Lubomir Visnovsky is an interesting, complex cat.
The New York Islanders' new acquisition Lubomir Visnovsky is quite the character -- always good for an interesting interview and a few surprises, as demonstrated by the Slovakian interview Islanders Point Blank cited in which Visnovsky has at least one European offer on the table for 2012-13.
That's a roughly translated Q&A and no official news indicates anything other than Visnovsky will play for the Isles after his draft day trade. But as you'll see from the insight we fetched from Anaheim Calling manager Jen Neale, little revelations from Visnovsky are not out of character. (Apparently he mulled retirement last season when the goals weren't going in.)
Jen is a fan of Visnovsky and sorry to see him leave the Ducks -- though in part that's because of his entertaining interviews. After the trade I received a note from her joking, "I hate you. Stop talking to our GM." Below find some of her thoughts on his game and his history, as well as the Islanders' official site telephone interview with Visnovsky.
Visnovsky Post-Trade Telephone Interview
Q&A with Jen Neale, Anaheim Calling
Lighthouse Hcokey: Word was injuries hindered Visnovsky some in 2011-12. Should Isles fans be concerned there with him turning 36, or do you think he can muster something like he did in 2010-11?
Jen Neale: The 2010-2011 regular season was the last time Lubo was completely healthy. In the playoffs versus Nashville, he took a hit that partially separated his shoulder. He hasn't been the same since that moment. His partner on D, Toni Lydman, had the same injury. Lydman had surgery. Lubo opted not to, even though he said he couldn't lift his arms to pick up his toddler son. He claimed to be all better by camp, but you could tell during the preseason games he wasn't.
A couple weeks into the season, he broke a finger and needed surgery. Turns out he'd been playing with three broken fingers for a while. After surgery, he came back, had one or two really great games and then sucked it up the rest of the way. We found out later that he contemplated retirement after surgery and several other times during the season because the team was playing bad and so was he. At least I think that was the reason. His command of English syntax is, um, lacking.
LHH: Tell us why Islanders fans will love Lubo.
JN: Hockey wise, when he's clicking, he's a great asset on the power play. For a little guy, he has an absolute bomb of a shot. Most of his goals are scored above the face-off dots. He's also pretty fast. If the other team gets a breakaway, he's usually able to catch up quickly and poke the puck away.
The real reason I am going to miss Lubo is all his interviews. He scored a hat trick versus Dallas and when asked how he did it, his only response was, "Puck like butterfly."
Another favorite line came after a win, "Thank you very much fans and let's go for the next game together!" You should also check out these videos: Fashion Show (scrub to 1:50), a sit-down interview where he kinda answers the questions, and his terribly sad exit interview from 2010-11 season.
LHH: Why did Bob Murray make this deal? Payroll management? Making room for younger guys? (And if so, can those younger guys replace him?)
JN: Here's the thing with Bob Murray. He spends 90 percent of his time hidden in Castle Greyskull and no one knows what he's doing. His plan for this upcoming season wasn't revealed until a season ticket holder event a couple weeks ago. He wants to get bigger and faster.
Lubo is fast but he's not big. With Justin Schultz screwing the Ducks, I have no idea who is going to take Lubo's place. We gave our other up-and-coming defenseman (Jake Gardiner) to Brian Burke. My guess is that he's going to try to find something on the free agent market with the extra cash. The other option is to get a quality, young and fast defenseman as part of a trade for Bobby Ryan. I'd rather have the former instead of the latter.
* * *
If you didn't click the links above, here is that exit interview from the end of 2010-11. Obviously the Slovakian is a thoughtful and sincere player. Even at age 36 (in August) and with some injuries in recent years, he could be a big help to the Islanders in 2012-13.