For awhile, things were looking pretty grim for Ondrej Pavelec.
Ironic, considering few NHL players were as happy as Ondrej Pavelec on June 25, 2012, moments after inking a new 5-year 19.5MM contract to remain with the WInnipeg Jets. Since that time, however, Pavelec has faced a multitude of challenges and, at each turn, has blundered said challenges into a Dustin Byfuglien-sized joke.
Ondrej Pavelec's colossal derailment began July 16, 2012 when it was reported he was convicted of DUI charges, stemming from an accident he caused on May 26, while driving with a blood alcohol level of 0.20 -- more than twice the legal limit here in Manitoba.
After lying low for over two months, Pavelec resurfaced again, signing a contract with HC Bili Tyri Liberec of the Czech Extraliga in an attempt to stay sharp while making bank during the NHL lockout.
Pavelec's first month on the job was anything but smooth sailing. He was in a dark place. It got so bad that the coaching staff handed him a miner's hat and a canary. In his first six games, Ondrej Pavelec posted a disastrous 0-4-2 record, a putrid .863 SV% and frightful GAA of 4.62.
Ondrej. Your stat-line. WOOF!
But finally -- thankfully -- there has been a break in the dark, stormy clouds that encompass the life of Ondrej Pavelec, as he registered his first win of the season, a 3-1 victory over Karlovy Vary.
A strong performance, but hardly enough to silence all skepticism surrounding the 25-year old netminder. There is plenty more work to be put in for Pavelec to gain the support of the pundits -- many of whom write here at Arctic Ice Hockey.
Liberec is next in action next Friday when they face off against Vitkovice. That will give Pavelec a full week to focus his chi and concentrate on stringing wins together as he recuperates his game. In the meantime, we will sit with bated breath and wait.