Building the Herd – Viktor KubenkoPosted: 25/10/2011
#3 Viktor Kubenko
Born: Zvolen, Slovakia
Announced as signed: Bison website, 20th October
Well, this is different. Having to write a Building the Herd in October wasn’t what I thought would happen this season but such is life. It throws surprises at you and this one is a nice surprise for us all I believe. With the news that Marek Dubec would be leaving the Herd, Steve Moria acted quickly in securing the return to the Herd of last season’s top points scorer and fan favourite Viktor Kubenko.
The 6’3”, 209lbs Slovakian who can play as a centre or left wing joined the Bison for his first season in Britain last season and after a slowish start points wise quickly became one of the most feared forwards in the league. Kubenko had a career year with the Bison in 2010/11 as he scored 48 goals and 36 assists for 84 points in 53 games on his way to earning an EPL 2nd team all star spot.
When it was announced that Kubenko would not be coming back in the summer, Kubenko signed for HC Detva in the Slovak 2nd division against teams like Ondrej Lauko’s HC Topolcany. Detva are currently 8th with a record of 6-6-1. Kubenko played in Friday night’s game for Detva as they defeated Dukla Michalovce on penalties where he picked up an assist. Kubenko’s numbers currently are 13 games played with 4 goals and 9 assists for 13 points including 2 game winning goals and 16 penalty minutes. Kubenko is currently Detva’s top scorer.
Kubenko is a signing that pleases very much everyone related to the Bison. After a 2010/11 campaign where he could do virtually no wrong in the eyes of the Basingstoke faithful this signing works on a number of ways.
On a basic level, fans who were perhaps getting frustrated with what could be termed inconsistency from the Bison now get a player to watch who they remember playing brilliantly last season. It might quieten some of Moria’s critics for the moment.
On the ice it solves the problem that the Bison had with Dubec. Dubec didn’t really fit playing with either Moria or Volrab at centre but Kubenko, who spent most of the later part of the season on a line with Moria and Ben Davies. With Moria and Kubenko paired together (likely with Miller) it leaves Volrab knowing who he’ll be working with in the form of Bronnimann and Chinn and maybe things will settle down a bit more. Obviously things can get changed up as needs be but the chopping and changing of lines that happened with Dubec in the lineup will likely come to an end allowing for a bit more stability.
The main issue with Viktor last year was at times, when the Bison were behind in games mainly, he tried to do too much be himself. Now yes, Kubenko could take the team on his back and carry games (MK in the final game of the regular season for example) but at times he seemed to think he had to do it all himself. If anything he has a bit of a better supporting cast this time around which includes Petran scoring from the back end, a third line that looks like it will contribute more points than it did last season and an added punch in the Brit scoring by having players like Chinn, Miller and Bronnimann who are accustomed to the level and style of EPL and play top line minutes.
We do have to prepare ourselves a bit, this may not go according to plan. It’s a sensible move by Moria to bring back someone who played so well last season. The reasons why he initially didn’t come back (that he wanted to be closer to his family) did leave me confused as to why he’d chosen to come back however you can’t look a gift horse in the mouth as they say.
Along with Kristofferson and Rempel I had Kubenko as one of the best imports in the EPL last season. Yes the EPL has changed and is a lot more open in terms of who will win on any given night and the standard has improved but Kubenko is worth taking a gamble on in the situation.
The hashtag is out of retirement so welcome back Vik. Slovak Machine Never Breaks!