Editor’s note: A couple of weeks ago, Carolina Hurricanes forward Martin Necas did a sit-down interview with Darina Vymětalíková, a presenter for ČT Sport, the Czech public broadcaster’s sports specialty channel. Darina was kind enough to transcribe and translate the interview, and granted us permission to post the translation. The interview itself is embedded at the bottom of this post (in Czech, obviously). Thanks to Darina for doing the heavy lifting on this article and to Katariina Rasku for serving as an intermediary between Canes Country and Darina!
Darina Vymětalíková: Let’s talk about your summer.
Martin Necas: I had more training time this year. Last summer I was really busy, I was participating in the NHL combine, then the NHL entry draft. I was flying from Europe to the States and back all the time. I didn’t have time to train properly. This year, everything is much better and I trained all through the summer.
DV: How did you train, where and who were your teammates?
MN: I was training with Miloš Peca. He’s the Conditioning Coach for Kometa Brno, but I had been training with him even before he came to Brno. And then I went onto the ice, sometimes I trained with Kometa Brno, sometime I was preparing individually in Telč.
DV: You were training with Martin Kaut (Colorado prospect and Martin’s friend from childhood), he went to Colorado after the draft. You spent one year more in Europe. Did you get some“homework” from Carolina?
MN: Yeah, they told me to put on weight — of course they mean muscles — and I did it, so that’s great. They also told me to practice face-offs on my strong side. Two right-handed players just left Carolina, so they told me to work on face-offs. The rest of the summer was up to me.
DV: Can you compare you and your hockey skills, last year and now? Are you a different type of player?
MN: I don’t think it’s a big difference. One year is not such a long time. I tried to improve the same things as last year. As I said, the main goal was to put on weight, that’s the most important thing for success in the NHL.
DV: You put on weight and also gained some experience. You’ve played in the IIHF Worlds. How about that? Can you describe this experience?
MN: The game was the same as I used to play in the Czech Extraliga, at least physically and tactically. But the hockey in IIHF Worlds was faster. There were also a lot of NHL players, so there was a lot of skill and it was fast, but I liked it. It reminded me of the U20 World Championship.
DV: You have played in the U20 Championships and in Carolina, both in North American-sized ice rinks, but the majority of your life you’ve spent in Olympic-sized rinks. What do you prefer?
MN: I prefer North American-sized rinks! I like to play one-on-one, because you make one deke and you are ahead of your opponent and you are in for a scoring chance. I think Olympic rinks are better for defense, they have more time to do everything.
DV: You have tried the North American rink last year in Raleigh, you met the people in organization, but you spoke with Ron Francis and he’s not there anymore. The same with coach Bill Peters. What about these changes?
MN. Of course, I followed all information from the organization. I am in contact with Robert Kron, the Carolina scout. There were more changes including players and the owner, he is trying to rebuild the team and make the playoffs.
DV: And for you, is it good or bad?
MN: I don’t think it’s bad. They told me I have a big chance to make the team while I was at development camp, so I think it’s up to me whether I will do it or not.
DV: Speaking of changes and trades, you will also have a fellow Czech in the team, because Carolina signed goalie Petr Mrázek. Did you contact each other?
MN: Yes, we met in the summer camp of the Czech national team and we had a chat. It’s huge for me that there will be somebody that can help me. I’ve never played in the NHL, he has. He told me he will lend me his car and let me live in his house in the beginning so I am happy that I will have his help.
DV: You are not the only Carolina prospect that will be in the center of attention. The Hurricanes drafted Andrei Svechnikov this year.
MN: I met him already at development camp, we were talking together and sharing a room. I think it was a good draft pick from Carolina and he will have a great future.
DV: Will you miss something from European hockey?
MN: I will miss Brno, the city and the fans, but on the other hand I want to take a step forward and play in the best league in the world. But these last two years were incredible!
DV: And what you won’t miss at all?
MN: Hockey in the NHL is much more fun. There is a lot of wasted time in the Czech Extraliga, lots of defense and fouls. The hockey in America is faster, more offensive and I am really looking forward to it.
DV: Did you get some advice? From Libor Zabransky (head coach of Kometa and former NHL player), or from Martin Erat or Petr Mrazek?
MN: They told me to play my game. That’s why Carolina chose me. That’s all. It’s up to me.
DV: What would make you happy in this NHL season?
MN: I would like to make the team and play. I don’t want to say how many points I would like to gain in this season, that’s tricky and the points of the team are more important. The main thing is to make the playoffs.