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Vaclav Nedomansky

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02-13-2005, 07:13 AM
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CRUNK JUICE
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Vaclav Nedomansky

Another one of the old Eastern Block guys nobody talks about. He was once described as the best player not named Jiri Holocek to ever come out of Czechoslovakia before the Velvet Revolution, which I would imagine is fairly high praise.
Did anyone on here ever watch him play? What was his skill set like? I know he never put up gaudy numbers over here (not in the NHL, anyway. His WHA stats were top notch), but could that be because he was too old to properly make the transition to the North American game when he defected? I ask this because so of his numbers at the World Championships and Olympics are absolutely obscene. Not only that, but he didn't defect to Canada until he was 30, just a hair past his prime.
Anyway, could somebody tell me more about this guy? I'm particularly interested in his skill set, style of play, and who he compares to.
Thanks in advance.

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02-13-2005, 07:32 AM
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I've never seen him but he was my Dad's favorite player!

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02-13-2005, 05:03 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wilka91
I've never seen him but he was my Dad's favorite player!
Wilka, you're Russian, correct? Would I also be correct in assuming that your father was Russian as well?
If so, a Russian picking a Czech as his favorite player during the era Nedomansky is pretty high praise indeed.

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02-13-2005, 07:03 PM
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I saw Nedomansky play at the very end of his career for the Red Wings; he was probably in his mid-30's when he started playing for them.

To start, what I remember about the beginning of his time with the Wings was the hype that surrounded his arrival. A lot was expected from him, mainly to help bring the Wings their first playoff appearance in about a decade (a pretty sad track record for a team in an era when 16 out of 21 teams made the postseason). He didn't have a great season point-wise his first year, but the Wings did make the playoffs, which took him off of the proverbial hook for not meeting the expectations of many fans. The following two seasons (78-79 and 79-80) he did really well, but the team fell back into the bottom 5 of the league. In his first year, he had a ton of scoring chances but just couldn't finish; bad luck on his part. The chances he missed on his first year he buried the two following years.

Even though he was one of the older players on the team, he easily had the best overall skill set on the team, IMO. What a skater; he was probably the fastest player on the team, even at that age, which made you wonder how fast he was in his prime. Not only very good speed, but moves to match. When he entered the offensive zone, it was fun to see him do his thing and create scoring opportunities. He was a strong guy, also; he could score off the mad scramble in front of the net as well as score the finesse goal. He was a good passer and wasn't selfish; when opponents focused on him, he could dish it off at just the right time and give a linemate a good scoring chance. The best word I could use to describe him offensively is polished. It's too bad he didn't have a lot of help; Dale McCourt and Reed Larson were about the only other Red Wings with decent skills when he played in Detroit.

Man, it is really hard to come up with a comparable player today to Nedomansky. I keep wanting to compare him to Sergei Fedorov, not so much for the speed, but for his skating ability. Much like Sergei, Ned was a guy you had to keep your eye on at all times if you were the opposition.

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02-13-2005, 08:05 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Vicious Vic
Wilka, you're Russian, correct? Would I also be correct in assuming that your father was Russian as well?
If so, a Russian picking a Czech as his favorite player during the era Nedomansky is pretty high praise indeed.
I'm half-Russian (mother) and my dad is half-Czech/American. He's always been a Czech hockey fan.

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02-14-2005, 12:55 AM
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MiamiScreamingEagles
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Have you read this account on Legends of Hockey?

http://www.legendsofhockey.net:8080/...p?player=13828

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02-14-2005, 04:07 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Matt Foley
I saw Nedomansky play at the very end of his career for the Red Wings; he was probably in his mid-30's when he started playing for them.

To start, what I remember about the beginning of his time with the Wings was the hype that surrounded his arrival. A lot was expected from him, mainly to help bring the Wings their first playoff appearance in about a decade (a pretty sad track record for a team in an era when 16 out of 21 teams made the postseason). He didn't have a great season point-wise his first year, but the Wings did make the playoffs, which took him off of the proverbial hook for not meeting the expectations of many fans. The following two seasons (78-79 and 79-80) he did really well, but the team fell back into the bottom 5 of the league. In his first year, he had a ton of scoring chances but just couldn't finish; bad luck on his part. The chances he missed on his first year he buried the two following years.

