New Jersey Devils European League Roundup: Week 10

For lack of a picture of Zidlicky playing for Kladno, here's one of Zidlicky playing for New Jersey. - Jim O'Connor-US PRESSWIRE

On this week's look at the New Jersey Devils players performing abroad in Europe, Artur Gavrus racked up assists, Marek Zidlicky continued to be the top defenseman in scoring in the Czech league, Vladimir Zharkov scored, and Ilya Kovalchuk got his groove on.

Since David Clarkson left Red Bull and Anton Volchenkov remains on the shelf, there are now only four New Jersey Devils playing in Europe. Fortunately, three of them continue to make some noise for their respective teams. It was a positive week for the Devils in terms of production as each of them put points on the board. Even Vladimir Zharkov scored a goal recently. As their respective seasons move on, they all have something to build on. At the same time, their respective teams will be focusing on getting results. All four clubs are in the upper end of their league, but each has something to shoot for except for SKA St. Petersburg. They have the best record in the KHL after all games played on November 28, 2012.

Stats

All stats include all games played through November 28, 2012.

Player League Team GP G A P PIM +/- SOG
Ilya Kovalchuk KHL SKA St. Petersburg 23 12 18 30 10 15 81
Marek Zidlicky Czech HC Kladno 23 2 20 22 26 11 -
Artur Gavrus Belarus HC Neman 15 5 7 12 0 10 49
Vladimir Zharkov KHL CSKA Moscow 27 4 1 5 2 0 47
Anton Volchenkov KHL Torpedo Nizhny Novgorod 3 0 0 0 4 -2 0

Updates

Ilya Kovalchuk continues to lead SKA in scoring and is among league leaders. He had a fairly quiet week in terms of production, though. While he put up 14 shots in three games, his lone point was the first goal in a 3-2 loss to Donbass on Wednesday, November 28. He was held pointless in SKA's 3-2 overtime win over Dinamo Minsk and their 4-3 win over Vityaz Chekov. His plus-minus dropped -2 over the three games, he took no penalties, and he still played a lot of minutes because he's Ilya Kovalchuk. He should feel pretty good about SKA leading the Bobrov Division, the Western Conference, and the KHL in terms of record, though. Besides, if he's getting 5 or 6 shots a game, then the points will come.

Vladimir Zharkov has been a mainstay of the bottom six forwards for CSKA Moscow. He does what one would expect in that role. He has a couple of shots, he gets about 12-13 minutes, and he doesn't hurt you too bad. He was a -1 and got two shots on net in CSKA's 3-2 shootout win over the Volchenkov-less Torpedo Niznhy Novgorod. Zharkov's efforts led to a goal in CSKA's most recent game against Metallurg Novokuznetsk. He got the fourth goal in a 4-1 win, which was coincidentally his fourth of the season. When you're in the bottom six, all goals are good. CSKA is currently fourth in the West and second in the Tarasov Division, four points behind Lokomotiv. If CSKA can get going on a streak of results, then they may be able to catch up.

Heading over to the Czech Extraleague, Kladno continues to be the talented team yet sitting in fourth place. Don't blame Marek Zidlicky. He's certainly contributing in a big way. In fact, he's leading all defensemen in the Czech Extraleague in scoring and he's fourth among all skaters on his team. Zidlicky scored his second goal of the season and picked up a secondary assist in a 4-3 win against league-leading Skoda Plzen HC. His goal held up as the eventual game winner. Zidlicky continued the production with two assists in a 5-4 loss against HC Litvinov Verva. Zidlicky finished even between both games and only one penalty for holding. That loss to Litvinov put them in a tie in points with Litvinov, so that's a disappointment. While Kladno is just a point behind third-place HC Kometa Brno, Brno has games in hand. It's still a tight race in the Extraleague so no one's out of it yet.

Over in the Belarus Extraleague, HC Neman Grodno is one of three teams that are just above everyone else in the standings. They're in third and it's currently safe with a 13 point lead over fourth-place Shaktar Soligorsk. Artur Gavrus has enjoyed a bloom in points with five assists in his last three games. Gavrus was excellent in Neman's 3-0 win over Junior as the Devils prospect put up three assists and eight shots. Gavrus contributed an assist and three shots in a 6-4 win over HC Vitebsk; and he tallied an assist and a shot in Neman's 11-2 blowout of Khimik-SKA Novopolotsk. While the quality of the league may still yield questions, Gavrus extended his point streak to four games, and that's always good to see from a developing player.

Ilya Kovalchuk Dance Interlude

Thanks to Greg Wyshynski for putting this up on Puck Daddy. Warning: You may get served by watching this.

Power Rankings

Power Ranking: Week 10 Change
1 Zidlicky 1 G, 3 A in GP and top scoring d-man in league +2
2 Gavrus 5 A in 3 GP is great, keep up the shooting -1
3 Kovalchuk Only 1 G, still blasting SOG, dancing needs work -1
4 Zharkov Got a goal, still limited in minutes on CSKA -
N/A Volchenkov Injured -

Since it doesn't appear Clarkson will return to Europe anytime soon, I've taken him off this list. Zidlicky really had a strong two games and I decided to put him on top for his recent and overall production with Kladno. Don't misunderstand, I'm appreciative of what Gavrus is doing now with Neman. It's a bit of a toss-up. Still, all four players have something to smile about and they're on teams that are doing well in their leagues. That's something Devils fans can smile about. In any case, please leave your thoughts on how the players are doing, Kovalchuk's dancing skillset, and other relevant points in the comments. Thank you for reading.

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