri is a mature player with lots of experience, who could easily play 5-6 years in the NHL. Regarded as one of the top players not playing in the NHL, Jiri is excellent in playing in front the opponents net from where he scores a lot of goals. He is a feared checker, almost unable to be knocked off the puck, and is a king along the boards. Jiri, nicknamed “Dopi” uses his size well and is one of the strongest players in Europe. He can hold two opponents only with his arms. You can see, he is a power forward, but highly skilled. Posesses great passing skills, very good vision and is confident. Vsetin center has respect in the locker room, is a natural leader and leads by example. He simply seems always to see a way how to get the puck into the opponents net or how to make a great pass. Read more»
September 19, 2000
It took an exhibition game between a mediocre, depleted San Jose Sharks squad and the expansion Minnesota Wild to bring NHL Hockey to the Rose Garden in Portland, OR on Tuesday night. Portland hockey fans finally got to witness what has been dangled under their noses for the past 5 years; whether they have liked it or not. The 8,124 in attendance were treated to an entertaining contest despite the absence of many key Shark players and a Minnesota roster that more resembles that of an IHL team than a competitive NHL team. San Jose took the ice without notables such as Owen Nolan, Patrick Marleau, Gary Suter and Brad Stuart due to reasons ranging from contract squabbles to minor injuries.
Contract problems kept 22 year old Boston College graduate Mike Mottau
out of camp for the first few weeks, but since coming to camp on a tryout
agreement last week, Mottau has made a huge splash in only 2 games.
Although I did not get to see Mottau’s first preseason game, a 2-1 loss
to the Dallas Stars, I heard Mike played excellent in that game…even better
than in last night’s 8-2 loss against the Devils. If if Mottau played better
than he did last night in Dallas, I can’t wait to see what the future holds
for this potential Brian Leetch clone. Although Mottau is only 6’0 192, he
plays like he’s 5 inches taller and 20 pounds heavier. He is a great open ice
checker, and reminds me of Mike Peca a little bit. His offensive talent is
probably the best part of his game, as he impressed me on the power play last
night. He made quick tape to tape passes in the offensive zone, and read the
play very well. He knew where to be at every moment, and even snuck behind
the New Jersey defense and was alone in front of the crease, but the Rangers
were unable to feed him the puck, or he would have had an easy tap in. One of
the most surprising things from that game was that he wasn’t on the ice for
any of the 8 goals against. And this isn’t saying much since practically the
whole team played poorly, but Mottau was clearly the best player on the ice
for the Rangers, with the possible exception of sophomore Michael York, who I Read more»
The Ducks have traded University of Minnesota defenseman Jordan Leopold to Calgary. They got Andrei Nazarov and a ghost of the future in a draft choice. But they gave up a sure-fire NHLer. Arguably, one of the best d-man in all of college hockey.
It’s very easy to defend this trade. The Ducks received “The Most Dangerous Man in Hockey.” Andrei Nazarov brings a player for today into the fold. He’ll be right there joining Jim Cummins as a tag team of sorts. He can fight well not to mention be one of the most brutal players the NHL has ever seen. Just ask his victims. But is he a defenseman that will be around as a potential anchor? Hardly. In fact, he’s your basic role player whom the Ducks love to have a surplus of.
The theory that Nazarov will protect Selanne and Kariya is a good one. But he may not bring enough else to the game. Of course, the Ducks received a second round draft choice as well. It can’t be forgotten that Leopold was a second round draft choice himself. This way, the claim is the Ducks at least made the trade even if not the better end of the deal. It makes no difference if another Nik Tsulygin is chosen with that choice.