Month: August 2010

Martin Frk Is Coming To Moose Country!


The Halifax Mooseheads have finally landed their off-season prize.

16-year-old Martin Frk has been picked up by the club, after intense negotiations where owner Bobby Smith was able to pry his much sought after trade pick.

The young Czech player has been compared to Cam Neely and is an exciting young product.

Frk will slot right into the lineup and will be in Halifax for his first Mooseheads practice on Wednesday.

Henry Whitfield is an avid Moosehead fan who covers everything and anything in the sports world that peeks his interest. You can follow him at his blog or on twitter @HenryWhitfield.

Champions League Draw!

Football is back!

Today marked the group stage of the European Champions League being set and awards being given out for Player’s of the year.

The stage was set by an array of Footballing superstars including Gianfranco Zola, Gary Lineker and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.

With three London based clubs in the draw, Chelsea, Arsenal and Tottenham,it marked the first time since 2003/2004 that three teams from one city have made it into the group stage.

Group A – Inter Milan, Werder Bremen, Tottenham, FC Twente

Group B – Lyon, Benfica, Schalke, Tel-Aviv

Group C Manchester United, Valenica, Rangers, Bursaspor

Group D – Barcelona, Panathinaikos, FC Copenhagen, Rubin Kazan

Group E – Bayern Munich, AS Roma, FC Basel, Cluj

Group F Chelsea, Marseille, Spartak Moscow, MSK Zilina

Group G – AC Milan, Real Madrid, Ajax, Auxerre

Group H – Arsenal, Shakhtar Donetsk, SC Braga, FK Partizan

Some very interesting match ups, with Group G including no less than first ever winners and 9 time champions Real Madrid being drawn with 7 time winners AC Milan. Also featuring 4-time winners Ajax, Group G is the clear “Group of Death” for this year’s draw.

Another interesting match will feature Manchester United battling with Rangers FC, a club that Sir Alex Ferguson scored 25 goals for during his time there in 1967-1969.

Elsewhere, Chelsea FC was drawn with Spartak Moscow, which sees owner Roman Abramovich takes his club to his home country and the return of Russian player Yuri Zhirkov.

First matches are played on September 14th and 15th.

Not only were the groups drawn, but UEFA Player of the Year awards were announced and awarded, here are this year’s winners:

UEFA Goalkeeper of the Year: Julio Cesar (Inter Milan)

Inter Milan continued their winning ways

UEFA Defender of the Year: Maicon (Inter Milan)

UEFA Midfielder of the Year: Wesley Sneijder (Inter Milan)

UEFA Forward of the Year: Diego Milito (Inter Milan)

UEFA Player of the Year: Diego Milito (Inter MIlan)

It was a clean sweep for Mourinho and his men in blue stripes, his legend grows and the special one will look forward to completing another clean sweep with Real Madrid this year.

Frk’ing Horrible Day in Moose Country

Although the Halifax Mooseheads were 4-3 winners Sunday night in their pre-season game against Saint John, they recieved some terrible news for the future:

Martin Frk is not coming to Halifax this season, unless Bobby Smith takes the option of buying the young Czech stud out of his contract.

As released by the IIHF this weekend,

Czech 16-year old prospect Martin Frk has a valid contract with Karlovy Vary and can therefore not transfer to the Halifax Mooseheads of the Canadian Hockey League. This has been determined by the IIHF.

The Czech forward was selected third overall in the Canadian Hockey League’s so called Import Draft earlier this summer after he had 55 points and 184 penalty minutes in 38 games at the Czech under-20 level last season. But Frk’s Czech club Karlovy Vary challenged the ensuing transfer request from Halifax stating that the player has a valid and binding contract.

After an investigation the IIHF concluded that the professional player contract was validly signed by the player’s parents and the contract was not terminated according to the terms in the contract, a mutual agreement or a just cause.

As it is determined that a valid professional player contract exists between the player and Karlovy Vary, the player has committed a breach of the contract by leaving the club and going to Canada with the intention to play in Halifax.

According to the IIHF Transfer Regulation section II article 4.5, the IIHF General Secretary, on behalf of the IIHF, decided that the player’s International Transfer Card is not approved.

The Mooseheads had taken a gamble on the young player by choosing him high in the European import draft. Now with Frk not coming to Halifax, not only do the Moose miss out on a young scoring forward they must now plan to fill a void left by former captain Tomas Knotek who went back to Europe after last season.

The only positive in this situation has been the stellar play of forward Gabriel Desjardin’s so far this preseason and the prospect of seeing the likes of Darcy Ashley, Luca Ciampini and Matthew Boudreau in the line-up this season.

