Tom Szczerbowski-US PRESSWIRE - Presswire
Andrew MacDonald lands himself next to ex-Bridgeport teammate Dustin Kohn in one of the Czech Republic's coolest towns.
There's no logic here today
Do as you got to, go your own way
I said that's right
Time's short your life's your own
And in the end we are just
Dustin Kohn, Dustin Kohn, Dustin Kohn
- Guns N Roses, "Dust n' Bones" as it renders in my head ever since Kohn entered the Isles system. (And yes, sorry, I just quoted GNR.)
Dustin Kohn and Andrew MacDonald were New York Islanders prospects together, spending several seasons as Bridgeport Sound Tigers teammates and blueline partners in the AHL before MacDonald became an NHL regular and Kohn became a non-qualified free agent.
One can reasonably infer that was a factor in the latest European destination for a locked out Islander: According to Katie Strang, MacDonald is headed to HC [utility of some sort] Karlovy Vary of the Czech league.
After exiting the Isles organization, Kohn went first to Sweden, so this is his first season with Karlovy Vary.
If you ever find yourself in the Czech Republic, Prague should be your destination, full stop. But if you work a second city into your tour, the beer-inclined might want to check out Plzeň, home of original Pilsner beer, or Budejovice ("Budweis"), home of original Budweiser lager, but every town has good beer there ... anyway, where was I? Oh yes, beer towns aside, Karlovy Vary is a great second stop after Prague.
Karlovy Vary: Spring Fountains Everywhere. Funny Canisters Too
It's a picturesque spa town in the wooded hills -- "Carlsbad" in English and "Kralsbad" in German, as in "Charles' Bath" (spa) named after Charles IV, the king of Bohemia and Holy Roman Emperor (which was not very holy, not all that Roman, and an empire mostly in name and grand access to your own spa town). Of course it's along the river, because all historic towns are on a body of water, water being somewhat essential for life and hockey.
If you go, you'll find people (especially tourists) chasing the vague health benefits of bathing in the different natural springs, as well as people collecting the spring water in funny containers and drinking from it. It's a great resort town, a great place for good food, and possessing that hip resort nightlife too. (It's home to a thriving international film festival too.)
You'll also find Russians. Lots and lots of Russians. Before the Velvet Revolution of 1989 that freed the Czechs from de facto Soviet control, the town was a popular destination for visiting Russians. After the proverbial wall came down, wealthy Russians doubled down on their presence there. I'm sure it was all above board, legal, and not in any way related to, uh, "organized" activities.
When the KHL was looking to expand West of Russia, Karlovy Vary was a prime and natural target, but thus far it hasn't worked out. HC [utility-brand] Karlovy Vary is still "only" in the Czech league. (Instead, the KHL established a presence with Lev Praha (Prague), where Zdeno Chara is playing, and with Slovan Bratislava in Slovakia, where Lubomir Visnovsky is playing.)
Now Karlovy Vary not just Kohn, but also apparently Andrew MacDonald for the duration of the lockout.
Anyway, the point is MacDonald is the latest of many Islanders to make the jump during the lockout (your move, Moulson). From what I know of his destination, he has chosen wisely.