Skip to main content

Karel Rachunek


Karel Rachunek turned out to be a solid, reliable NHL defenseman over a 371 game career.

Many NHL fans remember him breaking in as a rookie with Ottawa. He distinguished himself as a really steady presence right away, and many people were raving about the Senators great young group of defensemen - Wade Redden, Sami Salo, Chris Phillips, and now the unexpected rookie rock, Karel Rachunek.

The hype was a bit over blown. He was solid and reliable, best suited for a depth role. After 4 seasons of gradual descent in Ottawa, he really began bouncing around the hockey world. He played for the New York Rangers and New Jersey Devils, but he never found a comfort level in North America. He also played for Znojemsti Excalibur Orli in his native Czech league, as well as Moscow Dynamo and most notably Lokomotive Yaroslavl in the KHL. He really emerged later in his career as a standout, though he had left the NHL by then.

Rachunek really came into his own with Yaroslavl. He actually had three distinct stints in Yaroslavl, but in his last stretch he emerged as a KHL star. He scored 11 goals and 46 points in 50 games.

He showed off his confident, improved game to the entire world when he helped the Czech Republic win gold (2010) and bronze (2011) at the World Championships. Rachunek set up team captain Tomas Rolinek for the gold medal winning goal in 2010. In an earlier game against Sweden Rachunek scored a memorable shoot out by unleashing an overpowering slap shot.

Rachunek was named as Lokomotiv Yaroslavl's team captain for the 2011-12 season. Unbelievably, Rachunek and his teammates perished in a plane crash on September 7th, 2011. The team was just taking off for their season opener in Minsk.

Comments

Keith Lenn said…
What a tragedy...I always liked Rachunek and remember watching him with the Sens and the Rangers...RIP
Jeanne said…
Nicely said. We will all miss Rachunek. He was a great player but also a good person.

Popular posts from this blog

100 Greatest Hockey Players Of All Time

What follows is a listing of the 100 greatest hockey players of all time, in my opinion. As discussed earlier, the definition of greatness is a very personalized endeavor and there is absolutely nothing wrong with it.
While there is no way of ever truly ranking the top 100 definitively, it is important for the creators of such lists to be open and transparent of how the came to their conclusions. That accountability allows the reader to better understand the process. 

Although admittedly I'm using a completely unscientific formula, I weigh career achievements (era statistics, awards, championships) and legacy (impact on and off ice, peak dominance) equally high. I rank player ability as the third most important ingredient, as first and foremost as a tie breaker. Hence, I'm not necessarily looking for the better player, as in text book definitions of what a hockey player should be, but for players with the greatest careers and greatest legacies. Therefore the best player is not n…

Top Ten Junior Players Of All Time

Let's take a look at the Top Ten junior players of all time. For the purposes of this list we will at players in the WHL, OHL and QMJHL only.

10. Pat Lafontaine, Verdun, QMJHL Rookie-record 104 goals, 234 points in 1982-83; major junior player of the year.

9. Denis Potvin, Ottawa, OHL 254 games, 95 goals, 234 assists, 329 points. Broke Bobby Orr's junior records.

8. John Tavares, Oshawa, OHL 215 goals, 433 points in 247 games; most goals in OHL history; eligibility rules changed to admit him at 15; 2006 major junior rookie of the year, 2007 major junior player of the year; two world juniors, named 2009 all-star, top forward and MVP.

7. Sidney Crosby, Rimouski, QMJHL 120 goals, 303 points in 121 games; two-time major junior player of the year; silver and gold with Canada at two world juniors.

6. Eric Lindros, Oshawa, OHL 97 goals, 216 points in 95 games; one Memorial Cup victory; three world junior tournaments; major junior player of the year in 1991.

5. Mike Bossy, Laval, Q…

Greatest Hockey Legends: M