Editor's note: The Examiner will be announcing the members of the Missouri Mavericks' Top 10 all-time team this week. Each sports section will feature a member of the squad, as voted on by fans on the Mavericks home web page. Dave Pszenyczny, an agitator out on the ice who usually shadows an opponent's top scoring threat, is featured today.
By Bill Althaus
His name might be the most difficult to spell or pronounce in the Central Hockey League, but it's easy to talk about the impact defenseman Dave Pszenyczny has made on the Missouri Mavericks.
“Oh, Chezy,” team president Brent Thiessen said, when asked about the newest member of the top 10 all-time Mavericks team. “No one can spell his name. No one chirps like him on the ice and no one can outwork him. He's one of those guys who help teams win championships, and that is why it was so important to sign him for this season.
“He is a Richard Matvichuk type of player. He's going to do all the dirty work – the tough jobs no one really notices but a coach or your teammates. He rattles opponents out on the ice and he uses that to his advantage. He's one of the smartest guys we've had on the team and he's a player who certainly deserves to be a member of the all-time team.”
Pszenyczny – it is pronounced “SHUH-nitch-nee” – has been a standout on the team's league-leading penalty kill units and can provide a spark of offense when needed.
He received the news about making the all-time Mavericks team earlier this week while he and his wife Natalie were celebrating their anniversary with family and friends in Michigan.
“Really?” he asked earlier this week. “You expect guys like Kinger (Colt King) and Sebbie (Sebastien Thinel) to make it – the big fan favorites. But I never really thought much about it. I knew the fans were voting, but I didn't think I was a top 10 all-time guy.
“This is just the best honor – thank you. We've accomplished a lot in the three years I've been here, advancing to two semifinals and winning the Governors’ Cup last year (given to the team with the best regular-season record), but we haven't won a championship.
“I was lucky enough to win one (in Bossier-Shreveport) a few years back and I want our fans and this organization to experience that feeling. I can't wait for the season to start. We've had a great summer traveling around and seeing some friends and family members we haven't seen in a while – but we're all ready for the season to start, especially with Matti (new head coach Richard Matvichuk) here. I think you're going to see a different team out on the ice.”
Pszenyczny, who has 30 goals and 55 assists in 177 career games in Missouri, believes this year's team will be more physical, and built in the style of play Dallas Stars fans were accustomed to watching when Matvichuk starred for the 1999 Stanley Cup champions.
“Pszenyczny is an agitator, a guy other team's top skaters hate to play against,” Matvichuk said of the veteran, who tallied 32 points (10 goals, 22 assists) and a team-high 166 penalty minutes last season. “It's a real bonus to have him back in the locker room, and I look forward to using him as a shut-down defenseman. We just have to find a way to keep him out of the penalty box; he's too valuable to our team out on the ice.”
When that comment was relayed to the veteran defenseman, he readily agreed.
“I have to stay out of the box this season,” Pszenyczny said. “I've talked about that with Coach. I can still be as aggressive and stir things up out on the ice, I just have to be smarter. I know exactly what he's talking about.”