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Shane Malloy | NHL.com correspondent
Jan 16, 2007, 12:15 PM EST


Being a "meat and potatoes" is a badge of honor in the hockey world, and it says a lot about the Vancouver Giants' Spencer Machacek, a true grinding winger.

Every winning team needs a handful of "meat and potatoes" types to insure success. A perfect example at the NHL level is Edmonton's Fernando Pisani, whose work ethic and non-stop motor opened up plenty of opportunities during the Oilers' drive to the 2006 Stanley Cup Final.

Machacek, a 6-foot-1, 190-pound Lethbridge, Alberta native, is eligible for the 2007 NHL Entry Draft and has given NHL teams plenty of food for thought.

“I had a lot of coaches in Lethbridge that helped me along the way, but the one that sticks in my mind is Bruce Bell," Machacek said. "He played in the NHL and his career ended with an injury, but he was a hard-nosed guy like Don Hay and he really pushed me and taught me how to take constructive criticism.”

Only in his second season in the Western Hockey League, Machacek has endeared himself to his teammates and the home crowd with his relentless work ethic and energy. Teammate Tim Kraus appreciates what Machacek brings to the team and the sacrifices he makes in order to help win games.

"Spencer brings a lot of energy to the team and he is always buzzing around the ice hitting people and he forechecks relentlessly, which puts the momentum in our favor," Kraus said.

Last season, Machacek posted very respectable numbers with 45 points in 70 games along with a plus-14 rating and 53 penalty minutes. His star really began to shine in the playoffs when the competition got increasingly tough. Through 18 games and four playoff rounds, Machacek had six goals and eight assists with a plus-9 rating a very disciplined eight penalty minutes.

When you speak to Machacek, he completely dismisses his success and attributes it to the players and leaders around him.

"I think a large part of my success last season as a rookie, especially in the playoffs, can be attributed to our leaders like Gilbert Brule and Mark Fistric making not just me, but all of us feel like we have been here for five years.

"Playing with Gilbert in the playoffs made things pretty easy for me as he sees the ice so well, so all I had to do was work my butt off and go to the net and keep my stick on the ice."

Even with missing nine games this season with a shoulder injury the scrappy winger has not changed his style of game and that has been reflected in his production, with 20 points through 31 games.

"Overall, I just have to continue to play in those greasy areas as that’s where I have success," he said. "My best assets are my ability to play both ways and killing penalties. I like going to the net and scoring those ugly goals and getting rebounds.

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