Skip to main content

Jiri Latal

Jiri Latal was an offensive minded defenseman. A marvelous skater, Latal loved to jump up into the rush, either as the trailer or the leader. He also was a good point man on the powerplay, although he tended to use his international hockey upbringing of passing too much as opposed to just putting the puck on the net. That's fine, but on the smaller rinks and in the NHL game, Latal sometimes over-passed to a fault.

The major concern about Latal always was whether or not he was able or willing to take the physical punishment of the NHL in order to succeed. He wasn't overly strong, and often had trouble handling bigger forwards in his own zone. He also proved to be extremely injury prone in the North American game. He suffered chronic shoulder and knee injuries early in his career, cutting a once promising career short.

Originally a 1985 draft pick of the Toronto Maple Leafs, the Flyers acquired Latal in 1989. He began the 1989-90 season apprenticing with the AHL's Hershey Bears but quickly proved he was too talented for the AHL level and was called up permanently after just 22 games. He finished the year strongly with Philly, scoring 6 goals and 19 points in 32 games.

Latal had a tough sophomore season due to his injury problems. He played in 50 games, scoring 5 goals and 21 assists. However that was a great season compared to his 1991-92 campaign when he scored 1 goal and 2 assists in just 10 games.

Latal left the physical NHL following that year. He ended up in, of all places, Norway the following 2 seasons before resurfacing in his native Czech homeland for the 1994-95 season, appearing in one game for his hometown HC Olomouc. That was the last game Latal ever played.

Comments

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