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Perfect timing
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März 20, 2002; 02:47
Perfect timing
Barons winger David Oliver has been thriving since the Olympic break
Frank Johne/Thomas Neumair

 
‘Mister efficient’: Oliver has scored on a team-leading 18.0 pct of his shots

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Munich, Germany - Timing can be so important. Is there anything better than being red-hot and thriving when the postseason comes around? Winger David Oliver of the Munich Barons has definitely come alive at the right time.
 

Thriving: David Oliver has tallied 10 points since the Olympic break
Leading DEL Scorers
(as of Feb 19, 2005)

And it’s even sweeter, knowing that he had a rather quiet start into the season. After following Grand Rapids teammate Derek King overseas during the offseason, Oliver needed some time to make the transition to Europe’s bigger ice rinks. He kept working hard, played intense hockey - but things just didn’t work that well in the beginning. While his original linemates Derek Plante and King started to shine right away, Oliver seemed to be the guy in the shade.

But he obviously chose the right time to step into the spotlight. After the Olympic break, Oliver almost single-handedly kept Munich’s run for first place alive, now mostly lined up alongside Mike Kennedy and center Peter Douris. While most of his teammates needed some time to get back into sync, though, after almost a month off in the middle of the season, the 31 year old winger seemed to be sharp and in good shape right away.

The former Edmonton Oiler has registered an impressive point streak, tallying six goals and four helpers in the ten games between the Olympic break and the end of the regular season.

That’s not only a point per game on average. Oliver’s tallies often came at crucial moments. He scored the first goals of the game in the wins over the Berlin Caps and Frankfurt, paved the way to victory with his game-tying score against the Berlin Eisbären and also tallied the game-winner against the Caps. But don’t forget his helpers: Oliver set up Shane Peacock’s late game-winner at Schwenningen and also Kennedy’s winning-score against Mannheim, crucial tallies on the way to first place.

Most-efficient scorer

Gifted with a hard, quick and precise wrist shot - obviously one of the best wristers around the league – Oliver also was Munich’s most-efficient scorer during the regular season, gunning home almost every fifth shot (18.0 pct.).

And his roll will continue in the postseason, no doubt about that. David brings a lot of playoff experience with him. He was a key member of the Houston Aeros Turner Cup Championship Team in 1999, tallying ten goals and six assists in 19 playoff games. Oliver appeared in a total of 44 IHL postseason games (22 goals, 12 assists) with the Aeros and the Griffins and also appeared in three NHL playoff games with the New York Rangers.

“Anybody who plays professional hockey,” the BC-native explains, “that’s why we play the game: It’s for the playoffs. I know we got a lot of guys in our room with a lot of experience, I think everybody’s really been looking forward to that time o’ year.

Oliver tallied a total of 34 points, 20 goals and 14 assists in 59 regular season games with the Barons this season, finishing seventh on the team in scoring. He could have scored more, of course, but regarding his slow start, he made the best out of it.

He seems to be the perfect right wing. Unfortunately, his defensive play did not shine that bright: he finished the year at –9, which ranks him dead last on the team.

But his offensive skills and scoring instincts definitely make up for that little weakness.

Hopefully, Oliver gets the chance to improve his stats next year. He should be back in Munich. He has not only developed into a key player of the Barons – David has also fallen in love with one of Germany’s most beautiful cities:

“I love Munich. Once I learn a little bit more ‘Deutsch’ (German), I could make this my home. I love the city that much. Hopefully, things will go according to plan and I’ll be back in a Barons jersey.”
Frank Johne/Thomas Neumair

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