Goodnight and Good Luck – Mindaugas Kieras

And so the first of the 2010/11 Herd has left us with the news on the Bison website today (3/5/11) that #33 Mindaugas ‘Mindy’ Kieras will not be back in Bison colours for 2011/12.

What have we lost?

Bison have lost their chief point scorer from the blue line as well as the powerplay quarterback. The first powerplay unit was geared towards getting the puck to Mindy who would blast a shot which would either go in or someone gets the rebound on the doorstep to score. Bison also lose leadership in the sense that an alternate captain has left. Kieras has been a pro for over a decade and his leadership was obvious at times last season in moments when we needed it. We’ve also lost a thoroughly nice bloke to have around.

Where has he gone?

We don’t know…yet. There are many rumours flying about. Nicky Chinn chimed in on Twitter by saying that Kieras has left to sign for Slough with his compatriot in the Lithuanian national side, Darius Pliskauskas. Now with Chinny saying that, you’d assume it’s a forgone conclusion but that’s not stopped rumours of his joining other teams including Bracknell, Swindon and Hull in the Elite League.

Now Hull is unlikely because that would likely see Mindy as a 4th or 5th d man with minimal powerplay time which he enjoys. His style is to play a lot of minutes. Bracknell and Swindon are, for me steps backwards in terms of being a top EPL player. Slough is the most likely IF, and that’s still and if as nothing has been confirmed at time of writing, he’s staying in the EPL. It would not be unheard of for Mindy to head back to the Latvian league (where the top Lithuanian teams play now). I am withholding what I think and there’s too many intangibles for me to make an educated guess.

Who replaces him?

Nobody as of this moment. Kieras has been Bison’s only blueline import since the club joined the EPL which means the search is really on to find someone of a similar standard who can anchor the powerplay as well as be a positionally solid defender.

Jan Krajicek was a name mentioned to me as being floated about as being interested in playing for Steve Moria again but if the Bison are going for the split of 1 import d/3 import forwards as we have the last 2 seasons then Kieras’ replacement needs to be good, really bloody good. Then again Moria replaced Joe Ciccarrello with Viktor Kubenko so I’m not that worried at the moment.

Krajicek is a very good player though and I wouldn’t say no.

Final Words

All that’s left to say is “Thanks Mindy”. Mindy Kieras remains a top professional and a good lad. We’ll miss him off the ice as well as on. That’s British hockey, people move on. I can safely say I’ll always take a moment to applaud him onto the ice if he plays for another EPL team next season. I just hope he doesn’t.

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