The next big question of the Mooseheads is which goalie they will keep for the future, with both Peter Delmas and Mathieu Corbeil fighting for the number one spot.

It appears that Peter Delmas is the safer choice as he can still be moved after Monday, however, if the Moose choose to keep Corbeil they would have to wait until December to move him.

Halifax Dunbrack Win NSSL Championship In Shootout

After finishing atop the Men’s Nova Scotia Soccer League, Suburban FC went in against Halifax Dunbrack Tuesday evening with all the confidence in the world.

The match pitted outstanding soccer talent Mesut Mert, League MVP and goals leader, against a stingy Dunbrack defence that has allowed just seven goals all season and backstopped by an outstanding keeper in Ben Ur, who finished the regular season with 10 clean sheets.

First Half Recap

The opening twenty minutes were cagey and both teams probed the defensive lines looking for breaks, the only bright spot was a brilliant ball played in by Mert but keeper Ur was quick off his line to break up the run of play.

The deadlock was broken in the 21st minute when Jon Cordoba broke away, showing off his speed and the striker’s shot blasted right through keeper  Hogg who got a piece of the ball but just couldn’t keep it out of the net.

The goal spurred both teams on and the pace of play picked up, with Mesut Mert coming right back down the field and scoring just more than a minute later. Mert clear on goal used his agility and skill to weave around keeper Ur and calmly placing the ball in the back of the net.

The game continued to go back and forth, with not much difference between the both sides. However, it was once again Dunbrack to break the deadlock. In the 35th minute Alex Cordoba put Ryan Devereaux free past the last defenders and he blasted a shot past a helpless Hogg to put the score to 2-1.

In similar fashion Suburban FC broke quickly to respond, but this time Dunbrack covered well and kept their slim one goal lead after strong defensive play.

Dunbrack made the first substitutions of the game in the 38th minute, taking Peter Garonis out and throwing Ahmed Negahban into the mix. Followed up shortly it was Marvin Okello coming off due to injury in the 41st minute, meanwhile the coaching staff of Suburban FC took issue with the delay in allowing a substation and berated the fourth official.

With the rain pouring down Halifax Dunbrack got another excellent opportunity from a free kick with Jon Cordoba forcing a brilliant save from keeper Hogg, and then another shot came near from J. Cordoba.

The game looked destined to be a 2-1 score lineat halftime but Suburban FC upset the storyline when Ian Greedy struck a fantastic strike past the Ur and into the upper left corner just below the woodwork. With that wonderful strike from the Greedy, the game was deadlocked at two goals apiece at halftime.

At half time it was clear that the raw pace of Jon Cordoba was causing issues for the Suburban FC defence, unable to keep up with the speedy striker, with player/coach Mesut Mert saying that the team was giving the striker too much space.

Second Half Recap

The game was played at a much slower pace for the start of the second half, with both teams playing more cautiously and not wanting to concede the next goal in the deadlocked match.

The only action in the first twenty minutes of the second half was a pair of nasty challenges on Dunbrack players Shawn Kodejs and Jon Cordoba, with the Dunbrack star in obvious discomfort after the challenge.

In the 75th minute Dunbrack were given another set-piece in a dangerous area, but were unable to convert an opportunity with a foul being called against Kerry Weymann. Suburban FC came right back down the pitch and were awarded with their own set-piece just outside the Dunbrack box, however, it was Ben Ur getting down to his left to make a spectacular save off of the Mesut Mert strike.

Extra-Time Recap

Both teams seemed content with playing for extra time and neither side seemed the likelier to score the next goal. Both Mesut Mert and Jon Cordoba were quiet in the second half; neither stars able to make an impact for their teams.

The first half of extra-time started much the same, but just a few minutes in Chris Maceachern went down hard and remained on the ground for a few minutes as he received medical attention. The player was able to make it off the field under his own power, but would not return to action.

Thick fog covered the field at the extra-time interval and both teams sat back and let the play run, with neither side looking interested in scoring the go ahead goal.

Late drama in the second half of extra-time, with Suburban FC Captain Talal Al-Awaid being awarded a red card, giving Dunbrack ten minutes of play with a man advantage. It was ten-man Suburban FC who had the best chance of the final moments, with Ian Greedy coming close but skied a ball over the net.

In the dying moments and with Marvin Okello ready to come on as a substitute to be in the shootout, the ref blew for full-time and off to penalty kicks the game went, without a visibly upset Okello to shoot.

