Monday, December 17, 2012

Absurd Goalie Monday: Martin Prusek

For most of the AGMs, they aren't that successful and fade away after the hype. However, this week's was probably one of the more solid back-ups in recent memory, but just seemed to get shuffled out. Along with his ability to succeed back in his native country-- he decided to not play the logjam game and take it away from the NHL. This week, the profile of Martin Prusek.

Prusek began his career in his native Czech Republic with HC Vitkovice in the 1994-95 season and would play 256 games for them from the 1994-95 season until the 2000-01 season, as well as having stints with the Czech national team as a spare goal in the World Hockey Championships in 1997 through 1999, where he received two Bronze medals and a Gold.

During his time playing in his homeland, Prusek was drafted by the Ottawa Senators in the 1999 Draft and he would come over to North America for the 2001-02 season. During that season, Prusek spent most his time with the AHL's Grand Rapids Griffins, posting a 18-8-5 record in 33 games, then going 2-3 in the post-season. Prusek's first season in North America was great as he was AHL First Team All-Star, shared the Hap Holmes Award for fewest goals against with Simon Lajeunesse and Mathieu Chouinard, as well as winning the Baz Bastien Award for AHL's Outstanding Goaltender. The only game that Prusek played in Ottawa that season was a loss.

Trying to match the success in 2002-03 would mostly be done in Ottawa, as Prusek compiled a 12-2-1 record in 18 games as Patrick Lalime's back-up, while then going 1-2-1 in four games with the AHL's Binghamton Senators. Prusek's only full season in Ottawa would be in the 2003-04 season and he would put together a 16-6-3 record in 29 games.

During the 2004-05 lockout, Prusek went home to play with HC Vitkovice for 14 games before he was loaned out to HC Znojmo for eight games. In those 22 games, Prusek combined for a 2.44 GAA during that time, though no records have been put out there.

When the NHL return, Prusek returned to the NHL but with the Columbus Blue Jackets, whom he signed with in the summer of 2005. However, a logjam in Columbus' net caused Prusek to play in the AHL with the Syracuse Crunch, finishing 12-7-1 in 23 games, while when he got up to Columbus-- he put up a 3-3-0 record in nine appearances.

Seeing himself getting pushed out, Prusek opted for the Russian Super League in the 2006-07 season with SKA St. Petersburg for 22 games that season, before returning to his home club in HC Vitkovice in the 2007-08 season for 45 games. In the 2008-09 season, Prusek joined the newly renamed KHL and played for 22 games with Spartak Moscow and 20 games for Dynamo Riga, while playing the 2009 World Championships with the Czech and went 2-1-0 in three appearances. Prusek returned to Dynamo Riga in the 2009-10 for 28 games before he would move back home.

During the 2010-11 season, Prusek started to suffer some ailments in his chest and it was revealed that Prusek had carditis, which is an inflamation of the heart and the muscles around it. Prusek only played two games with HC Vitkovice that season before retiring.

Prusek immediate was offered and took the goaltending coach position for HC Vitkovice, where he is today. He also has his hand in a European equipment company called M4G Hockey.

One of the more incredible back-ups for his time, it seemed that while he could have had a spot-- Prusek went to the familiar of overseas and knew he'd actually be able to find a spot and succeed in that position. With a 19 game over .500 record in the NHL, who knew what he could have done with a solid starting chance.

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