He’s listed size on paper is 5 feet, 10 inches tall, 198 pounds. His game is much bigger. Vladimir Sobotka embodies many of the qualities that fans of any sport would admire, especially his tenacious desire to outwork other players on a nightly basis. He may not be the biggest player on the ice ever, but his presence is definitely felt, just ask Ryan Suter of the Minnesota Wild:
Pierre McGuire sums up Sobotka’s tenacity ironically, yet perfectly as an “Eastern European tank.” Sobotka’s ability to constantly stay on his feet in all circumstances is truly remarkable. There certainly must be a notion around the league that Sobotka is more than meets the eye. Most of the hits that he commits on other players seem to catch them by surprise, and deservedly so.
Vladimir Sobotka was drafted by the Boston Bruins in 2005 (4th round, 106th overall). He spent the next 2 years playing for Slavia in the CEL, then came to America in 2007 splitting time between the Providence and Boston Bruins for the next 3 years. From the start, it was evident that there was simply not enough room on the roster for him, or a particular role that he could fill. The most games that he ever played in one season while in Boston was just 61. Last year while on the Blues, he appeared in 73 games. Sobotka has been endowed with all of the qualities that define what it means to be a St. Louis Blue. Think back to the early days of the organization when the Plager brothers were anchoring the blue line, Garry Unger was continuing his iron man streak, and the roar of the Checkerdome crowd. The work ethic that the Note is known for has been established since the club’s youth, and it looks as if Sobotka will continue that tradition for the foreseeable future. Andy Strickland from TrueHockey.com tweeted yesterday:
— Andy Strickland (@andystrickland) January 30, 2013
This is obviously Ken Hitchcock’s reward to Sobotka for the great start he has had to the season. Sobotka had no points in the first 3 games of the season, but since then, he has registered 3 points in the last 3 games. Although he isn’t regarded or relied upon to score very often, it’s good to see him heating up to contribute even more to the team. It’s very evident that Vladimir put a great deal of effort to improving his game during the lockout while playing in the Czech Republic. The spot that Sobotka is taking over is that of Jaden Schwartz. Schwartz hasn’t shown much this year, and the move to the fourth line will hopefully give him the wake-up call he needs to jump start his game. This also is a great example of how much the amount of struggle and sweat that is exerted can directly translate to the amount of ice one sees. I don’t want to seem like I’m rooting against Schwartz, but this proves that Vladimir Sobotka has one of the most persistent work ethics in all of the National Hockey League.