Washington Capitals prospect Martin Fehervary’s 2020-21 season didn’t go the way he originally envisioned last summer. Instead of breaking through and securing a spot on the Capitals blueline, the 21-year-old spent a majority of the season in AHL Hershey. Fehervary was initially disappointed in the AHL assignment, but in the end, he learned to move past it and turned in another solid season with the Bears.
Fehervary discussed his 2020-21 season and his mindset heading into the 2021-22 season in a recent interview with Slovak media outlet Sport.sk. The following is a translation of portions of the interview.
After the “bubble” year, when you also played in the NHL playoffs, you were expected to get a chance from Washington to play regularly. Instead, you only played in the AHL. Was it the most mentally difficult season?
“It simply came to our notice then. Although I’m disappointed because my ambitions are elsewhere than just being a top player in the AHL. From the beginning, I had the goal to make the Capitals team, but it didn’t work out, unfortunately. I only have to focus on the future and do everything I can to ensure that this does not happen again. I’ll start training soon. I will try to prepare even better than last year.”
Did they tell you anything different at the club before the season than what ultimately happened?
“I wouldn’t want to break it down, even though it was a little different from expectations.”
Why did they give you the year in the AHL, in which no winner was played and you played against the same opponents?
“I said at the beginning that it was strange for the pandemic. The only positive is that I had a good offensive season and showed offensive potential. It was hard on the psyche to play against the same opponents all the time. Plus, waiting for a phone call from the first team, which did not come with a game, also played a role. However, I went through harder things in my life, we move on.”
Haven’t you talked with your agent to ask for a trade to another club?
“There were also thoughts about asking about it, but in the end we didn’t discuss it in more detail. I still believe that my future is connected to the Washington Capitals and the club counts on me in its plans.”
Apparently you were having a hard time watching the beginning of the year, when the Capitals management signed ten defenders with a one-way contract, who were in the hierarchy before you, mainly because you have a rookie contract?
“It takes a bit of self-confidence, even though it’s well set in my head. I went into preparation (camp) with the idea that I was better than several others. Despite the excellent camp, after which they were satisfied with me, I did not win a place, but it is part of hockey life. I don’t put my head down.”
You had to be on the club’s taxi squad. Was there no chance of you starting at the World Championships in Riga?
“I communicated with Miroslav Šatan. We talked about what it would look like. We knew that Washington would advance to the playoffs and I was at the interface (taxi squad) of the first team and the AHL. I was in such a position that the Capitals could not tell me if I would not get the opportunity. It was still open, which was a priority for me. In the end, the chance didn’t even come in the playoffs. Of course, I am sorry not to participate in the World Cup. The boys played great, it was a good game, but it didn’t work out. I believe that my patience towards the Capitals will pay off for me in the future. ”
During the exit interviews after the season, did they tell you in what role they are counting on you?
“I have received virtually no information. I read an interview with manager Brian MacLellan, who said they were counting on me in the NHL, but I’m not going to rely on anything. I know how it works. I will not think about what I cannot influence. I will prepare as best I can. I will come to the camp with the setting that I will go to a place in the first team.”
Do you take the words of the manager after the last experience with caution?
“Yes, because I already know how things work. All NHL players have similar experiences. It strengthened me mentally.”
Did you communicate more with Zdeno Chára during the year?
“I asked Zdena a lot of things. After all, he is a Slovak, a legend and, first of all, a very nice person. We talked about hockey and non-hockey issues. I’m glad I was able to meet him. It’s great that I have a relationship with him and I can ask him for advice.”
He has long been said to treat 20-year-old teammates as well as veterans. Can you confirm that?
“That’s exactly how it is. I really appreciate that despite what he was able to do in his career, he also devoted himself to us young people and was good for us. He had no star manners. I don’t know many better people than Zdeno. He is a great personality.”
Do you think it’s tempting for him to play another season, which could make him the defender with the most NHL games in history?
“Even with the Czech goalkeeper Vítek Vaněček, we motivated him not to end yet, as he lacks not even fifty games in the top ten of history and can still become the defender with the highest number of games in history. I firmly believe that he will try again.”
What are your current plans?
“I came from America about two weeks ago. I’m resting, I’m completely free. I regenerate, I spend time with friends and family. The businesses have finally opened, I like to go to town for dinner and I’m often fishing. I would also like to go on vacation, we are planning it with Adam Ružiček.”
You must have been pleased with Adam that he finally played in the NHL in the Calgary Flames jersey.
“Definitely. We are best friends. I’m really happy for him. He deserves it, he had a very good season. He works hard on himself, just like me. He has a good chance to play regularly for the Flames next year. ”
Would you like to play in the August Olympic qualification?
“Certainly yes. I just discussed it with (my) fitness trainers, that we should adapt the preparation to it. It will depend on whether Washington approves it, but I firmly believe in a positive answer. I need eight weeks for the final preparation. I will start training in late June, early July. Tough matches could help me even in front of the camp. The Winter Olympics is one of my biggest goals in my career.”
By Jon Sorensen
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