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Petr Nedvěd (born on December 9, 1971 in Liberecmarker, Czechoslovakiamarker) is a Czech Canadian professional ice hockey player who spent 15 seasons in the National Hockey League. He is a center for the hockey club HC Bílí Tygři Liberec in the Czech Extraliga.

Biography

Nedvěd was born in Liberecmarker, Czechoslovakiamarker (now in the Czech Republicmarker) 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 Calgarymarker. Nedvěd was the star of the tournament, with 17 goals and nine assists. He decided to defect to Canadamarker 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 Citymarker. However during the summer of 2006, Nedvěd and Vařeková separated. He has since moved back to the Czech Republic.His brother is also a hockey player defenceman Jaroslav Nedvěd.

Playing career

After defection, Nedvěd played one season for the Seattle Thunderbirds of the Western Hockey League and was drafted 2nd 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. However, in 1992–93, he found his stride finishing with 38 goals and 71 points including a club record 15-game point-scoring streak, finally showing off his elite wristshot and high-end talent. 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. This would be the first of several instances over the course of his career which earned Nedvěd the reputation as a mercenary more interested in money than success. 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 performed well in St. Louis, scoring 20 points in just 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. It would prove to be a major disappointment, as he finished the year with just 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. [67705]

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 Hlavac and Radek Dvorak - 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 continuted to struggle in Edmonton and finished the season with just 2 goals and 12 points in 40 games between Edmonton and Philadelphia.

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

On July 31st, 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 26th.

Transactions



Awards



Legacy

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


Career statistics

    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 Las Vegas Thunder IHL 3 3 3 6 4
1997–98 HC Sparta Praha CzRep 5 2 3 5 8 6 0 2 2 52
1998–99 New York Rangers NHL 56 20 27 47 50
1998–99 Las Vegas Thunder IHL 13 8 10 18 32
1999–2000 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 HC Sparta Praha CzRep 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 Phantoms AHL 14 4 7 11 10
2006–07 Philadelphia Flyers NHL 21 1 6 7 18
2006–07 Edmonton Oilers NHL 19 1 4 5 10
2007–08 HC Sparta Praha CzRep 42 20 5 25 98
2008–09 Bílí Tygři Liberec CzRep 33 14 14 28 72 3 0 1 1 6
NHL totals 982 310 407 717 708 71 19 23 42 64
Czech Extraliga totals 126 58 35 93 222 14 2 6 8 68
IHL totals 16 11 13 24 36


International play

International statistics

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
Int'l Totals 28 24 14 38 30


References

External links




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