Saturday, 20 September 2014

Plzeň’s Ryan Hollweg handed ten game ban

Another week and seemingly another ban for HC Škoda Plzeň’s Ryan Hollweg. The 31 year old American was handed the ban by the ČSLH (Czech Hockey Association) for his knee-on-knee hit on former teammate Tomáš Vlasák in the game against Slavia Praha at the o2 Arena on Friday. For Hollweg, it is another strike on his ever increasing Extraliga rap-sheet. An video of the incident can be found below:

With the speed that Hollweg barrelled into Vlasák, it is surprising that the Slavia forward didn’t come off worse for wear, and despite his lack of injury, Hollweg was still handed the maximum ten game penalty for a knee-on-knee hit. Quoting from the press release, the ČSLH ruled that Hollweg had intended to bodycheck Vlasák, but when the latter attempted to dodge the hit, Hollweg moved to make sure that he connected with Vlasák, with the result being a knee-on-knee hit.

This is not the first suspension for Hollweg this season, as he received a one match ban for an altercation in a game against Sparta Praha, where he gave Slovak forward Martin Reway a hiding in front of the Sparta bench (see below). This, along with Hollweg’s previous suspensions were taken into account by the ČSLH in deciding the severity of the ban.

It is interesting to note that in an interview after the game, Vlasák said, “He is not a malicious player. It was a penalty, but I do not think it was an attempt to injure”

Hollweg has truly made a name for himself
in the Czech Republic in his two seasons
Photo: Milan Podpera,
Hollweg, who has over 200 NHL games to his credit, moved to the Czech Republic in 2012, and has been taken to heart by the Plzeň faithful, who love his bang and crash style, which few have tried before in the Extraliga. In his first season with the club, Plzeň won the Czech Extraliga, and was given a relatively large amount of ice time by the club. Last season it was a different story, as a serious injury brought an end to the Downey, California native’s year after only 20 games, in which he tallied four points.

It is unfair to call Hollweg a loose cannon, as consistently through his Extraliga career, he has been physical but has largely toed the line. 180 penalty minutes through 60 games before this season is not what one would call excessive, and it seems that the ČSLH have thrown the book at him.

It was a nasty knee-on-knee hit, which could have been a lot worse. It definitely deserved some form of suspension, but I feel that ten games is somewhat excessive for Hollweg. In addition, Slavia’s Michal Poletín, who attempted to confront Ryan Hollweg, was handed a fine for his part in the fracas. 

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