Goodnight and Good Luck – Marcel Petran

I was just thinking that it’s been a while since I did one of these and then boom, I get to write one again. This morning we were greeted with the news that Marcel Petran would not be returning to the Bison for 2012/13.


What have we lost?

In Petran we’ve lost one of the highest scoring defencemen in the EPL. 44 points (18 goals + 26 assists) in 54 games in the regular season is a decent return for an import defender. A fair proportion of those goals and assists came as a result of Petran’s absolute cannon of a shot that almost put a hole in some EPL netminders last season. After 2 years of Mindy Kieras who had a big shot but sometimes lacked the accuracy, Petran seemed to have more control over the direction of his slapshot which saw him score or give team mates a chance to tidy up and put in rebounds.

He was also something that we didn’t see very often in the EPL which was an Eastern European defenceman who liked to take the body every once in a while. Whilst I agree with some of the criticisms levelled at him, (more on that at the end) I don’t agree with some people I spoke to over the course of the season who felt that he didn’t hit enough. Petran wasn’t a hitting machine but he picked his spots and when he could deliver a bit hit he would do so.

Petran can hit, join the rush, make the pass out of the zone and occasionally score. Considering where he’s ended up, those traits will make him very popular.


Where’s he gone?

Marcel was announced today (Wednesday 23/5) as having joined Oli Bronnimann and former defensive partner Sam Oakford at Bracknell.

Firstly, hats off to the Bees PR writer as that is a classic bad pun headline and I appreciate that sort of thing. Secondly with the news out yesterday that Sergejs Louskins had left for Bisons de Neuilly-sur-Marne in France’s second tier, it’s a good signal to Bees fans that they moved quickly not only to fill that import slot but also that they wanted to address their pretty poor transitional play which Petran will help in spades. Thirdly, they’re being honest. The Bison are transitioning as an organisation, as will Slough be and the Bees aren’t afraid to pick up players they think will help the cause. Can’t say fairer than that but how well it works remains to be seen.


Who replaces him?

No word yet from Coach Sheppard but Mindy Kieras rumours are obviously flying around. Nothing official has been released anywhere though so wait and see is the position we’re in.


Final thoughts

In some ways, Marcel Petran was a signing that was a good simile for last season; well intentioned, good in some areas but ultimately not quite what was needed.

Petran is an EPL level defenceman, I don’t think many people will argue with that but I will confess that the Bees signing him, whilst it makes sense of a few levels leaves me thinking they’ve traded sideways rather than upwards on the whole. Louskins didn’t score the points but was quite defensively solid which they’ve now traded for Petran who scores points but isn’t nearly as positionally sound as the man he replaces.

I can understand why Bracknell have signed Marcel; stick him on a line with Sam Oakford and that’s a decent partnership that can play top line minutes. One is the stay at home guy, the other joins the attack. Only issue is what if Oakford gets injured or has a massive tail off in form? Petran has a terrible habit of leaving his partner on the blueline facing the 2 on 1 and Oakford on his day can handle those. If he’s carrying a knock of someone else is out there it could all go wrong.

Marcel is a charismatic guy who was popular with the fans. We’ll all miss the jazz hands and Mexican waves and the booming slapshots that kill the keeper. I’ll be paying attention to how he does at Bracknell because their minor tweaks could work very well or not at all. All the best, big man.


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