European professional hockey seasons are following the early-starting KHL in getting down to regular season business this weekend, and two Red Wings prospects will be in action on Friday and Saturday in the Czech Extraliga.
The Czech league kicked off on Thursday, however, with a game between Filip Hronek’s HK Mountfield and Ceske Budejovice.
HK Mountfield prevailed via a 5-1 decision. Hronek played a massive 27:31, scoring a power play goal, an assist, and a +2. You can watch a clip of Hronek’s goal here via Hokej.cz’s Ondrej Mach.
Hronek did speak to the media after the game, and while attempting to translate Czech is very much so an inexact science, his interview with the CTK News Agency notes that Hronek is playing alongside former Red Wings prospect Richard Nedomlel (as per usual, what follows is roughly translated)…
The native of Hradec Kralove didn’t have any major problems with the wider ice rink that he’s used to from playing overseas. “It helped that I played with Richard Nedomlel. I knew that, if anything, I was covered in the back. Before we even said anything about it, I think it was fine. It was my second game at home, my first real one. The boys helped me a lot, I don’t think there were any major problems,” Hronek told reporters.
He’s had a successful return to the Extraliga in all aspects. “It’s especially great that we won. Now I’m playing a slightly different position than I was four years ago [as a rookie], but I’m especially pleased with the points. It helped us a lot, when we got the beginning and Ceske Budejovice [took a penalty] after seven minutes. The game gradually settled down, but the start was important. We had a very good one, the first period overall,” said Hronek.
He significantly contributed to his team’s great start. 74 seconds into the game, he leaned on the puck in the circle on the power play,, and goaltender Marek Ciliak probably only saw the puck when he retrieved it from the net. “Filip Pavlik tossed it over to me well there, I got the puck right between my legs. I was just trying to hit it,” said Hronek, smiling.
Given their seven-year-old history, the Motor fans did not welcome their guests kindly, but the Eastern Bohemians expected it. “When Mountfield moved to Hradec, I was still at home. I remember that time. And I expected it to look like this, with the fans, it wouldn’t be the most pleasant for us. But it’s a pity that no one in the Extraliga can sell out their rinks right now. This is exactly the kind of rink that would suit a full stadium. It would have been an even bigger charge,” said Hronek.
On Sunday, his team would have had an opportunity to build on today’s success, but he must wait for his next performance, as tests confirmed the coronavirus in 17 players in Vitkovice and two coaches. The whole team has to quarantine, and after the postponed game with Litvinov today, they will miss other games as well.
“It’s not a big complication. We’ve been playing after long breaks even today, so maybe it won’t be a problem,” said Hronek.
Here’s a rough translation of what Hronek had to say to iSport.cz’s Pavel Rysavy as well:
There were good emotions overall on the ice, but they didn’t seem to hurt the battle, but rather helped it. Did you like the pace?
“It was a good game, with decent hockey on both sides. We decided it in the first period.”
So a good return to the Extraliga overall?
“Sure, it’s especially great that we won. Now I was in a slightly different position than I had four years ago [as a rookie], but most of all I enjoy getting the points. It helped a lot that at the beginning we came out and Motor seemed to fall off after seven minutes. The game gradually leveled off, but the start was important. We had a very good one.”
One of your slap shots also helped them. Have you already managed to learn power lifting with Hradec?
“Filip Pavlic passed it to me very well there, I got the puck right between my legs. I was just trying to hit it. It was my second game at home, the first that counted. The boys helped me a lot, but I don’t think that there were any major problems.”
Maybe one detail of how you wanted to hit your opponent was leaning forward, but he stretched your way along the boards and skated off. He wouldn’t go anywhere in North America, would he?
(Smiles) “He jumped to the other side, so I was far from him.”
Did you have to watch more on the wider rink to see if anyone was behind you?
“It helped that I played with Richard Nedomlel. I knew that if anything, I was covered on the back. Before the game, we said something to each other, I think it was fine.”