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Pavel Brendl: The Ridiculous Story ("Hot dogs and wieners is the best food for me.")

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Old
01-25-2017, 07:20 PM
  #51
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kaiser matias View Post
It's more than just pre-draft reports, there are articles there that go up to three years after he was drafted, including why he was part of the Lindros trade in 2001 (seems the Rangers got tired of trying to change his mindset), and the Flyers opinion of him after said trade (guess they thought they could straighten him out; evidently not). Overall it does give the impression that Brendl seemed to think he could go at it with minimal work, and sounds like someone who had never had to work to get anything in life, and once he had to put some effort in refused to do it, giving up any hope of an NHL career.
Yep, my bad! The comments from Clarke there pretty much say it all.

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01-25-2017, 07:35 PM
  #52
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I remember watching him play for the Hitmen. They're not exaggerating anything in those quotes. He literally refused to enter the defensive zone. Incredible shot and sound all-round offensive instincts, though. Word always was that he drank a fair bit, too.

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01-25-2017, 07:37 PM
  #53
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There are literally no highlights on the web of Brendl scoring a goal at the NHL level; what a complete waste of talent. How could he not have worked hard for at least his family, who had probably sacrificed so much for him?

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01-25-2017, 08:03 PM
  #54
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How were his diet and off-the-ice habits not a red flag? (He was like Dustin Penner before Penner.) In retrospect, I have to wonder if the family with which a player billets (for players drafted out of a CHL team) should be interviewed if a player is being considered, to examine the prospect's work ethic and attitude, in addition to what a coach sees. If the billet family had been interviewed, Brendl would have likely fallen to late in the first round or out of it altogether.

The odd part is, after Brendl left the NHL, he was a star for a few seasons in what is now the Swedish Hockey League (then Elitserien) with Mora and then Brynas, and then with Torpedo in the KHL for a season. What is different in those leagues than the NHL that he completely busted in North America and excelled there for a time before injuries took their toll?

At least the Rangers were able to turn Brendl into Eric Lindros, who in his 3 seasons here managed to score at an 0.83 point per game pace.

I have to wonder if either Nail Yakupov or Scott Glennie would measure up to him, with respect to later drafts (that entire 1999 draft was a mess...the only good players from that draft's first round were the Sedin twins, Tim Connolly---career ruined by concussions, Taylor Pyatt (who became an effective bottom-6 player to play 859 games in the NHL), David Tanabe---career ended prematurely by concussions at age 28, Barret Jackman, Nick Boynton, and Martin Havlat).

A good follow-up might be: what the heck went wrong with Brian Finley? (He was taken by the Predators two picks after Brendl---Connolly in between.)


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Old
01-25-2017, 09:57 PM
  #55
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Thanks for all the work on this I really enjoyed it. I grew up in a Rangers household but was to young to read all the draft insight etc and always just thought he was this great prospect that didn't quite work out. This was very informative for me and must have taken a ton of work.

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01-25-2017, 10:18 PM
  #56
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Vagrant View Post
Cool post, OP. Thanks for quoting one of my posts in it. The kid could shoot the puck like Mike Bossy and do nothing else. Hockey scouting was such a different animal back then. People relied heavily upon urban legend and hearsay and most of the European players were ridiculously underscouted unless they came to North America in their draft season. Patrik Stefan did this and suffered 3 concussions basically playing in the AHL equivalent of today as a 16-17 year old player. This was a time in hockey history where concussions were also injuries that most players didn't even leave the game upon suffering unless they went out cold and even then it was 50/50. Kariya in the '03 Finals comes to mind. It was an underrated aspect of why Stefan failed as a prospect.

Now, every level of hockey around the world is pretty integrated. The internet opened a path for broader communication and the training habits that were most successful were almost universally adopted by countries that wanted to stay competitive. Certain types of players, like players with extremely poor work ethic, are identified early. Most Junior coaches now are guys that are well-connected, respected, and are forward minded enough to give scouts the real deal about their players without fear of reprisal. In some ways, the hockey world has gotten smaller in that respect. Back in this time, the impression was that most hockey executives were in business for themselves and weren't concerned with anything but winning games and utilized players like Brendl to achieve that goal. Back then, the jump from the CHL to the NHL was massive because everything changed. The stars that were allowed free reign now had to play inside a system and not everyone adjusted. It used to be that a player's D+1 season if he was promoted to the NHL was usually considered a lost season from a production standpoint. 18 year old players were never given the keys the way they are now. Joe Thornton skated his entire first season on the 4th line for the Bruins despite being the 1st overall pick.

