Andrej Nestrasil has had a rough calendar year. Last season, the Carolina Hurricanes winger, formerly a member of the Detroit Red Wings before being picked up by the Canes in November 2014, was performing at a career-best level. However, on February 25, 2016, he fractured a vertebra in his back in a game against the Toronto Maple Leafs when he fell into the boards. He returned from the injury to start this season, but played in only 16 games (mostly in the first month of the season) while serving as a healthy scratch in 24 others before he was placed on waivers on January 9.
When he cleared waivers the next day, he was sent to the Charlotte Checkers, where he’s stayed with the exception of a one-game cameo on March 1. And now, it seems, Nestrasil has decided to call an end to his career with the Hurricanes organization when he becomes a free agent this summer.
In an interview with Czech newspaper Blesk, Nestrasil blasted the Hurricanes organization, expressing his displeasure with the lack of opportunity given to him after returning from his injury. The interview was translated from Czech by Reddit user doytch33. Below are some quotes from the interview:
I'm on the farm team, maybe it's all because of my injury. That bothers me. Right now I have the capability that I had last year. It's not even my fault I'm on the farm team, it's more the organisation's changes and decisions. They did, what I think, is best for them. And I'm down here.
They didn't give me much a chance after the injury. It's a big learning experience for me, that when it's about business and money, everyone starts caring about themselves and no one wants to help. Obviously exceptions exist, but I haven't run into any. When I first got hurt, they wanted to help and were promises me things all over the place. But when it came down it, they weren't willing to actually do anything.
I think Ron Francis likes me as a player. But the coach didn't want me. And now they're happy that I'm on the farm.
I'm done here, 100%, and I don't want to stay here. This was such a frustrating and mentally draining year that I'm not going to repeat it. Still fifteen games left, so we'll see. The worst part is that I'm playing for people and a team that doesn't want me. And now I don't want to play for them.
Read the entire translation for more from Nestrasil, including his thoughts on representing the Czech Republic at the upcoming World Championships. The translator did indicate that the word choice may be more harsh in translation than Nestrasil intended:
Just a note, the Czech language and Czechs themselves are very matter-of-fact and shoot-from-the-hip. Some of these responses would be out of sorts to hear from a Canadian (I'm also Canadian) hockey player, but are more natural from a Czech. So don't read too much into the word choices. If I was translating across sensibilities, there'd be more "just gotta keep my head up and stick on the ice" in there.
Still, Nestrasil seems not at all happy that he has become the forgotten man in Charlotte over the past few months, and he has likely played his last game in a Hurricanes uniform.