Got to see my first ever player signing! It was a madhouse. Just like a draft or something, with a few hundred people and tons of media. I had to give someone important a surprise, hard shove from behind just to get a good seat (sorry Grapes).
For real though, Scorpions captain Vladimir Hartinger was introduced, seated, and presented his contract. He signed his name, slipped into a Scorpions jersey and addressed the crowd. It looked just like a tee-tiny NHL draft event.
So there it is – Hartinger is the first player to (re)sign with the Scorpions for the 2008-09 season. Good news for the New Mexico team and fans as well. Awesome offensive defenseman and great guy.
One of the things Vladi told the crowd is that, “The team has given me everything i’ve ever asked for.” Made me remember that i interviewed first year Scorps coach Randy Murphy while he was a player, just before he left for that stint in Elmira. Now’s my chance to use that interview to ‘splain a little about what “everything i ask for” means.
You see, in the Double-A minors, salaries aren’t all that. So players can actually negotiate for other various things, like visits home for Christmas and such. I’ll dig up that interview and post it next time around.
All this talk about Hartinger makes me wonder if you’re thinking what i think you’re thinking. Like, if i bumped into Vladi, did i finally do an interview or what?!
Why yes i did! Full disclosure: i actually told him i’d look at my original list of questions and email him a few, then save the rest for a longer interview when the new season kicks up. But just to tide you over until then, making good on what you surely thought was a bogus promise, at long last (drum roll please), here’s a brief Q&A with a CHL/Scorpions superduperstar defenseman!
[Don’t be confused. IE stands for Inside Edge, the official name of this blog.]
IE: You had such a great season. Any idea what made a difference – just getting better with age?
Hartinger: “The coaching of Randy Murphy has had a big impact on my game – and also getting better with age.”
IE: Which was your favorite CHL team to play this past season? Least favorite team? Why?
Hartinger: “My favorite team was Arizona. I believe I had a total of 28 points in 16 games against them.”
“Least favorite would be Laredo. They play very hard and their forwards finish all their checks.”
IE: What’s your prediction for the NHL playoffs? Which team do you want to win the Cup?
Hartinger: “I think Detroit will win. I also cheer for them. They have a really good team. Great forwards, really good D-men and good goaltending in Osgood.”
IE: Any big summer plans so far?
Hartinger: “I’m really looking forward to seeing my family. I have not been able to visit them in the past 4 years. Also, my brother’s wedding will be a lot of fun.”
On to hockey/cycling… Vladi is from Sternberk in the Czech Republic. I mentioned to him that in the research i’d done for the interview, i noticed cycling is pretty popular in that area. He shared that his dad had a bicycle shop (or two?) when Vladi was a kid. And get this:
Vladi knows what the Giro d’Italia is – so you have no excuse not to!
Of course, he’s from somewhere other than the US. Vladi says when he was a kid, they always had the Giro d’Italia and Tour de France bike races on TV and his family would watch.
Not to leave you hanging with your newfound love of cycling – here’s some Giro reading.
Scorpions sparkplug Konrad Reeder will be playing in Europe for the upcoming season. That’s the Frederikshavn White Hawks of the Danish Hockey League, if you wanna track his success. NM Fans are gonna miss him.