He earned a reputation in Russia as a scorer, tallying 54 goals in two years in the KHL before signing with the Flames this offseason. The 27-year old Czech has struggled to translate that game to the National Hockey League, however, scoring two goals in 13 games this season.
Part of the issue is comfort.
Cervenka still struggles with language, understanding English enough when spoken to, but not comfortable enough to speak it. Communicating with teammates is difficult, except for with linemate and fellow Czech Jiri Hudler.
ST. PAUL, Minn. -- Former National Hockey League forward Andrew Brunette officially retired as a player Thursday, but he won't be out of the game for long.
Brunette was named Hockey Operations Advisor for the Minnesota Wild, an all-encompassing role that will allow Brunette to work directly with Wild general manager Chuck Fletcher, assistant GM Brent Flahr, Houston Aeros GM Jim Mill as well as the coaching staffs in Minnesota and Houston.
"It may be a bittersweet day for Andrew Brunette, but it's a great day for our franchise," Fletcher said. "To add someone with his experience and his intelligence to our hockey operations department … who knows where this takes him? I think he has unlimited potential to do what he wants to do in this game."
Matt Cullen will be shuffled back to left wing, this time on the team's third line.
For the first time all season, Wild coach Mike Yeo has elected to break up his first line of center Mikko Koivu and wings Zach Parise and Dany Heatley. Koivu and Parise remain and will be joined by rookie right wing Charlie Coyle, who will play in his second career NHL game. It also will be the home debut for a player considered one of the Wild's top prospects since his acquisition from the San Jose Sharks two summers ago.
"It's special to be playing with those guys," Coyle said. "I'd like to thank coach for giving me the opportunity, but obviously, you have to take advantage of it. Whatever role they put me in, I'm going to play to the best of my ability and help this team win."
Also making his Wild debut will be fourth-liner Mike Rupp, who was acquired from the New York Rangers on Monday in a trade for Darroll Powe and Nick Palmieri. Rupp will play on a line with center Zenon Konopka and Devin Setoguchi.
Rather than start red-hot Roberto Luongo, who has won three starts in a row and allowed three goals goals total over that stretch, Canucks coach Alain Vigneault decided to look at career numbers instead of season numbers. The Xcel Energy Center has been a house of horrors for Luongo, who hasn't started a game in Minnesota since Oct. 19, 2010, when he allowed six goals on 18 shots over 40 minutes in a 6-2 loss.
ST. PAUL, Minn. -- Chicago Blackhawks defenseman Michal Rozsival took another step in his recovery from a lower-body injury sustained last week by skating for the first time since the injury Wednesday at Xcel Energy Center, though he won't play in tonight's game against the Minnesota Wild
Rozsival has played in three of Chicago's six games to start the season, posting two assists, two hits and blocking two shots. He is a plus-2 and provides the Blackhawks with a veteran presence on the blue line.
"Not tonight," Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville said. "But we expect him soon."
Chicago opens a six-game road trip tonight against Minnesota, and Rozsival will likely be back in the lineup at some point on the trip. The Hawks are off Thursday before playing back-to-back games Friday and Saturday in Vancouver and Calgary.
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There's no discouragement in that room. There's no issues there at all to be honest with you. It's more about, 'Hey, it's opportunities for players.' And if we become that bad of a team because of one player, it's not a real good sign for our hockey club. So this is part of sports. It's part of hockey.