In that sense, we rarely see players like Pavel Brendl go in the Top 5 anymore. Guys who get listed for character concerns usually drop precipitously because of how publicized those events are now. I think this has made the draft a more accurate representation of who the real players are and why we see such a lower percentage in bust rate for guys taken in the Top 5 picks. In a way, Pavel Brendl was a posterboy for that change in philosophy.
I remember watching his first Canes training camp here in Raleigh, right after I finished touring after my last year in college. I distinctly remember some of the skating drills and he was getting absolutely clowned by this giant dman that we had drafted that was nothing more then a goon, I think his name was Trojovsky or something like that. And it's not like the guy could skate either, they were, by FAR, the two worst skaters on the ice, literally anyone else in the organization sans maybe Weekes, Ward, Peters, and whatever other goalies were there (and I do mean only maybe, those guys may have been better skaters as well if given the chance) was able to make these guys look like they were stuck in mud by comparison. But it was quite evident that it was a matter of Trojovsky just not really having ability and of Brendl just literally not giving a **** and of being terribly out of shape.

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01-25-2017, 10:52 PM
  #57
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I guess you could say I didn't "get" it when I watched him. Even in 1999. I don't know, he sort of burst out of nowhere. The idea of calling him Mike Bossy I thought was crazy. Now, 73 goals is an insane amount, and that was impressive but I do remember watching him in 1999 and I don't know, something just told me he wasn't going to be all that great. It was the same feeling I got with Daigle. You'd watch him and just think something was missing that was going to stop him from being a great player.

I thought the Sedins were going to be quite good, and that turned out fine. I thought Brian Finley would be a star goalie and that Steve McCarthy would be a star defenseman. Yeah, the 1999 draft - while thought of to be weak now - was actually a draft that scouts loved at the time believe it or not. I know I made a lot of mistakes from the 1999 draft because so many were busts, but honesty Brendl never made me jump out of my seat with excitement.

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01-25-2017, 10:59 PM
  #58
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I got a phone call the other day from Pavel Brendl. I answered saying "who is this?"

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01-25-2017, 11:14 PM
  #59
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Evilo View Post
Absolute gold. Bigotery at its best.
This was in 99 and Brian Burke has never been PC.

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01-26-2017, 05:08 AM
  #60
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Reading the pre-draft reports about his attitude, it's incomprehensible for me how he still went #1 overall. The chance to get someone like Brendl to change his mentality is negligible, the risk in picking him alarmingly high.

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01-26-2017, 05:51 AM
  #61
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Originally Posted by Theokritos View Post
Reading the pre-draft reports about his attitude, it's incomprehensible for me how he still went #1 overall. The chance to get someone like Brendl to change his mentality is negligible, the risk in picking him alarmingly high.
#4... although with the way the first few picks went (Stefan the safe pick, the Sedins being a Burke-specific project), it's not a stretch to see Brendl as the exciting story going forward that usually comes from the #1.

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01-26-2017, 06:12 AM
  #62
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Originally Posted by Johnny Engine View Post
#4... although with the way the first few picks went (Stefan the safe pick, the Sedins being a Burke-specific project), it's not a stretch to see Brendl as the exciting story going forward that usually comes from the #1.
My bad ... kudos to Atlanta and Vancouver for passing him up. But the Rangers actually traded up to pick Brendl 4th.

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01-26-2017, 08:23 AM
  #63
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Originally Posted by Theokritos View Post
My bad ... kudos to Atlanta and Vancouver for passing him up. But the Rangers actually traded up to pick Brendl 4th.
And the Rangers gave up Dan Cloutier, at the time seen as the heir apparent to Mike Richter, to do it (also note that Tampa Bay had the first overall pick that year---and they ended up trading out of the first round altogether). At least the Rangers got Lindros when they traded Brendl (and Kim Johnsson, the very last pick that year who ended up playing 739 games in the NHL). As for Lundmark, to be fair, Marc Savard wasn't going to make it if he stayed in New York.

Patrik Stefan may never have been truly right after those concussions in his draft year; that is why Pavel Brendl, who ate his way out of the NHL, is the bust from the 1999 draft.

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01-26-2017, 09:13 AM
  #64
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Wow, that's some crazy stuff right out of his mouth.

I remember when he was a prospect, and Alexandre Volchkov just a few years before that, and I wouldn't have touched either with a ten foot pole. Knowing that at the time there were always a couple of busts drafted highly every year (it's not that way anymore), I had both of them pegged as the ones to bust, and at least in those cases I was right. The things that were written about their attitude and commitment were just too glaring, too much of an outlier.

