Posted by Panthermick on 09 August 2002 at 10:33 GMT
Posted from 184.108.40.206 (inktomi5-not.server.ntl.com)
In reply to Re: PAUL KRUSE TO BELFAST TRUE OR FALSE posted by Cookie Monster on 08 August 2002 at 08:41 GMT:
Giants sign Bach & Kruse
Belfast Giants press release:
Dave gets Bach in to the hunt by turning on the Kruse control
Dave Whistle has finally landed two of his top summer targets after contract clauses were sorted out, and has put back Sheffield's team building plans into the bargain with the signings of Steelers Ryan Bach and Paul Kruse.
Highly rated puckstopper Bach and veteran NHL hardman Kruse will now be pulling on Giants' jerseys for the 2002-2003 season and Whistle can't wait for the pre-season BT Broadband Belfast Ice Cup to start.
I'm really excited," he said: "I've been in discussions with both of these players for a while now and I'm finally glad they've signed on the dotted line. There were clauses in the contracts that had to be honoured and that didn't happen until yesterday but now they're mine!"
It's no secret that Whistle wanted both these players last season but for one reason or another he never got them and had to sit back and watch while they helped Sheffield lift the Play Off title. Hopefully they'll now do the same for the Giants.
"I tried to get Bach last year but he decided to go to Sheffield, instead I got Mike Bales and everyone knows the part he played in helping us win Superleague. With Mike gone to Germany I've been talking to Bach again all summer long and we've finally sorted things out. He was impressed with the arena, the fans and the organisation and he's hungry for more success and believes he's more chance of achieving it with the Giants," explained 'Whis'.
"He's an outstanding goalie and although he had a slow start last season he got stronger and stronger and was just superb in the second half of the season, especially in the play offs, saving all five penalties in the final. He's also a good person both on and off the ice and people I've spoken to have nothing but good things to say about him.
"He wanted to come here because he wants to win things and he's been completely honest in our negotiations and I think he is a very important signing for us."
The 29-year-old Canadian from Sherwood Park, Alberta, was drafted by the Detroit Red Wings in 1992 (11th round, 262nd overall) but had to wait until he was traded to the Los Angeles Kings before he appeared in the NHL, making three appearances for the Californian side during the 1998-99 season.
After four years playing college hockey with Colorado College in the NCAA he split his first season as a pro between the ECHL's Toledo Storm and the CoHL's Utica Blizzard. Since then he's carved out a career in the AHL (Adirondack Red Wings, Louisville Panthers and Wilkes-Barre Scranton Penguins) and the IHL (Houston Aeros, Long Beach Ice Dogs, Utah Grizzlies, Kansas City Blades).
"Although we finished on a high in Sheffield there were a lot of issues that were never addressed, so I decided to look elsewhere, it wasn't the money, even though my reward for helping the team win the Play Offs was a wage cut, it was other things, but I don't want to go into them," he said.
"I wanted to be part of a winning organisation and I'd seen for myself how impressive the Odyssey is, how passionate the fans are and how well run the organisation is, so when I knew I wouldn't get a job in the DEL I continued talking to Dave and I'm glad we've finally worked out a deal. Last year we didn't get into Sheffield until October, this year, with the Ice Cup at the end of the month, we'll have the best kind of preparation.
"After just two seasons Belfast already has a reputation for getting players into higher leagues, something that attracts quality guys in the first place, and a successful season with the Giants will keep me in the shop window. But I have an Irish grandfather and both my wife Virginia and myself are looking forward to living in Belfast and exploring the country whenever we get the opportunity. Who knows, if we like it we may stay a while."
A career as an NHL enforcer spanning 11 seasons, 423 games, 1,074 penalty minutes and four teams - Calgary Flames, New York Islanders, Buffalo Sabres and San Jose Sharks - can take it out of a player, but not Canadian Paul Kruse He may no longer be looking for trouble but if anyone is foolish enough to go Krusin' for a Brusin' Paul will oblige.
"At my age (32) you don't go looking for the rough stuff but if anyone tries to take advantage of any of our guys I'll step up to the plate and hold them accountable," warned the Merrit, British Columbia native.
Helping him to do that will be an unlikely source, Paxton Schulte, with whom Kruse had a memorable 'frank discussion of views' at the Odyssey last season: "Paxton and I have had our differences but now we're team-mates and I think between us we can handle most things that will crop up," he said.
But he's not just a one dimensional player: "Everyone knows Paul is a huge physical presence out on the ice but he's also a very skilled player and a born leader," said Whistle: "He's a good skater, he hits hard, he can score and he can make goals, but players will also look up him. When things aren't going our way he'll be the go-to guy everyone will turn to, he's been there before and will lead by example.
"He gives everything he has all season long, he's playing hockey because he wants to, he loves the game and his work ethic is infectious. Sure he'll be there to stand up for his team-mates but he'll also contribute in lots of other ways."
Like Bach, Kruse has been impressed with the club's professionalism, the support of the fans, and the quality of the Odyssey Arena. But for adverse TV coverage he would have been a Giant last season.
"Dave wanted me last year and we really thought about coming but we were uncertain after seeing the negative reports on the TV. Having played there a few times last season I saw for myself what a fun place it is and how friendly the people are and we can't wait to get there," he said.
"Dave's been singing the praises of the local schools and we've told my two daughters McKinley (aged 7) and Sierra (aged 3) that we'll be living near the ocean and they're really excited, come to think of it so are Laurie-Anne and I."