Eurotrash, Part II: 2006-2010

When we last left our heroes, Krzysztof Oliwa was not only the EuroPIM winner of the NHL with 247 but almost a Stanley Cup winner (along with fellow neanderthal Chris Simon, he of the 250 PM), as the Flames lost in 7 to the juggernaut that was Tampa Bay.

Four months later he was a member of Podhale Nowy Tag, who sadly lost to Cracovia in Runda 1 of the playoffs. The rest of his NHL career: 3 games with the Devils in 2005-2006, 0 G, 0 A, 0 PM. Pożegnanie, Krzysztof Artur Oliwa.

With the owners’ lockout of 2004-2005 would come the salary cap, the shootout, a few major moves (Pronger to the Oilers, the Heatley/Hossa trade, Forsberg to the Flyers, Lindros to the Leafs, and of course Todd Fedoruk to the Mighty Ducks), and zero tolerance towards goons. Between 2000 and 2004, Andrei Nazarov and Oliwa regularly racked up 150+ PM and Zdeno Chara wasn’t far behind– a far cry from Ulf Samuelsson’s glory days, or even Oliwa’s late 90s glory days, but still worth watching. Since 2006, only one European NHLer has exceeded 150 PM in a season even once– the immortal Evgeny Artyukhin, barely (151 PM), for 2008-2009 Tampa Bay.

Who are the top EuroPIM “scorers” since the lockout? Below is a season-by-season breakdown:

2005-2006
Euro rank / Overall rank / Player / Total PM / Born

1. #16 Jarkko Ruutu 142 Finland
2. #20 Zdeno Chara 135 Slovakia
3. #39 Ruslan Salei 114 Belarus
4. #59 Sergei Gonchar 100 Russia
5. #64 Andreas Lilja 98 Sweden
6. #66 Darius Kasparaitis 97 Lithuania
7. #67 Jaroslav Spacek 96 Czech Republic
8. #69 Pavel Kubina 96 Czech Republic
9. #78 Mattias Ohlund 92 Sweden
10. #82 Vitaly Vishnevski 91 Ukraine

Ruutu, who during the lockout racked up a record 215 PM in only 50 games for Helsingin IFK of SM-liiga, wins the EuroPIM title for the first, but not the last, time. Gonchar (in his debut as a Pen) breaks 100 PM, and the top ten, for the only time in his career to date. Kasparaitis would only play one more half-season with the Rangers before retiring. Spacek’s PM would drop after being traded from the Blackhawks to the Oilers (1.6 per game vs. 0.77 per game)– perhaps team effects, as his Chicago teammates racked up more PIM (1518 total, counting Matthew Barnaby, Martin LaPointe, Mark Bell, even brother of Jarkko Tuomo Ruutu, among others) than his Edmonton teammates (1182 total, out of which no one topped 100 PIM; even Le Grande Georges Laraque only had 73 in 72 games). Stalwart Canuck D Ohlund also makes his first appearance among the top ten. Vishnevski barely edges Michal Rozsival (in his debut as a Ranger) and Artyukhin by one PIM for 10th.

2006-2007
1. #7 Alexander Svitov 145 Russia
2. #8 Raitis Ivanans 140 Latvia
3. #20 Jarkko Ruutu 125 Finland
4. #25 Ole-Kristian Tollefsen 123 Norway
5. #43 Rostislav Klesla 105 Czech Republic
6. #48 Ruslan Salei 102 Belarus
7. #49 Andrei Meszaros 102 Slovakia
8. #51 Zdeno Chara 100 Slovakia
9. #61 Tuomo Ruutu 95 Finland
10. #66 Alexei Zhitnik 92 Ukraine

Columbus’s Alexander Svitov, who would return to Omsk in the offseason, won the EuroPIM title by a fight over (but not with) LA King Raitis Ivanans in the Latvian Assassin’s rookie season (only one fight in four games with Montreal the previous season). Both Ruutus crack the top ten, also not for the last time. Norway’s bravest son Tollefsen, the future Flyer, sets a career high in PIM; future Flyer Meszaros and then-Flyer/Islander/Thrasher Zhitnik (who as an LA King himself was once referred to as “Shitnik”) also make the top ten.

