Petr Nedvěd

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Petr Nedvěd
Petr Nedvěd 2014 Winter Olympics.jpg
Born (1971-12-09) December 9, 1971 (age 43)
Liberec, Czechoslovakia
Height 6 ft 3 in (191 cm)
Weight 196 lb (89 kg; 14 st 0 lb)
Position Centre
Shot Left
Played for Vancouver Canucks
St. Louis Blues
New York Rangers
Pittsburgh Penguins
Edmonton Oilers
HC Sparta Praha
Phoenix Coyotes
Philadelphia Flyers
HC Bílí Tygři Liberec
National team  Czech Republic 
 Canada
NHL Draft 2nd overall, 1990
Vancouver Canucks
Playing career 1990–2014

Petr Nedvěd (born December 9, 1971) is a Czech Canadian former professional ice hockey player who spent 15 seasons in the National Hockey League (NHL). Most recently he played centre for HC Bílí Tygři Liberec of the Czech Extraliga.

Biography[edit]

Nedvěd was born in Liberec, Czechoslovakia (now in the Czech Republic) to Jaroslav and Soňa ("Sonia") Nedvěd. He left Czechoslovakia as a refugee on January 2, 1989 at the age of 17 after playing in an international midget tournament in Calgary. Nedvěd was the star of the tournament, with 17 goals and nine assists. He decided to defect to Canada because of the limited opportunities in Czechoslovakia under communist rule, which was very strict regarding athletes leaving the country to pursue professional careers elsewhere. He did not tell his parents about the decision, and with $20 and the help of another Czech who defected, whom Nedvěd refuses to identify even today, he declared his defection at a Calgary police station. In an interview in the Newark Star Ledger, Nedvěd said that the "fear of regret" was the overriding reason to defect. For ten months until the fall of communism in Czechoslovakia in the Velvet Revolution, Nedvěd's parents were forced to make calls imploring Nedvěd to come home.

Nedvěd married supermodel Veronika Vařeková in 2004. In early 2006, when playing for the Phoenix Coyotes, Nedvěd asked for a trade to an Eastern Conference team to be closer to Vařeková who worked primarily in New York City. However during the summer of 2006, Nedvěd and Vařeková separated. He has since moved back to the Czech Republic. His brother, defenceman Jaroslav Nedvěd, is also a hockey player.

Playing career[edit]

After his defection, Nedvěd played one season for the Seattle Thunderbirds of the Western Hockey League and was drafted second overall by the Vancouver Canucks in the 1990 NHL Entry Draft after scoring 145 points in 71 games. Expected to be an instant star in the NHL, his first two seasons were a disappointment, as he struggled offensively and earned a reputation for soft play.[citation needed] In 1992–93, he finished with 38 goals and 71 points including a club record 15-game point-scoring streak. Despite this, though, he struggled in the playoffs and earned the ire of Canuck fans when he asked his idol Wayne Gretzky for a game stick immediately following the team's ouster from the playoffs by the Los Angeles Kings, an action fans felt symbolized the lack of commitment to winning from a player who scored just 3 goals in 28 playoff games as a Canuck.

Prior to the 1993–94 season, Nedvěd became involved in a bitter contract dispute with the Canucks which resulted in a lengthy holdout. While holding out, Nedvěd obtained his Canadian citizenship, and represented Canada at the 1994 Winter Olympics, winning a silver medal. His situation was finally resolved just before the NHL trade deadline, when he was signed by the St. Louis Blues, with Craig Janney ultimately awarded to the Canucks as compensation (and then dealt back to the Blues for a package of players). Nedvěd scored 20 points in 19 games, but again struggled in the playoffs as the Blues were swept in the first round.

Nedvěd's stay in St. Louis would prove a short one, as he was dealt to the New York Rangers for the lockout-shortened 1994–95. He finished the year with 23 points in 46 games.

