Thursday, January 7, 2010

Yotes: Prucha on the Rise. . .

Helmet tip to the good folks at for putting together a "Prucha Goal Watch" on their site. I was going to do the same, but you know what they say about great minds...

Anyway, in all its glory, you can view Prucha's 9 - count 'em 9 - goals so far this season - Prucha Goal Watch!

In short, and this will be short, I've kept up with the Coyotes about as much as any Rangers fan in New York could. I watch all the games I possibly can (probably 95% so far in some capacity) and even if I miss, make sure I watch Prucha's shifts on the games I Tivo.

My conclusion:

The kid is okay.

He's more than okay.

He's great.

What started after trade deadline last season - a quiet, slow, building of confidence with puck carrying, movement in the offensive zone, using the boards, etc - has now grown into the most full out confidence I've seen from the Czech forward in, well, let's just say way too long.

The Coyotes system is perfect for a guy like Pete. Not saying other ones wouldn't be, but this certainly has given him an opportunity to play a role and be productive, even if he doesn't score.

Coyotes players swarm, provide excellent puck support to one another. If one guy loses it, someone is right behind them.

Prucha works in this. He's the type of player that if he loses the puck, he does everything to get it back, and to his credit, he very often does. Now, he gets it back for teammates too. He backchecks and often is caught making a great defensive play because he's so fast (you listening TR?). On the powerplays he and his Czech mates create a great down low cycle on the puck.

It's refreshing. Truly refreshing.

But the biggest difference as of late - two lovely and glorious goals earlier in the season: one on butt, one on stomach, notwithstanding - has been his ability to do all the above AND shoot the puck.

When Prucha scored his 8th of the season versus Vancouver on 12/29, he had scored more goals than any year since 2006-2007 when he scored 22. And his shooting % was higher than it had been since then as well.

Earlier in the year, he was getting robbed by goalies, literally highlight reel robs.

But he didn't quit. Like we'd expect any differently? Please.

He never quits.

So he stuck with it and he's now shooting, and shooting with a confidence. The more goals he scores, the more the confidence rises.

His goal versus Edmonton on Tuesday, versus former coach Tom Renney, was another example of such. He was passed the puck in the slot and he shot, without thinking, just shot. Puck in net. Goal #9 on the year.

It's refreshing he's shooting. It's wonderful he's scoring.

But best of all, it's just the best thing in the world that he's happy and he's playing.

Good stuff in the desert. And #16 is a big part of that.


Anonymous said...

Pruuuuuuuuuuu! He's winking. Awesome for us, scary for opponents!

Kerri said...


I can't tell you how exciting it is to see Prucha playing at this level.

Seriously, I feel like the hockey gods are just so amazed at the lack of give up in this kid that they have to test him and test him to see how far he can go.

He slowly regained his confidence in the waning months of the season last year. And finally, he has the chance to really break out this season, and he gets robbed over and over again by goaltenders like nothing I have ever seen before. His whole line was dominating and yet unable to put a puck in!

Finally, FINALLY the points are coming, the goals are coming, and you can just see the confidence oozing out of the guy. Sometimes he makes a kamikaze play right through the slot towards the net, and I can't help but feel like we've been so, so deprived the past few seasons.

I'm just so happy to see him succeed! And it seems like we couldn't be talking about the same player we were all crying over last year. I said so many times I wasn't sure if he could get it back.

What was I thinking? This kid is do-or-die, all effort, all of the time. Nothing can stop him. And I should have realized that... because, after all, that's the reason we love him so much.

Callahan is all effort. Dubi is effort, Avery is effort. But there is such a severe distinction between the hard work put in by thoses guys, and the chaos that is little Petr Prucha. I wish some of our guys had just a touch of his on-ice madness.

kels said...

Amen Kerri!

It's nice to see someone smiling on the kid that always smiles. :)

It's funny what you said but you're right. We all thought (or more likely hoped) he would, could, should be able to get back to where he once was, but there was always this little nagging (did TR ruin him?) hesitation.

But even if he never scores 30, we still had to believe he'd make it work. He'd be effective. He'd do something.

All the better it's goal scoring though bc even though all the rest of what he and his teammates do is so important, the Coyotes need some pucks in the nets too.

Oh, and yes, yes. . . NYRs could totally use someone with that never-say-die attitude and work ethic.

But he is one in a million. ;)

Anonymous said...

Geez, guys, your writing is so beautiful that I'm tempted to quote every line from your comments and paste it up on my wall or something. ;)

Since I didn't follow the Rangers back when Prucha was a rookie (or sophomore) I've never really seen this explosion of goals from him. I mean, I've obviously seen the tireless, unrelenting effort game in and game out, but it's been so frustrating not to see him get rewarded for his efforts. But this...this is incredible. It's exhilirating! Just thinking about it brings a smile to my face, lol. Sounds cheesy, but it's true, and only Prucha can have that effect. I think I mentioned this to Kels, but the most curious thing about this whole thing is seeing Prucha's name on the boxscore of the game recap and NOT having a major heart attack, lol. I don't get shocked when he scores anymore, because I'm getting used to it.

Ooooh yes, and is this something I could TOTALLY get used to! =)

PS, So upset I missed the Prucha feistiness, though...and a helmet-less Prucha!