Czech out the 'feisty bugger'

JASON HILLS -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 9:51 AM ET

When Edmonton Oil Kings head coach Steve Pleau talks about Robin Soudek, he starts grinning from ear-to-ear.

Soudek is his kind of player.

"He's a feisty bugger, and I like him. He's got that edge to him," said Pleau yesterday.

"We've seen so far in preseason, that he's not afraid, he gets involved and he can be a real agitator."

Soudek, a native of Ceske Budejovice, Czech Republic, was selected by the Oil Kings in the first round, 12th overall in the 2008 Canadian Hockey League import draft in June.

He replaces Robin Figren, who signed with the New York Islanders in the off-season. He'll join fellow Czech Republic native Tomas Vincour as the two Oil Kings imports this season.

Soudek may be a work in progress when it comes to learning the Engligh language, but when it comes to living in a different country, and learning the North American game, he's fitting in very nicely.

For the second year in a row, it looks as though they've picked a stud and not a dud in the import draft after making Vincour their first-ever import draft selection. Soudek and Vincour could form one of the best European tandems in the Western Hockey League.

"Canada is the best hockey country in the world, and my dream is to get drafted, and my bigger dream is to play in the NHL. I think my best chance to do that is come here to the Oil Kings, help this team make playoffs and hopefully I will get drafted," said Soudek.

In the Oil Kings second game of their preseason tournament against the Regina Pats, he was part of a line brawl and he dropped the gloves with one of the Pats' tougher customers in Matt Delahey.

In what originally could've been a mismatch, Soudek quickly showed he had the knuckles to hold his own.

"I think I did pretty good," smiled Soudek, who is currently skating on a line with Clayton Cumiskey and Shayne Neigum. "I've had about three or four fights in the Czech Republic, so it's not new to me."

So far in training camp, Soudek has shown the coaching staff a little bit of everything in his game, and that could prove to be a valuable asset as the season wears on. Soudek could be one of the Oil Kings' more versatile players up front. While he's shown that he's got some sandpaper to his game, he also has good offensive upside, scoring some nice goals in exhibition action.

"We've got to figure out what his role is going to be. The offence will come (for him) eventually, but it may take a little time," said Pleau.

"He competes hard, and he finishes hits and he's got some grease to his game. Offensively he's got a real quick snap shot that a lot of Europeans work on. We've got to get him to not work on passing that up. I want him to shoot the puck, and go to the net hard.

"He's going to be a real good player for us that we think will be able to make an impact for us."

ICE CHIPS: Oil Kings forward Brent Raedeke is currently away at the Detroit Red Wings rookie camp. He's expected back, but may miss the Oil Kings season opener Friday against Medicine Hat if he gets invited to Red Wings main camp.

Braeden Adamyk will be sidelined for four to six weeks with a fractured jaw. The gritty forward took a puck to the face in a preseason game against Prince George last week.

"That's what you get in exhibition sometimes, the guy shot it right in his face. The guy had the whole rink to shoot it, and he picked his head ... it was some bad luck," said Pleau.

Rookie defenceman Kieran Friesen is practising with the Oil Kings, but he remains sidelined with a shoulder injury. He's expected to be back in the lineup in two weeks.


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