For the 1995–96 season, Nedvěd was on the move again, this time dealt to the Pittsburgh Penguins in a blockbuster trade. In Pittsburgh, Nedvěd would have the best years of his career on an offensive team featuring superstars Mario Lemieux, Jaromir Jagr, and Ron Francis. In his first year in Pittsburgh, he recorded career highs of 45 goals and 99 points, and also put his playoff demons behind him by scoring 20 points in helping the Penguins reach the conference finals. Included in that was a monumental goal against the Washington Capitals in a quadruple-overtime thriller, which at 79:15 of OT was at the time the longest NHL game in 60 years. In 1996–97, he enjoyed another solid year, finishing with 33 goals and 71 points.

However, Nedvěd would find himself in another major contract dispute, and miss the entire 1997–98 season, instead spending most of the year toiling for lower-level teams in the Czech Republic. He remained unsigned at the start of the 1998–99 campaign, instead starting suiting up with the Las Vegas Thunder of the IHL. The situation would finally end two months into the season when he was dealt back to the New York Rangers in a deal involving Alexei Kovalev. The lengthy holdout would turn out to be a colossal blunder for Nedvěd, as he actually ended up with less money (once the millions of dollars he'd given up by missing a season were factored in) than had he accepted Pittsburgh's initial offer back in 1997, while at the same time he ended up missing an extended portion of the prime of his career and severely damaged his reputation around the league.[1]

Nedvěd's second stint in New York would be more successful than the first, and the six seasons he would spend with the Rangers would represent the most stable portion of his career. Although the team would struggle and miss the playoffs every year through this stretch, Nedvěd would be a consistent offensive performer, leading the Rangers in scoring twice and finishing second on another occasion. In 2000–01, playing with Jan Hlaváč and Radek Dvořák - a trio dubbed the 'Czech Mates' - he had the second-best season of his career, finishing with 32 goals and 78 points.

Suffering through a disappointing 2003–04 season, Nedvěd was dealt to the Edmonton Oilers at the trade deadline. Although Edmonton failed to make the playoffs, Nedvěd scored 15 points in 16 games as the team went on a late-season surge.

Nedvěd signed with the Phoenix Coyotes in 2004 and spent the 2004–05 NHL lockout with Sparta Praha in the Czech Republic. Returning to NHL action in 2005–06 with the Coyotes, he struggled badly, scoring just 2 goals and 11 points in 25 games. He was dealt to the Philadelphia Flyers, where his play improved somewhat and he scored a further 14 points in 28 games, and returned to the NHL playoffs for the first time since 1997.

The 2006–07 season again started poorly for Nedvěd, and he was placed on waivers on October 18 following a 9-1 blowout to the Buffalo Sabres, and assigned to the AHL for the first time in his career. After bouncing between the NHL and AHL for the next two months, Nedvěd was claimed on re-entry waivers by the Edmonton Oilers, who hoped he could provide the same sort of spark he did when acquired in 2004. However, he continued to struggle in Edmonton and finished the season with just 2 goals and 12 points in 40 games between Edmonton and Philadelphia.

On July 19, 2007, Nedvěd signed a one-year contract with HC Sparta Praha of the Czech Extraliga.[2]

On July 31, 2008, Nedvěd, attempting to make an NHL comeback, was invited to the New York Rangers training camp on a tryout basis. He was released by the Rangers on September 26 and returned to the Extraliga, this time with his hometown Bílí Tygři Liberec.

On May 4, 2012, at age 40, Nedvěd returned to the Czech Republic national team in the 2012 IIHF World Championship hosted in Finland and Sweden.[3] On May 10, 2012 Nedvěd became the oldest Team Czech Republic player to score a goal in World Championship. He scored game-winning goal against Latvia at the age of 40 years, 6 months and 1 day.

On January 6, 2014, Nedvěd was named to the Czech team for the 2014 Sochi Olympics. He played in five games as the Czech Republic finished 6th.

On March 13, 2014, Nedvěd played his last career game with Bílí Tygři Liberec in a 2:6 home loss against the HC Vítkovice Steel. He officially announced his retirement after the game.[4]

Transactions[edit]

Awards[edit]

Legacy[edit]

  • Ranked No. 71 on the all-time list of New York Rangers in the book 100 Ranger Greats (John Wiley & Sons, 2009).

