Goodnight and Good Luck – Jaroslav Cesky

With the announcement of Tomas Karpov had joined the Herd, it meant a confirmed farewell to one of last season’s squad in the form of Jaroslav Cesky.

 

What have we lost?

I appreciate that for some, Cesky divided opinion but lets look at his attributes here. He was originally brought in to add extra fire power to the Bison line up but his role changed over his time with the Herd. Cesky was able to put the puck in the back of the net but Bison fans did get to see a grittier edge to his game given some of the situations he was put in. At times on a more hard nosed third line, especially when Nicky Watt joined the Herd, Cesky was often found in front of the net getting hacked and whacked like a defencemen were trying to chop down a tree. It was that tenacity that Bison fans only got to see when watching him on a basis that led to 2 of the Bison’s 3 goals in the playoff quarter final first leg in Swindon.

 

Where has he gone?

At the moment we don’t know but there have been rumours of a reunion with former partner Michal Pinc at Peterborough as part of a re-tooled set of imports for the Phantoms have been circulating for a while.

 

Who replaces him?

Karpov is who people will say is the direct replacement but in terms of a 2nd line scoring winger, there’s an argument that Tim Burrows is a more direct positional replacement. Nobody really takes over Cesky’s role directly.

 

Final thoughts:

It was always going to be a gamble; Sheppard released defenceman Tomas Fojtik and replaced him with another import forward. Jaroslav Cesky was part of a calculated plan by Doug Sheppard to try and bring a trophy to Basingstoke and it didn’t work and the decision to sign Cesky will be the focal point for many as the decision that might have cost the Bison silverware in 2012/13. That does do a bit of disservice to a few people; Guildford who did actually play some excellent hockey, the rest of the team who were befallen some unfortunate circumstances when it came to injuries and Cesky who I thought actually played decent hockey at times.

There are some who felt that, like Chambers there were times when Cesky went missing at crucial situations but arguably many players did at times last season and, as mentioned above he scored 2 massive goals in a pressure situation. There are some who felt that he never got stuck in at times but there were many occasions where it was Cesky who stood at the top of the crease and took a merciless beating and drew defenders to give space to other players to convert chances. There were some that felt he lost his temper at times…and I was one of them. That said having a bit of a hot head is not necessarily bad thing and the introduction of Watt did stop Cesky taking matters into his own hands quite so much.

I think if I’m honest I can sum up my feelings thus; Jaroslav Cesky is a good hockey player. He has a very specific skill set and has a real eye for goal. At times he took daft penalties but he went out, did his thing and it worked well. He was part of the team that gave the Bison its best league finish for years. However the plan from last season didn’t work, Sheppard has changed how the team is made up and Cesky isn’t part of that. The return to having an import defenceman and a change to having improved depth of British players means there isn’t a space for Cesky any more as part of the Bison. Such is hockey sometimes.

Whatever Cesky decides to do, be it play on or hang them up, the contribution he made was important and one of the images of the Bison finally making the playoff weekend will be of Jaro sliding on his knees in celebration. Also the guy has a medal for heroism, that’s pretty awesome too.

All the best Jaroslav, wherever you end up.

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