2007-2008
1. #21 Jarkko Ruutu 138 Finland
2. #24 Raitis Ivanans 134 Latvia
3. #31 Pavel Kubina 116 Czech Republic
4. #34 Zdeno Chara 114 Slovakia
5. #36 Ole-Kristian Tollefsen 111 Norway
6. #57 Ruslan Salei 98 Belarus
7. #64 Andreas Lilja 93 Sweden
8. #66 Nik Antropov 92 Kazakhstan
9. #68 Tuomo Ruutu 91 Finland
10. #72 Bobby Holik 90 Czech Republic

Both Ruutus crack the top ten for the second consecutive year, with Jarkko reclaiming the EuroPIM title from the departed Svitov. Ivanans falls short by 4 PIM, Antropov returns to the top ten after a four-year absence, the usual suspects make up the rest of the EuroTeam. Holik will retire after a non-top ten, 66 PIM return to the Devils the following season.

2008-2009
1. #16 Evgeny Artyukhin 151 Russia
2. #22 Raitis Ivanans 145 Latvia
3. #23 Jarkko Ruutu 144 Finland
4. #26 David Koci 141 Czech Republic
5. #33 Boris Valabik 132 Slovakia
6. #56 Mattias Ohlund 105 Sweden
7. #65 Zdeno Chara 95 Slovakia
8. #68 Pavel Kubina 94 Czech Republic
9. #72 Mikhail Grabovski 92 Germany
10. #92 Fedor Tyutin 81 Russia

Ivanans misses out on the EuroPIM title by 6 PIM this season, as Artyukhin becomes the only Euro-NHLer to top 150 PIM since the lockout. Koci, arguably the most useless player currently in the NHL (assuming Wade Belak is not in the NHL and John Scott occasionally plays D), somehow manages enough ice time with the 24-40-18 Lightning to break the top four. Valabik similarly manages 50 games with Atlanta (more than half his career total to date) to break the top five. Toronto’s Grabovski (Belarusian but born in Potsdam, where his father was a construction worker– thanks, Wikipedia) somehow racks up 92 PIM (and 20 goals) in 78 games before totaling 10 (and 10 goals) in 59 games the following season. Columbus D Tyutin barely edges Art Ross winner Evgeni Malkin (80 PIM and 113 points) and the other Ruutu (79 PIM) for tenth.

2009-2010
1. #20 Raitis Ivanans 136 Latvia
2. #26 Jarkko Ruutu 121 Finland
3. #47 Martin Hanzal 104 Czech Republic
4. #48 Evgeni Malkin 100 Russia
5. #59 Alexander Ovechkin 89 Russia
6. #63 Zdeno Chara 87 Slovakia
7. #69 David Koci 84 Czech Republic
8. #77 Robyn Regehr 80 Brazil
9. #83 Victor Hedman 79 Sweden
10. #88 Michal Rozsival 78 Czech Republic

Perennial runnerup Ivanans beats Ruutu Number One to win the EuroPIM title at last. Odd names also cracking the top ten: the Coyotes’ Hanzal (who did nonetheless total 94 PM with Red Deer of the WHL two seasons before), Tampa rookie Hedman (#2 overall pick in the 2009 draft), the Brazilian Regehr, Malkin, and 50-goal, +45, MVP runnerup Ovechkin.

In Part III: Who will win the 2010-2011 EuroPIM title? (It won’t be Ivanans, who’s now a Flame who’s been out since opening day with a concussion, nor will it be Koci, who won’t see enough ice time on an Avs team that just went 1-11-1 in February and was 0-6-1 in March before beating the Oilers in a shootout last night.) 2010-2011 season wrapup! EuroPIM career leaders!

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One Response to “Eurotrash, Part II: 2006-2010”

  1. […] Eurotrash, Part I: 2000-2004 is here. Eurotrash, Part II: 2006-2010 is here. […]

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