Slavia vs Avangard: Battle For Cervenka

Andrey Osadchenko
September 21 2012 11:18AM

 

 

Last season Roman Cervenka topped the KHL in play-off scoring and was one win away from clinching the Gagarin Cup (league championship) with Avangard Omsk. Losing a player like this was understandably a serious issue for Avangard. However, thanks to the lockout, Siberian fans may see Cervenka lace them up for their team again.

But does he want to?

According to this video posted on HC Slavia Prague’s official website Cervenka "doesn’t want to play in Russia":

 

"Roman will start the season with Slavia. We already have an agreement with the team. If the lockout lasts for a long time, it is possible Roman will leave for the KHL. At this moment I’d rather not discuss it, though,’ told Hokej.Cz Cervenka’s agent Ales Volek. ‘Avangard Omsk owns his rights in the KHL and we have been in talks with the team’s management. We will keep it touch as the situation progresses."

It’s clear Cervenka isn’t planning on spending this entire season in Europe. Slavia in this sense is a perfect club for him. Prague’s famous franchise didn’t make it to the play-offs last season and was saved from relegation by finishing 2nd in the play-out tournament. Cervenka is easily going to be Slavia’s best player and there won’t be any hard feelings between the two if he has to leave for Calgary should the opportunity arise during the course of the season.

Avangard’s ambitions coming into this season are quite different. The team wants to build on its previous play-off run and finally get to hoist the cup. Cervenka would be a key player for Omsk and they are unlikely to let him go easily when the NHL lockout is finally over. Just how big a role Cervenka played in Avangard last season became clear this month: Omsk is currently struggling to score and is allowing goals in bundles. They lost their last game 5-0 to Ak Bars.

Avangard’s management wants Cervenka back and is being quite open about it too.

"I want to clarify the situation with Roman Cervenka," said Avangard GM Vladimir Kapulovsky at the team’s official website.

"He has some family issues to attend as he’s about to have a kid. We are fully aware that he’s going to play for his native team – Slavia Prague. Nevertheless, Avangard will soon be in Prague to play against Lev. We are planning to meet with Roman at this time and discuss his plans for future. Also, we have a few interesting players we want to sign on. I can’t tell you any names, but we’re working on it."

The 26-year old Cervenka spent two seasons in Omsk. Last year he played 54 regular season games, scored 23 goals and notched 16 assists for 39 points. He also scored 11 goals and had 10 assists for 21 points in 20 play-off games to lead the league. All in all, Cervenka played 137 KHL games, scored 70 goals and had 60 assists for 130 points.

This Wednesday Slavia plays against Kladno in Czech Extraliga. Ironically, Kladno recently signed Cervenka’s former linemate in Avangard, Jaromir Jagr, and they are both expected to play in this game.

As for Avangard, they face Lev this Thursday and are likely to make a move on Cervenka around this time. Quite a busy week Roman is having, eh?

037e43b539fffeb0780fabd36a5982c4
Russian hockey reporter who moved to Canada to find himself right in the middle of hockey madness. @AOsadchenko
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#1 Kent Wilson
September 22 2012, 08:59AM
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@Austin L

Well that's a nice start to the season.

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#2 Kent Wilson
September 21 2012, 11:42AM
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The question is, why isn't anyone fighting over Matt Stajan?

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#3 The Last Big Bear
September 21 2012, 11:59AM
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Stajan is too busy furthering Cervenka's career by refusing to negotiate a new CBA.

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#4 Kent Wilson
September 21 2012, 12:32PM
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@The Last Big Bear

Zing.

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#5 bookofloob
September 21 2012, 02:56PM
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I think I'd prefer that Cervenka hone his skills in the KHL against tougher competition, and then bolt in the night, Gino Malkin style, over to Calgary once the lockout is resolved.

Everyone wins, except Slavia Prague. Plus, uh, movie rights!

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#6 Ryan Pike
September 21 2012, 03:58PM
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To be fair, Avangard also lost 5-0 to Ak Bars because they put their back-up netminder in. He's a LOT worse than Karri Ramo.

But Cervenka was an invaluable piece of the puzzle for Avangard and they sorely miss him.

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#7 Domebeers.com
September 21 2012, 04:57PM
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We let Omsk or whatever the Russian team is get the Venka, then when the lockout ends and they 'dont want to give him up', we can trade them Stajan for Venka.

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#8 Rude
September 21 2012, 07:04PM
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I dont think a midget team on the bubble would take stajan right now. They would opt for the fat kid who is harder to push over

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#9 Austin L
September 21 2012, 10:39PM
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Random prediction: Culkin= next Brodie. 4 points in first game.

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#10 RexLibris
September 22 2012, 09:48AM
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Bright side: if the lockout were to last two seasons then Stajan would be gone when hockey resumed!

It'll be interesting to see where Cervenka lands this year and to contrast his overseas numbers to previous seasons. He's been relatively consistent in terms of being a point-producer. Being squarely in that late-20s window of productivity now it would be in the best interests of the Flames for him to continue that pace during the lockout and carry that momentum over to the NHL as soon as possible.

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#11 Stockley
September 23 2012, 08:40AM
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@RexLibris

If we lose the whole season we lose all rights to Cervenka. He'll be free to sign wherever he wants and it could incite a bidding war. Not sure what it would do for his status and if he'd become RFA or UFA.

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#12 Jarno
September 25 2012, 07:52AM
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Slavia Praha has some highlights of games on YouTube.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Iw_GGsASRo0

The link above shows a game that was about a week ago, Plekanec (of Kladno) and Cervenka (number 10 of Slavia)have important roles in their teams as you can see in the video.

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#13 xis10ce
September 25 2012, 09:30AM
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Wonder how Ramo will respond to the pressure of being on a team with less offensive power. Little more stress in the net knowing your team is less likely to win one for you.

There are a few positives about the lockout, we may never have to see Babchuk "play" hockey again. If they resign him Cory Sarich style I may loose my mind.

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