MOSCOW – While Champions Hockey League finalist Metallurg Magnitogorsk won its KHL road game against CSKA Moscow, 3-0 on Tuesday, the odd man out Karel Pilar took a flight to Prague where he will join Sparta.
Even though Metallurg, currently ranked fifth overall in the KHL, doesn’t fill the contingent of four imports per game, the Czech defenceman has dressed up in just two of Metallurg’s last ten KHL games and he has not played any games in 2009.
Pilar played 24 KHL games and had a goal, five assists and a minus-7 rating. In the Champions Hockey League he was without scoring points in three games.
Metallurg head coach Valeri Belousov confirmed after the game against CSKA on Tuesday that Pilar has left the club.
Sparta Prague General Manager Petr Briza confirmed the transfer. “We expect a huge boost with Pilar, especially in defence. His experience should be very useful, especially in tight games,” Briza said.
Pilar played for Sparta during the 2004-2005 season after having spent three years with the Toronto Maple Leafs and he also joined Sparta at the end of the season when they won the Extraliga in 2006 and 2007. After a year with the Chicago Blackhawks in 2007-2008, he joined Metallurg last summer.
The 31-year-old won the 2001 World Championship in Germany with the Czech Republic and aims for his second participation 2009 in Switzerland.
“I could have finished the season in Magnitogorsk but I decided to leave. I haven’t played in the last games and this has a negative impact on my career,” Pilar told sport.ru. “I want to make the Czech World Championship roster and return to Russia for the next season.”