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01-26-2017, 10:06 AM
  #65
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He was possibly the most extremely narrow-sighted and one-dimensional guy I have ever seen play on this level. He was the scoring equivalent of the most hopeless goons.

It's already been said that he only ever waited to shoot/score, but I feel it understates the whole story.

He did way less than everyone else way way more than anyone else. Everyone talks about his diet but he played as if he had been one of those over-obese creatures imprisoned in their own mountain of fat.

Funny but outrageous. Talented? Not so sure. Had a great, great shot but that was it.

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01-26-2017, 10:30 AM
  #66
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Great read.

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01-26-2017, 10:36 AM
  #67
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OK, hehe, hahaha, one excerpt from an interview (2009):

Quote:
...Which brings us to another question. Do you have any idea what's behind your slacker reputation?

Brendl: It's my skating style. I got a long stride you know. I skate the way that would make me look like a slacker even if I worked my tail off. When I walk, I walk slow because I'm not in a hurry. When I am in a hurry, I go by car (laughs).
(laughs)

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01-26-2017, 10:36 AM
  #68
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The term Patrik Stefan, you should be embarrassed for what you just did, suddenly springs to mind.



Look at the czech talent of the 99 draft. Well they did end up winning the juniors in 2000 and 2001.

Stefan
Brendl
Frantisek Kaberle
Erat
Havlat
Vrbata

Here are the top canadians of the same draft. (Try not to laugh)
Barret Jackman
Mike Comrie
Nick Boynton
Chris Kelly
Taylor Pyatt
Mike Commodore

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01-26-2017, 02:21 PM
  #69
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Originally Posted by Chimp View Post
Nevermind he was horrendeus defensively, arrogant and had a bad attitude. Hockey is not the right sport for a self indulged diva with no discipline. That's more the alley of basketball.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Evilo View Post
Absolute gold. Bigotery at its best.
re: those brian burke quotes, i am guessing that all of that brendl chatter was just talking the guy up to throw everyone off the scent as he was masterminding the sedins coup.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Vagrant View Post
In that sense, we rarely see players like Pavel Brendl go in the Top 5 anymore. Guys who get listed for character concerns usually drop precipitously because of how publicized those events are now. I think this has made the draft a more accurate representation of who the real players are and why we see such a lower percentage in bust rate for guys taken in the Top 5 picks. In a way, Pavel Brendl was a posterboy for that change in philosophy.
angelo esposito being a prime example. fell from #1 to 20. and they were right.

it's interesting though to think about guys whom we consider lazy, who were similar skillsets to brendl. jeff o'neill was mentioned upthread. pretty lazy guy, great shot, couldn't play defense to save his soul, when he got to the NHL was converted from a do-everything gritty two-way center to a point-and-shoot winger, and on top of all that i think he had a fear of flying or something like that. but that guy still routinely scored 20 goals and one time placed in the top ten.

another one is post-atlanta dany heatley. lost his mobility, then his drive.

even pat falloon played a few years and scored 20 goals a few times.

so how lazy do you need to be -- and that's a rhetorical question because jetsalternate bolded those phenomenal quotes for us -- to have that kind of talent and barely even make it? nichushkin i guess might be a comparable.

and with that pavel brendl level of talent, and i totally believe, like fogarty, that in a different frame of mind this guy could be knocking on the hall of fame, how do you not take him? maybe not #1, or 2 or 3, but in a weak draft, with no better options other than a toolsy stiff like taylor pyatt, don't you roll the dice because the reward is so high if he puts it together? i mean, in my memory he looked basically like ilya kovalchuk in his pre-draft highlight reels.


Quote:
Originally Posted by aemoreira1981 View Post

A good follow-up might be: what the heck went wrong with Brian Finley? (He was taken by the Predators two picks after Brendl---Connolly in between.)
injuries destroyed him. his groin just wasn't built for playing goal.


and i can't believe brendl is still playing somewhere in slovakia now. he's exactly the same age as me. i wonder if he ever looks back and thinks about what he could have been?

though i guess he probably has made some good money along the way so it's not like he's lying facedown in a gutter in prague's red light district unless he chooses to.

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01-26-2017, 03:10 PM
  #70
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Whatever Burke titled it, he was right.


no.

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01-26-2017, 03:46 PM
  #71
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Brendl still made millions, at least a couple, with effort more comfortable to him. Not everyone is cut for a 82 game schedule and coast to coast game of small rink.

