Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Focus on a Thrasher: Ondrej Pavelec

Back-to-back goalies on "Focus on a Thrasher." I love it! We saw far too much of Ondrej last season. Don't get me wrong, I don't mind seeing Pavs. I enjoy watching him play when I can and he is certainly easy on the eyes. Unfortunately if I am seeing him, that means that our starting goalie, Kari Lehtonen, is out with injury. We tend to see Pavs in November.

Being that it is the summer, fans have many discussions about what to do with our three goalies. Nothing says summer like BBQ, sun burn and a good Pavs vs Moose vs Kari thread on the web boards. Hopefully Pavs will stay in Chicago and we wont' see much of him because Kari will be VERY healthy this season. And hopefully Pavs will have an outstanding season in Chicago.

This is one of my favorite hockey pictures I've ever taken, it seems a good place to start for learning about Ondrej.

Ondrej Pavelec was born August 31, 1987 (someone has a birthday coming up!) in Kladno, Czechoslovakia.

Pavs started his junior hockey in the Czech Republic with Kladno U17. He played 38 games and had a 2.22 GAA. The 2004-05 season presented him with an opportunity. Ondrej was given the chance to go to play with the Sparta junior team, a team that his coach, Jaromir Sindel was starting to coach. Sparta had just acquired a Slovakian goalkeeper though and Pavs was worried that he wouldn't see much starting time and decided to stay in Kladno.

The decision was a wise one. Pavs went from mediocrity to being one of the best goalies in the league. He had never gone to any major tournament until 2004 Junior World Cup in August in the Czech Republic and Slovakia. He was a starting goalie for the Czech team and did very well. The Czechs finished second after losing to Canada in the final. Pavelec did well but left the series with an injury. After a game against Russia, a fight began between the players and one of the Russian players came to Pavelec, crosschecked him and he hit the ice with his head, suffering a mild concussion.

Pavelec was drafted in the first round of the 2005 CHL Import Draft by the Cape Breton Screaming Eagles of the (QMJHL). He played two seasons with the club and helped them to a semi-final finish in the 2006–2007 season. He led the league with a .929 save percentage and his 2.51 GAA was second overall during the regular season. In the 2005 NHL Entry Draft, Ondrej was selected in the 2nd round (41st overall).

* Pavs racked up some awards while in the QMJHL
* Jacques Plante Memorial Trophy (QMJHL's lowest GAA) - 2006, 2007
* Raymond Lagacé Trophy (QMJHL's defensive rookie of the year) - 2006
* RDS Cup (QMJHL's rookie of the year) - 2006
* QMJHL First All-Star Team - 2006, 2007
* QMJHL All-Rookie Team - 2006

Pavs signed a contract with Atlanta in 2007 and started the 2007-08 season with the Chicago Wolves. Pavs played 52 games and had a SV% of .911 and a GAA of 2.77. That season Ondrej lead his Wolves all the way to the AHL Calder Cup defeating the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins.

Pavs saw some NHL action that season too getting called up for 7 games. Ondrej made his NHL debut when he had to relieve my beloved Johan Hedberg after Moose let in 5 goals on 24 shots in a game against Tampa Bay. Ondrej played the third period stopping 5 of 6 shots.

Pavs started the 2008-09 season with the Wolves, but as has been common, got the call up in November. He played 12 games for the Thrashers last season and 40 for the Chicago Wolves.

Can't wait to see you at training camp, Pavs! Good luck with the Wolves (if that's where you stay) and hopefully we won't see much of you in Atlanta if it is at the expense of Lehtonen's groin or back.


Ms. Conduct August 13, 2009 at 12:09 AM  

Teehee! I love the last one especially.

Sunshine36616 August 13, 2009 at 3:57 AM  

Lol, thanks! It's even funnier when you see the other pictures. I took like 10 pictures while he was sitting there. This one he is kind of peeking over like "is she ever gonna stop??"

The Canadian August 13, 2009 at 9:10 AM  

Oh I agree. I love that last picture. So great with the massive expansion of wall in the background.

Hockey season is soooo closeeeee...

artandhockey August 13, 2009 at 1:05 PM  

Why is it that those mask/helmets make every wearer sooo attractive? The eyes have it-the 'burquas' ;-)of hockey?
Masks off and the magic is fleeting...well, almost.

Good photos, and I do, too, love the 'quizzy one against the wall' ;-)

Step-Anka Štěpánka June 1, 2010 at 2:55 PM  

This is such a nice article about Ondra :) He's great goalie


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