If you haven’t heard yet, Sergei Gonchar yesterday suffered a broken wrist that will keep him out at least 6-8 weeks and Dan Bylsma announced that recently signed Martin Skoula will be replacing him. Ray Shero signed Skoula to a one year contract on September 29th after Skoula’s crazy summer. Skoula played the last three plus seasons for the Minnesota Wild becoming one of the most fan hated players that has ever played for them.
According to a friend of mine in Minnesota, Skoula would be better served being a statue. The word on him is that he is afraid of contact, players skate around him at will and his ability to make the worst play at the worst time is most disenchanting. Minnesota’s fans hatred for him was so rampant that Minnesota declined to extend his contract in the off season. Leading to him getting offered a tryout with the Florida Panthers at their training camp in Nova Scotia this year. Days after that offer Florida released him and he had a tryout with the Columbus Blue Jackets who proceeded to drop him a few days after that, leading to him signing with the Pittsburgh Penguins.
In the meantime Skoula has been listed as a 2010 Czech Republic Olympic team candidate. How do you get turned down by a bunch of teams then make a preliminary Olympic roster? If you think the Czech’s put every Czech NHLer on their roster, think again, ex Penguin Robert Lang who plays for Phoenix isn’t even on the roster.
Martin Skoula was once a solid defenseman in the NHL who has fallen on hard times at the young age of 29. It’s been said that Skoula was offered the position with the Penguins on the word of new Penguins assistant coach Tony Granato who was his head coach in Colorado. Number 41 Martin Skoula was drafted 17th overall in 1998, he has played 724 NHL games, he has played on the Czech Olympic team, has won a Stanley Cup with Colorado and is a plus thirteen over all even though the last two years he has been a -28. He has consistently played almost 80 games a season, but that is a lot easier to do when your not dishing it out.
Hopefully being turned down by a few not so good teams combined with the coaching and teaching’s of Dan Bylsma lights a fire under Skoula’s arse and turn his game around. If not, I’m sure there’s a Lovejoy waiting in the wings for a chance to play.