The Czech media outlet, isport.blesk.cz conducted an interview with Washington Capitals forward, Jakub Vrana at the IIHF World Championships competition in Brno, Slovakia, on May 2-3. The following is a translation from that interview.
During this past season, Vrana had personal highs in goals and points. He was trusted by Head Coach, Todd Reirden. However, he is less happy about his solid performance due to the team’s early exit from the Stanley Cup playoffs, thanks to Carolina.
JV: Disappointing, I’m already thinking here. It’s gone.”
Question: How were the previous days like? I guess hectic enough, right?
JV: I arrived on Wednesday. I was in the lobby for the first time on Thursday. But feelings are excellent so far, guys in the room are great. Everyone accepted me positively, I’m glad I’m here.
Question: There was talk of some health problems limiting you.
JV: There’s a minor playoff injury, but it’s nothing that should stop me. So far, I can play with it. We will continue to work with the doctors to get the best treatment.
Question: So, is there a chance that you will play in the (preliminary) tournament in Brno?
JV: It doesn’t seem to be. I need to train and get in shape. But I’m here the first day, I haven’t spoken to anyone. I want to prepare, then we’ll see what happens next.
Question: On Sunday, the Czech team is scheduled to play the Russians, where there are three of your teammates from Washington. Wouldn’t you be tempted to play against them?
JV: Yes, of course, but we have to do more important things now. I don’t decide who plays against me or something. So far, they [Czech coaches] have made their decision.
Question: Are you still in touch with Alex Ovechkin?
JV: We’re friends, but here we are. I’ll see him after the championship, after the end of the season.
In the past, Jakub Vrána has already represented the Czechs in international competition, including the IIHF World Juniors.
Question: What do you say about the large number of players still in preparation for the World Cup?
JV: This tournament is still in preparation, the competition is great. The nomination looks like this… I don’t know what to say. I’m just a player, the coach here has the players he wants.
Question: For the first time ever, you are representing your country at the main level. Do you have a great motivation to play at the championship?
JV: There was an opportunity to play and I got invited. I didn’t hesitate to consent. I will try my best.
Question: But since you are without a contract for next year, did you consider not going?
JV: Right after the season I had meetings with the Capitals management. I had to listen to what they thought about me participating in the championship. I told them I’d like to come. They consented to it. I didn’t have to convince them. We agreed.
Question: I suppose you’d like to extend the contract with the Capitals, right?
JV: Certainly! We have a great group there. It’s a great organization. I’m very happy there. I’d like to stay there.
Question: How do you rate your NHL season? With 24 goals you set a new personal best.
JV: The regular season was pretty good, but the playoffs were disappointing. (Note: seven matches, no points). Unfortunately, it has happened, it cannot be undone. Instead, I’ll get motivated for the future
Question: What were the reasons for the Capitals’ failure in the first round of playoffs with Carolina?
JV: In the playoffs, little things are decisive. The seventh game, we lost to Carolina in overtime. We weren’t lucky, there were chances to end it. So, it sometimes happens, it’s over, we look ahead. Petr Mrázek caught the pucks well.
Question: In the NHL, you played a complete 82-part game schedule in the regular season, followed by seven playoffs in 14 days. How did you manage it?
JV: It’s very important to be ready to take care of your body. Of course, it’s a grind, playing every game. As I said, you have to be well prepared, then you can handle it. Overall, I was satisfied, I felt a lot of confidence from the coach. I played more than I did during my first season. it was on the right track. I confirmed the performance. Overall, I was satisfied with the season, despite failing in the playoffs.
Here is the original article from isport.bleck.cz.
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By Diane Doyle