Tag: Vaclav Prospal

Source: Gregory Shamus/Getty Images North America

Andrew Ference heads home after stint with Czech team

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Andrew Ference is returning to North America after playing in 21 games with Ceske Budejovice HC of the Czech League, according to the team’s official website.

Ference skated in his final game with them on Sunday and thanked the fans for “one of my most memorable nights of hockey.”

He had two goals and seven points during his tenure with the squad.

Several other former or locked-out NHLers have played with Ceske Budejovice HC this season, including Ales Kotalik, Vaclav Prospal, Milan Michalek, and Martin Hanzal.

It remains to be seen what Ference will do next, but obviously so much of it depends on what happens over the next few weeks with the NHL negotiations. NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly suggested that the season will be canceled if there’s no new CBA by mid-January.

If the season is lost, then we could see a new wave of NHLers flocking to Europe.

In rare bit of good luck for Wisniewski, he should return Tuesday

James Wisniewski

Blue Jackets defenseman James Wisniewski is expected to return from his concussion on Tuesday, according to Columbus Dispatch writer Shawn Mitchell. That’s one of the few bright spots in what has been an otherwise disappointing season for Wisniewski.

After inking a five-year/$33 million with Columbus over the summer, Wisniewski was suspended for eight regular season games after he hit Minnesota’s Cal Clutterbuck in the head during a preseason contest. By the time he returned, the Blue Jackets were already 0-7-1. He also ended up missing time because of a broken left ankle, groin problems, and roughly two weeks because of the concussion. At this point, he’s only played in 45 of Columbus’ 79 contests this season.

That’s to say nothing of the fact that when he signed with the Blue Jackets, they were selling themselves as a franchise on the cusp of making the playoffs. Although they missed the postseason by 16 points in 2010-11, they thought that by adding Wisniewski, Vaclav Prospal, Jeff Carter, they could reverse their fortunes. Instead they did even worse in 2011-12. The face of their franchise and biggest star Rick Nash is interested in being traded and now it looks like Wisniewski will be part of a lengthy rebuilding effort.

Chara to play in 1,000th game Saturday

Zdeno Chara

Saturday night will be a special one for Boston captain Zdeno Chara when the Bruins take on the Kings in Los Angeles.

The 35-year-old rearguard will become just the 277th player in NHL history to play 1,000 games and the 13th to accomplish the feat this season.

While Chara spent the early parts of his career with both the Islanders and Senators, he’s come into his own as a member of the Bruins. Since signing with Boston out of the lockout he’s won a Stanley Cup, Norris Trophy, Mark Messier Leadership Award, Plus-Minus Award and three All-NHL team spots.

“Obviously it’s a milestone,” Chara told the Boston Globe. “When you think about 1,000 games, you’ve got to be averaging, what, like 70-75 games for 14 or 15 years to do that, right?

“I don’t think anyone playing their first game thinks ahead to 500, 800, or 1,000 games. That’s just so far away. But when you get down to five more to go, 10 more to go, sure, you can’t help but think, it’s a lot of games, a long time.”

Given he’s only 35 and armed with a seven-year deal that runs through 2018, it’s possible Chara could enter the rarefied air of 1500 or more games played. Only 13 players in  NHL history have accomplished the feat and only four — Mark Recchi, Dave Andreychuk, Ray Bourque and Johnny Bucyk — played for the Bruins.

Chara’s got a good shot at being No. 5. He’s durable (only missed 12 games since the lockout), remarkably fit (see: 2009 ESPN Magazine Body Issue) and loves playing the game.

He also has a few tricks on how to maintain his high level of success.

“Just try to get better every year,’’ Chara said. “Never get satisfied with what you’ve done the previous season. That’s been my approach from the start, and it still is.

“Keep all my routines the same, for day of game, day after the game. I’ve followed that for 15 years, never changed. And the trick is to do that and not get tired of it.

“And you know what? I don’t. I still loving doing it, and I still love my job.’’