Wednesday, August 18, 2010
I wanted to spend some time looking at the Flames new tough guy; no one seems to know much on this guy so I did some digging.
Sutter has not given a tough guy more than a 1yr deal in a while, look at McGrattan, Godard and Roy all got 1yr deals and did not return to the club! So why did Ivanans get the 2 year one way deal? And his deal is not the league minimum but I guess we should be happy he did not receive Shelley or Boogaard type money!
Raitis is a 31 year old Latvian. 6’4” 240 lbs and seems to want the number 41. He speaks very fluent English and doesn’t seem media shy. Began playing hockey at the age of 7 in Riga Latvia and was encouraged by his father. So why Raitis? Why not bring Mc Baggins back for another year? I did some digging and came up with some stuff on Ivanans that may help these answer questions;
Raitis Ivanans moved to North America in 1997 to play for the Flint Generals. He moved on his own and left his family behind to pursue his dream. He says he was not always a fighter, but due to his size he decided in the minors that he could make a career out of fighting. His strategy according to him is simple: “control the grab hand and swing for the fences, oh and try not to get hit” Seems fairly easy right? Raitis says defending his teammates and providing energy is his second nature and enjoys it every day and because of this, his young daughter will be well protected! Raitis had his first fight when he was 18. The fight didn’t go as well as he wanted and ended up with 2 black eyes and he doesn’t remember much of the event. He made his way through the ECHL, UHL and the AHL and played his first NHL game for Montreal in the ’05-’06 season. He has played 279 more since. His stats aren’t very glamorous by any means; 280 games played 12 goals 8 assists and a solid -39 but we all know offence is not his game, that is why he has 564 NHL penalty minutes. Of those 564 minutes include some from when he elbowed David Moss in the chops and was ejected at the Saddledome.
Ivanans worked as a landscaper and in construction before his hockey career. Raitis acknowledges that a “tough guy” doesn’t usually have too long of a career compared to a playmaker or a sniper. He hopes to stay in hockey somehow when his playing career ends. Although he does not enjoy fighting Boogaard, he truly enjoys his role and the sport of hockey. As a child he knew he would probably have a better career in hockey, than being a basketball player which was another one of his childhood sports.
Ivanans has had 66 career NHL fights which work out to an average of 0.236 fights per game he plays. Raitis fought 14 times last year and according to hockeyfights.com he went 6-2-6 in those fights.
So in the end… do I know why Sutter gave him a 2 year deal instead of a 1 year deal? No, I don’t but if I were to guess I’d say it is because of his massive right bicep! That sucker is worth an extra year! Or maybe it is because he did a commercial with John Cena (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xzuOyVnCW0A).
But all kidding aside, the guy can fight and I see him being needed this coming season, even if it is only for 35 games.