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01-26-2017, 07:13 PM
  #72
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Originally Posted by Eye of Ra View Post


no.
Not so fast, my friend! Pavel Brendl reminds me of Pat Falloon with 10 times worse conditioning, or the NHL's version of JaMarcus Russell.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Merya View Post
Brendl still made millions, at least a couple, with effort more comfortable to him. Not everyone is cut for a 82 game schedule and coast to coast game of small rink.
Western Hockey League regular seasons aren't much shorter at 72 games.

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01-26-2017, 07:30 PM
  #73
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I can't find the video on it, but his 1st NHL goal if I remember correctly was a bounced in shot from centre ice. It was an awful goal for the goalie who let it in. I honestly don't even think he was trying to shoot it on net.

I also came across an old article in the Hockey News talking about Brendl leading up to the 1999 draft. Actually it was a letter to the editor and the fan was complaining about how Brendl hung around the blue line too often waiting for a pass from his teammates. I guess scouts didn't care since 73 goals is a lot of mustard but that fan was bang on.

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01-26-2017, 09:22 PM
  #74
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Originally Posted by Big Phil View Post
I can't find the video on it, but his 1st NHL goal if I remember correctly was a bounced in shot from centre ice. It was an awful goal for the goalie who let it in. I honestly don't even think he was trying to shoot it on net.

I also came across an old article in the Hockey News talking about Brendl leading up to the 1999 draft. Actually it was a letter to the editor and the fan was complaining about how Brendl hung around the blue line too often waiting for a pass from his teammates. I guess scouts didn't care since 73 goals is a lot of mustard but that fan was bang on.
Not sure if it was C Button or some other pro-scout saying Brendl was the best junior player they'd seen since scouting - I think Brian Fogarty was another superstar junior player mentioned, who had other issues - RIP

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01-27-2017, 01:37 AM
  #75
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I have expanded the OP with additional content.

I am glad that people have enjoyed reading the post and exchanging their thoughts about this strange, unfortunate player. I really enjoyed putting it together.
Quote:
Brendl WHL's Scoring Sensation: Hitmen's Big Bear is hot
BYLINE: Todd Kimberley, Calgary Herald
SECTION: News; A1 / FRONT
LENGTH: 1016 words
Calgary Herald (Alberta, Canada)
May 14, 1999, FINAL

Last October, in a hotel room somewhere in the mountains of British Columbia, Pavel Brendl turned in for a much-needed nap and grumpily ordered Calgary Hitmen roommate Brad Moran: ''Don't wake up the big bear.'' Apparently, no one listened. There was clearly no hibernation this winter for the Western Hockey League rookie quickly dubbed Big Bear by his Hitmen teammates. Brendl, the flashy 18-year-old right winger from the Czech Republic, shattered all kinds of Hitmen scoring records and attracted nationwide attention as the only rookie to win the WHL scoring derby in the league's 33-year history. . . . Brendl is said to rate a serious chance at being picked No. 1 overall at the National Hockey League's annual entry draft in Boston on June 26.

...

''The way he's played, he's got a lot of people talking about him possibly going No. 1 overall,'' said Hitmen head coach Dean Clark, whose club plays its first of four round-robin games against Ontario champion Belleville Bulls Sunday. ''He's come miles in maturity, and he's one of the best team-oriented guys we've got.''

...

''He's probably been one of the best players around the net in the Western Hockey League in a long time,'' said Brad Robson, Calgary- based Western Canadian head scout for the NHL's Dallas Stars.

''He's got a quick release, an excellent wrist shot and backhand. He's a smart player, very skilled, great hands -- probably one of the best offensive players to come around in a long, long time. He just keeps getting better and better.''

...

Brendl set Hitmen records for most goals (73), points (134), game-winners (12), short-handed goals (10) and highest plus-minus ranking (+68) in a season, and scored at least a point in 20 straight games from Dec. 2 to Jan. 26.. . . On March 23, at the WHL's awards banquet, Brendl carried away the Bob Clarke Trophy as the league's top scorer -- the only rookie ever to do so -- the Jim Piggott Memorial Trophy as rookie of the year and the plus-minus award.

''I like everything about junior hockey,'' said Brendl. ''Only one thing I hate -- when we are on the road, waiting after warmup for almost 30, 40 minutes (until the start of the game). Sitting in the dressing room, I'm getting sleepy. I really hate it.''

...

Added Ruth: ''Pavel is a nice kid. He's into golfing, and he loves his golfing . . . ''

...

''To get to the next level, he's got to improve his defensive awareness, and be stronger in the legs for the quick acceleration and the contact,'' said Robson.

''He's got so much skill that it's easy to criticize him -- but at the same time, he always has the puck.''


Last edited by JetsAlternate: 01-27-2017 at 09:23 AM.
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