Hamilton Reds Offseason Roundup
It's been a wicked offseason for the Hamilton Reds, which included some expectations met, and others not. Radoslav Moravec's most recent press conference included both good and bad things to say. "Expectations have not been met so far," Moravec said. "The team is not 100% Czech, and I hope by next season, the entire team is from the Czech Republic." Some notable non-Czech players remaining include defender Guillaume Dumont, centre Maximus Vincelet, and Swedish forwards Tor Ahlbom and Ali Strom. Manager Dominik Kozar spoke with frustration at the same press conference, saying, "there was a stunning lack of interest from Czech forwards in free agency". However, impressively, Kozar was able to acquire four centres, eight defensemen, and three goaltenders, despite a meager three forwards. Most impressively were his acquisitions of young prospects Otmar Schimpf and Venceslav Pohancanik, which may have saved his job. "Obviously it cost a lot of players to get Schimpf," Kozar continued, "but I have high hopes for him to anchor our blue line in the near future. Schimpf is currently playing in the CZHL with PZ Rajhrad, and will see out his age 19 season with the Czech club. Schimpf will then play out the last year of his entry level contract with the Reds, with hopes of anchoring a very average defence corps. However, though Schimpf was recently in Hamilton for training camp and contract negotiations, he declined to comment to the press about his contract situation or future with the club. Coach Stanek was very calm at the press conference, saying "Schimpf tends to be a more quiet figure off the ice, and let his skills unnerve the opposition and give the press a story there, as opposed to his personal life."
As for Pohancanik, he was acquired in a one for one deal which saw fellow centre Maksym Barabash go the other way. Pohancanik was then signed to a 3 year extension worth $210,000, prompting cheers from Hamilton fans. He immediately impressed Stanek in training, giving him hopes that Pohancanik has SHL potential. Pohancanik is a ruthless player, with excellent an SHL caliber physique, and very good puck skills, but his skating, defensive, and endurance deficiencies really show in his game, which gives the coach something to improve on in the near future, which shouldn't be a problem considering Pohancanik's excellent work ethic and love for the game.
The team is also being supplemented by veterans Radan Zahorec, Cyril Mitko, and Arnost Muhl.
Here is a look at the depth chart for this squad, with all Czech players bolded:
Ahlbom | Vincelet | Nemcok
Strom | Pohancanik | Lehocky
Sperka | Mitko | Vorisek
| Wallander |
| Multan (A) |
| Papai |
The trouble with this team is forwards. Every forward on the team is left handed, and that could spell trouble for the three Czech forwards that may have to adapt to playing on their off-wing. None of the players here are really game-breakers, and they should be heavily relying on Ahlbom, Strom, Sperka, and Nemcok for the goals. Alternate captain Multan has good Czech league and good experience to mentor the young guns on the team. Papai, Vorisek, and Lehocky should provide depth in the bottom six. In reality though, expect this group of forwards to struggle.
Dumont | Kolesar
Massey (A) | Plasil
Macko | Sedlacek
Andreansky | Vilimek (A)
The Reds' strongest asset is perhaps their defence. Led by star player Dumont, the team has a lot of strong right handed defenders, especially Kolesar. However, beyond Dumont on the left, there are really only depth defensemen, meaning one of Sedlacek and Vilimek will likely have to slot in on the left side. 23 year old Plasil could potentially push Kolesar for a spot on the top pair and power play units, barring slow growth. Veterans Sedlacek and Muhl will provide stability in the top 6.
Zahorec | Kizek
This team's goaltenders are both veterans, at age 34 and 35, and will be expected to provide a stable last line of defence. Zahorec is more all around, while Kizek is a more reflexive, athletic goalie. Kizek's endurance is questionable, giving Zahorec the number 1 spot, especially due to his leadership qualities.
(Sorry I haven't posted in a while, so I'm going to do two articles in one)
Coach Stanek Given The Boot
Despite the decent offseason, the Reds' season has gotten off to a horrible start. After a preseason win against the Jaguars, and a solid 4-2 victory against Prince George, the team has lost seven consecutive games, prompting a quick press conference. The team sits dead last in 16th position.
Owner Radoslav Moravec quickly addressed the eager reporters, and disappointed, angry fans by saying this: "It is unfortunate for our team to be in this position this early in the season, and I regret to inform you that I have relieved head coach Miroslav Stanek of his duties. His philosophy did not coincide with the skills of our forwards, and the results have been ugly. We wish Stanek the best of luck on his future endeavours." Moravec continued by saying, "Manager Kozar will become the interim head coach, and we hope that he will steer our club clear from relegation in the coming weeks."
Manager Dominik Kozar and fired coach Miroslav Stanek declined to comment, but winger Vladimir Sperka did. "There are so many Czech players in this squad, which I like, it makes communication easier, we simply don't have the firepower to do damage at the top of league, or even mid table. Manager needs to sign some more players, even if they are not Czech, because otherwise we may be relegated."
Moravec is reportedly considering allowing the signing of non-Czech players to keep his team in the IHL, but will only do that as a last resort. For now, it is expected that Kozar will change the team tactics, and hopefully bring the club into a mid table position, before more drastic changes are made.
Hamilton Post (Game World Lumber, Season 28, Day 15)