Career statistics[edit]

    Regular Season   Playoffs
Season Team League GP G A Pts PIM GP G A Pts PIM
1989–90 Seattle Thunderbirds WHL 71 65 80 145 80 11 4 9 13 2
1990–91 Vancouver Canucks NHL 61 10 6 16 20 6 0 1 1 0
1991–92 Vancouver Canucks NHL 77 15 22 37 36 10 1 4 5 16
1992–93 Vancouver Canucks NHL 84 38 33 71 96 12 2 3 5 2
1993–94 St. Louis Blues NHL 19 6 14 20 8 4 0 1 1 4
1994–95 New York Rangers NHL 46 11 12 23 26 10 3 2 5 6
1995–96 Pittsburgh Penguins NHL 80 45 54 99 68 18 10 10 20 16
1996–97 Pittsburgh Penguins NHL 74 33 38 71 66 5 1 2 3 12
1997–98 AC Sparta Prague Czech 5 2 3 5 8 6 0 2 2 52
1997–98 Las Vegas Thunder IHL 3 3 3 6 4
1998–99 New York Rangers NHL 56 20 27 47 50
1998–99 Las Vegas Thunder IHL 13 8 10 18 32
1999–00 New York Rangers NHL 76 24 44 68 40
2000–01 New York Rangers NHL 79 32 46 78 54
2001–02 New York Rangers NHL 78 21 25 46 36
2002–03 New York Rangers NHL 78 27 31 58 64
2003–04 New York Rangers NHL 65 14 17 31 42
2003–04 Edmonton Oilers NHL 16 5 10 15 4
2004–05 AC Sparta Prague Czech 46 22 13 35 44 5 2 3 5 10
2005–06 Phoenix Coyotes NHL 25 2 9 11 34
2005–06 Philadelphia Flyers NHL 28 5 9 14 36 6 2 0 2 8
2006–07 Philadelphia Flyers NHL 21 1 6 7 18
2006–07 Philadelphia Phantoms AHL 14 4 7 11 10
2006–07 Edmonton Oilers NHL 19 1 4 5 10
2007–08 AC Sparta Prague Czech 45 20 5 25 98 4 0 1 1 20
2008–09 HC Bílí Tygři Liberec Czech 33 14 14 28 72 3 0 1 1 6
2009–10 HC Bílí Tygři Liberec Czech 35 15 20 35 94 15 8 9 17 16
2010–11 HC Bílí Tygři Liberec Czech 45 14 41 55 74 7 7 3 10 12
2011–12 HC Bílí Tygři Liberec Czech 49 24 37 61 64 11 6 7 13 34
2012–13 HC Bílí Tygři Liberec Czech 48 20 33 53 151
2013–14 HC Bílí Tygři Liberec Czech 49 19 31 50 103
NHL Totals 982 310 407 717 708 71 19 23 42 64

International play[edit]

Petr Nedvěd
Medal record
Competitor for  Canada
Olympic Games
Silver 1994 Lillehammer Ice hockey
Competitor for  Czech Republic
World Championships
Bronze 2012 Helsinki Ice hockey

International statistics[edit]

Year Event Team GP G A Pts PIM
1993–94 Canada 17 19 12 31 16
1994 Winter Olympics Canada 8 5 1 6 6
1996 World Cup of Hockey Czech Republic 3 0 1 1 8
2012 IIHF World Championship Czech Republic 9 3 2 5 2
2014 Winter Olympics Czech Republic 5 0 1 1 4
Int'l Totals 25 8 5 13 20

References[edit]

  1. ^ [1]
  2. ^ Associated Press (2007). "Czech forward Petr Nedvěd leaves NHL to play for Czech club on 1-year deal". International Herald Tribune. Retrieved 2007-07-19. [dead link]
  3. ^ "Hokej.cz". Retrieved 2012-05-05. 
  4. ^ "Former NHL forward Petr Nedved announces retirement from hockey". NHL.com. March 14, 2014. Retrieved March 15, 2014. 

External links[edit]

Preceded by
Jason Herter
Vancouver Canucks first round draft pick
1990
Succeeded by
Shawn Antoski