Friday, February 10, 2012

BotD: Vinny Prospal: Going Strong at 37 Years Old

Ok, so he's not officially 37 yet -- that day comes next week -- but late in his career,
Vaclav (Vinny) Prospal is still murdering the game...

Wednesday, the Columbus Blue Jackets announced that they have extended
Prospal another 1-year contract for next season, to play past his 38th birthday.

Blue Jackets general manager Scott Howson announced that his club has signed the left winger to a one-year contract extension. 

A report from the Columbus Dispatch claims the deal is worth $3.5 million, and that it comes complete with a no-trade clause.

"We are very excited to have Vinny signed for another year," said Howson in a team press release. "His leadership and play on the ice have certainly been positives for us this season."

A veteran of over 1,000 NHL games through his 16 NHL seasons, Vinny has thrived wherever he has played. After starting his career in Philadelphia (and being traded back there ten years later at the '08 trade deadline) he made successful stints in Ottawa, Florida, Tampa Bay, Anaheim, and New York before landing  a spot in Columbus last season, remaining one of the most liked players at each and every franchise by fans and teammates alike.

A great secondary scoring option, Propspal is a pure setup man. He isn't afraid to grind it out, or use his skill to dangle. His game is complete.

But one important aspect of his game that you cannot ignore, and you have to respect, is his enthusiasm for the game:

Even at 37 years old, with 236 goals, Vinny celebrates every one like his first, and his last. He plays the game with the excitement and adrenaline of a 20-year-old rookie trying to come up in the game for the first time, but with the poise befitting a player of his age and experience.

This is why, with the team in last place, the Blue Jackets knew it was vital to keep Vinny Prospal around. Who better to mentor the youth that is and will be coming through their system, than a guy who has been through it all?

Unfortunately though, he has never won a cup (he played for Tampa Bay for years, but played in Anaheim in 04-05 when the Lightning won the cup). And while playing in Columbus doesn't exactly bode well for his chance at a ring, Vinny does not lack any motivation on the ice. He is the perfect role model for any player coming up through the Blue Jackets system. He is the kind of player you need to breed a winning environment, and the Blue Jackets organization did a great thing for their future by signing him to an extension.

While it is not known how long his career will last, hockey fans can rejoice in knowing that Vinny Prospal will be around for at least one more year.

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