Remembering Pavol Demitra – as exciting as they come

It’s perhaps what every athlete, their families, front office personnel, team owners and sports fans fear most…a plane crash.

In what was absolutely devastating news to the hockey world today, we all learned that a tragic accident occurred in Russia – killing more than 30 members of the KHL’s Lokomotiv organization.

Among the lives lost was former LA King Pavol Demitra.

It’s interesting when you think about it, some players are part of a team for years and really don’t make much of an impression. Others, in a relatively short time, can become very memorable.

Demitra was the latter.

He played only 58 regular season games for the Kings, during the 2005-06 season. However, he posted 62 points – third best on the team – and was the only point-a-game player on the roster. Additionally, his 25 goals were just one shy of leader Mike Cammalleri – who played in 80 games.

Demitra also led the team with a plus-21 rating. And a remarkable five of his 25 goals were scored short-handed.

Needless to say, when he was on the ice, fans and opponents paid attention.

From his spectacular head-fake shootout goals, to scoring a hat-trick on hat night, he knew how to make an impression on those watching the game.

Regardless, he wasn’t long for the Kings organization. Originally signed as a free agent in August 2005, he was dealt to Minnesota at the 2006 NHL Draft.

The move came with a bit of controversy at the time and was Dean Lombardi‘s first big swing as the new Kings’ General Manager. In return, he received Patrick O’Sullivan and a first round draft choice – which became Trevor Lewis.

Demitra eventually landed with the Canucks prior to the 2008-09 season. In a playoff game against Chicago that May he inured his shoulder, causing him to miss much of the 2009-10 season.

Yet, he knew that the 2010 Winter Olympics would be his swan song on the international stage and put in the necessary work to make it back in time.

Having played in five World Championships, two World Cups and two Olympics previously - from the outside looking in - this looked to be the last hurrah for a Slovakian team that featured many players with current and former ties to the Kings – including Demitra, Michal Handzus, Ziggy Palffy, Lubomir Visnovsky and Jozef Stumpel.

The Slova-Kings were, by far, the most exciting team to watch at the Olympics.  Canada and the U.S. may have played two of the most thrilling games, but it was the ageless Slovaks who played inspired hockey throughout the two weeks.

Demitra led all players at the Olympics with 10 points (3 goals and 7 assists).

Selected highlights from the tournament included a win over Russia in the early games, with Demitra scoring in the seventh round of the shootout (pictured above, as he put one past Ilya Bryzgalov…video of the goal can be found in a link down below too).

In the moment that will live forever in my brain, Demitra nearly beat Team Canada in the semi-finals. Trailing 3-0 after two periods, Slovakia scored two goals in the third to make it a close game. Then, with nine seconds left he was robbed by Roberto Luongo on a shot that should have gone in.

Demitra continued to elevate his play in the bronze medal game as well. He had points on all three Slovakia goals in the second period (1 goal, 2 assists) to put his team up 3-1. However, Finland netted four goals in the third to take the bronze medal.

That was pretty much the final time most North American hockey fans would see Demitra.   He signed on last summer to play in the KHL and today’s flight was scheduled to take him and the team to their season opening game.

It’s with a heavy heart that we say goodbye to #38.

Rest in peace Pavol.

The Mayor
www.twitter.com/MayorNHL
www.facebook.com/MayorsManor

note: photo courtesy of Cris Bouroncle / AFP Photo

video of the Olympic shootout goal (the first 10 seconds are magnificent)…

video of Demitra being robbed by Luongo…

Recent Articles

Quick Kings Howard Wings NHL

Puck Probability: Odds for Kings at Red Wings, October 31

After giving Martin Jones the start in net last night in Pittsburgh, Kings coach Darryl Sutter is expected to go back to his ace, Jonathan Quick, against Detroit. The former Conn Smythe winner is just 3-7-1 in 11 career games played at Joe Louis Arena and will also be looking to get his first road [...]

kings

Flashback Friday: Halloween Pics from Kings 2011 Player’s Party

The following article was first published in 2011. We share it again for those who either missed it the first time or just want to re-live the laughs… On Tuesday, there may have been some other players dressed up as the Kings because coach Terry Murray‘s team just didn’t look like themselves in a 3-0 [...]

Datsyuk Red Wings

Things You May Not Know: Kings-Red Wings Edition

With the Kings winless in their two games at opposite ends of Pennsylvania, they’re now set to take on the Red Wings at the famed Joe Louis Arena. Before they drop the puck in Detroit, we have a few tidbits that will make you sound smart while watching the action on TV or hanging out [...]

Major News Items

Manchester Monarchs MayorsManor Kings by Blake Gumprecht

MAJOR NEWS: Kings Preparing To Move Top Prospects To SoCal

Note to webmasters/reporters: When recapping news or interviews from this site please remember to include a link to www.MayorsManor.com Follow @mayorNHL In a story that MayorsManor has been chasing for the … [Read More...]

More Prospect News