Even though he was one of the older players on the team, he easily had the best overall skill set on the team, IMO. What a skater; he was probably the fastest player on the team, even at that age, which made you wonder how fast he was in his prime. Not only very good speed, but moves to match. When he entered the offensive zone, it was fun to see him do his thing and create scoring opportunities. He was a strong guy, also; he could score off the mad scramble in front of the net as well as score the finesse goal. He was a good passer and wasn't selfish; when opponents focused on him, he could dish it off at just the right time and give a linemate a good scoring chance. The best word I could use to describe him offensively is polished. It's too bad he didn't have a lot of help; Dale McCourt and Reed Larson were about the only other Red Wings with decent skills when he played in Detroit.

Man, it is really hard to come up with a comparable player today to Nedomansky. I keep wanting to compare him to Sergei Fedorov, not so much for the speed, but for his skating ability. Much like Sergei, Ned was a guy you had to keep your eye on at all times if you were the opposition.


Thank you VERY much. That was an awesome response and was exactly what I was looking for. Sounds like one of the main reasons he didn't continue his ridiculous pace from the WHA and international competitions was because of linemates, which is a shame. What do you think he could have done if he'd gotten to play with someone like Dionne or Federko (I'd also say Lafleur, Trottier, Potvin, or Bossy, but I think we can all agree the Habs and Isles were plenty stacked already )?
As for comparisons, I'd read Jagr, but I got the impression that that particular little snippet had more to do with him being a big, skilled Czech than anything else. If he was like Federov, he really must've been something.

Anyway, thanks again for the fantastic response. Learning about old Eastern Block players like Neddy and Holocek that nobody knows about has become a hobby of mine.

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02-14-2005, 04:08 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wilka91
I'm half-Russian (mother) and my dad is half-Czech/American. He's always been a Czech hockey fan.

Ahhhhhhhh.... Now it all adds up. :lol

Quote:
Originally Posted by MiamiScreamingEagles
Have you read this account on Legends of Hockey?

http://www.legendsofhockey.net:8080/...p?player=13828
Yeah, I read that one a while back and enjoyed it. Just re-read it and enjoyed it again. Thanks for reminding me of it.

Again, thanks to both of you though. I appreciate the response.

edit: Hot ****, look at those stats for his Czech team. Absolutely redonkulous. I'm glad I clicked back on the link and scrolled down. I knew how dominant he was in international play, but I'd forgotten all about his play for Slovan (and while I'm not a huge proponent of using stats to judge a player, his Extraleague totals speak volumes I just don't think anyone can ignore).

Y'know, and this is just me ranting some useless peacenik rant, but it really is a shame we couldn't have all just gotten along and let these guys play across the pond if they wanted to. Imagine what he could've done if he'd played here, in his prime, and was better adapted to the NA game. Not saying he's Gretzky or Lemieux (or even Kharlamov), but I would guess a long string of 100+ point seasons from him wouldn't have been an unreasonable expectation.

Also, for anyone else who's interested in learning more about old Soviet and Czech players from before the fall of Communism, I'd like to reccomend A Century of Hockey Heroes, by James Duplacey and Eric Zweig. They went out of their way to take a look at some of the old Soviet and Eastern European players your average NA fan knows nothing about (and, yes, I know it was written for kids, but hey, I'm still a kid at heart. Plus, I have a degree and very good GPA from a top tier university. So there.
)





Last edited by CRUNK JUICE: 02-14-2005 at 04:35 AM.
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Old
02-14-2005, 08:02 AM
  #9
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[QUOTE=Vicious Vic

As for comparisons, I'd read Jagr, but I got the impression that that particular little snippet had more to do with him being a big, skilled Czech than anything else. If he was like Federov, he really must've been something.

[/QUOTE]


Jagr did come to mind as well as he scores goals in much the same manner as Ned did, but the skating styles between Federov and Ned were so similar to me. The first game I saw Fedorov play and saw the way he moved with and without the puck, I couldn't stop doing flashbacks in my mind and seeing Ned skate up and down the ice again. Not quite as fast, but just as smooth.

Put Nedomansky on the Canadiens or the Isles - wow, talk about unfair for the rest of the league, especially on the Canadiens. He would have been a great fit on the Canadiens - great skater, passer, etc. Lafleur would probably still have been the leading scorer, but Ned probably would have approached 100 pts / season with the caliber of linemates he would have had, once he got broken in with them.

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