Friday, February 3, 2012

An eventful month for Duda

He makes news often enough, both on and off the ice, that the Czechs have an expression for him: "Radek Duda, hokej není nuda" (Radek Duda, hockey isn't boring). The month of January was anything but nuda for the Plzeň 1929 right winger.

Duda had plenty to celebrate on the ice in
January. Photo: Milan Podpera,
The month of December went pretty well for him, scoring 11 points in seven games to climb among the leading scorers in the Czech Extraliga. Then, after being held pointless in Plzeň's first game in January, a 5-2 win over Sparta on January 3, he recorded 16 points in the next eight games, with his best game being an awesome five-point performance in a 10-4 win over Liberec on January 15. His two goals and three assists that night thrust him past Petr Nedvěd, who had two points for Liberec in the same game, into the league-scoring lead. Late in the month, the see-saw battle between the two continued, as Nedvěd picked up five points in two games to re-take the lead.

His exploits earned him a nomination for January Player of the Month from Fan voting on Facebook is still open. The field of eight nominees from around Europe also includes Sparta Praha's Petr Tenkrat. (Click here to vote.)

But Duda's on-ice exploits are only part of the reason he's in the news. At the tail end of the month, a couple of incidents from the past have come to the forefront of Duda's life.

A year ago, he became the centre of a huge controversy when he was named as a suspect in a hit-and-run incident in Karlovy Vary. According to numerous reports, Duda nearly hit a pedestrian with his car in a crosswalk and then got out of his car and attacked the man. Facing up to three years in prison, on Monday, January 31, Duda was given a three-month suspended sentence and one year's probation. It is the second time that he has been convicted in a court of law for incidents stemming from apparent road rage; back in 2008, he was convicted of assaulting another driver in České Budějovice.

There have been other incidents as well, such as injuring a teen who threw snowballs at his team's bus in 2006, or even going back to 2002, when on his first tour of duty with Plzeň, he called Třinec coach Alois Hadamczik a "šišlavý Polák" (lisping Pole), a rather insensitive jab at the coach's way of speaking, which is marked by a strong Silesian accent and has also been affected by vocal-cord surgery. Now the coach of the national team, some are speculating that Hadamczik's omission of Duda from the Czech team's roster at the upcoming Oddset Hockey Games in Sweden stems from the incident ten years ago.

"I don't want to speak about it any further," was how Hadamczik responded to's Vaclav Jáchim. "For sure, Duda has some great advantages with his offensive game, but also some weaknesses in the defensive zone."

Apparently, Duda did recently make an attempt to reconcile with Hadamczik. "He called me, wanted to meet. I went to talk with him, which was a positive step, although his behavior towards me and some players was not adequate."

Hadamczik further said that would not close the door on Duda's inclusion on the Czech national team in future events, however.

A seventh-round draft pick of the Calgary Flames in 1999, Duda has always played with an edge on the ice, and that has served him well. That same edge has obviously caused problems away from it, however. Though months rarely seem to be boring for Duda, the combination of on- and off-ice news January 2012 was quite a bit even for him. It remains to be seen if February will be a bit more nuda for Duda.

No comments:

Post a Comment