Penalty Shootout Recap

One of the cruellest moments in sports, the Penalty shootout but with Ben Ur in net Dunbrack had the clear advantage heading in.

Suburban FC Ian Greedy – SCORES – Off the post and past the keeper Ur

Halifax Dunbrack – Shawn Kodejs – SCORES – Sends keeper wrong way and score easily

Suburban FC – Second Shooter– MISSES – Ur chooses right side but Reddich misses net

Halifax Dunbrack Peter Garonis – SCORES – Blasted over the keeper to the right

Suburban FC – Jason Paul – SAVED – Ben Ur Dives left and saves

Halifax Dunbrack – Fourth Shooter– SCORES – Another shot hammered into the top right

Suburban FC – Fourth Shooter – SAVED – Ben Ur guesses right again and its another brilliant save!

*Due to technical difficulties, some names were missed during the action and will be filled in later.

As the Dunbrack players swarmed their keeper, it was clear that Ur was the hero for Halifax Dunbrack. The keeper came up with two gigantic saves in the shootout and he coolly booked Dunbrack’s place at Nationals.

Suburban FC will be left wondering `what if,` as they came so close to a Championship but had their dreams snuffed out in one swift, cruel moment.

Now League Champions, Halifax Dunbrack will get ready for Nationals where they will hope to add to their current silverware.

England’s Goalkeeping Makeover

Flashback two months, David James was the England number one, with Robert Green and Paul Robinson seen as backups to the Portsmouth keeper.

Due to injury Green started the first match in place of an injured James, but had a gaffe that will make his career for decades, while Paul Robinson never got a shot at the big show.

James returned to injury and although he played well in his first two matches, he showed a lack of skill and very slow reflexes in the four to one drubbing by Germany.

With England playing Hungary on Wednesday, Fabio Capello has gone full

Joe Hart look's to be the future for English goalkeeping

circle on his goalkeeping selections and has named young Manchester City keeper Joe Hart as his starter. Meanwhile Scott Carson will be his backup and Ben Foster had been named as third choice.

Many will wonder that after a strong season with Birmingham, why didn’t Joe Hart get a shot at the World Cup? He will seemingly be the England goalkeeper for the next decade and the experience would have given him valuable insight into the pressures of playing in important matches.

Ben Foster has since pulled out due to injury problems and this prompted Capello to call up inexperienced Watford keeper Scott Loach and Blackburn reserve keeper Frankie Fielding.

Loach has become England’s U21 first choice after Hart made the move to the senior level and is seen as a possible replacement in years to come but has little experience at the top level.  While Fielding is a Blackburn player he has yet to play for the club at Senior level and has been on loan at various teams since 2007, his most recent stint with Rochdale where he made 17 appearances.

Fabio Capello promised a youth movement in the aftermath of a terrible World Cup and it seems the first changes will be at the back.

Community Shield Preview and Predos

Football is back!

Yes, the lower England football leagues kicked off this weekend and we have a few international tours to keep us busy, oh and that league they call the MLS was going on, but today the real football season starts.

The annual Community Shield pits defending league champions Chelsea against runner-up Manchester United. The one-point difference at the end of last season will still be fresh in both teams and the battle for dominance between the two powerhouses will ensure this matchup is as exciting as ever.

Last year Chelsea pipped United in penalties, but go into the match this year on the string of four pre-season losses and a run of injuries. Goalkeeper Petr Cech is out, along with defensive stalwarts Alex and Boswinga, while Didier Drogba will start on the bench.

Manchester United has its own set of injuries to worry about with Michael Carrick out for the start of the season and both Michael Owen and Wayne Rooney battling injuries last year, both strikers will play at least 45-minutes but Sir Alex Ferguson will rely heavily on his young stars to fill in the gaps.

Many of the players in today’s match will have much to prove after a dismal, disappointing, disastrous, absolutely horrible World Cup for England and an implosion of France, which leaves Frank Lampard, Ashley Cole, John Terry, Florent Malouda, Nicholas Anelka and Wayne Rooney.

This season will be a testing one for Manchester United who have a squad filled with a combination of experience and youth, but time will tell if legends Paul Scholes, Edwin Van Der Sar and Ryan Giggs will contribute at the same level as before or if young stars Nani, Anderson, Smalling and new signing Javier ‘Chicharito’ Hernandez will usher in a new era.

Match Predictions

Henry – Chelsea wins 3 – 2, with Malouda scoring and Drogba hitting the back of the net twice, while Wayne Rooney answers with a goal and sets up Hernandez for his first United goal.

Tom – Manchester United wins 2-1, while Javier Hernandez scores both for United.