I’m not going to follow Petr Mrazek or any of the Wings’ other trade deadline subtractions with a lot of, “Hey, how is player X doing in new location Y?” stuff, but I do want to offer a little follow-up stuff regarding Mrazek, who’s going to start for the Flyers on Thursday against Columbus.
Newcomer Petr Mrazek arrived in Philadelphia on Tuesday morning with just enough time to get to the Wells Fargo Center, change into his gear and participate in the morning skate. He backed up rookie Alex Lyon in the game against Montreal. Lyon earned the win with 25 saves on 27 shots.
On Wednesday, Mrazek put in his first practice with his new team.
“It’s been a busy two days but it’s very exciting to get going. I felt good out there today, for sure,” Mrazek said.
With only one full practice opportunity before Thursday, Mrazek will focus on keeping communications with his defensemen as simple and unambiguous as possible. There will be adjustments to make. For example, Mrazek is known as a rather aggressive puckhandling goalie who also likes to keep play moving when possible. In his early games with the Flyers, he may initially be a little more inclined to freeze the puck in front and venture less behind the net.
Mrazek’s teammates suggested to the Courier-Post’s Dave Isaac that Mrazek may be better off just getting into action and keeping things simple on Thursday…
“Sometimes it’s easier for him to just get thrown in there kinda,” defenseman Andrew MacDonald said, “but I think the one thing might be some communication with puck moving and him understanding our system and how we play it, the communication we have the code words, if you will. We’ll be working on that in the next few days I’m sure and going over it with the goalie coach (Kim Dillabaugh) I’m sure. It’s not a huge adjustment, but we gotta play well in front of him and we know he’ll be back there to stop it for us.
Mrazek, 26, can certainly communicate in his native Czech with fellow countryman Radko Gudas and his English is strong enough that he should have no problem with the rest of the defense corps.
He had a meeting with Dillabaugh to go over some of the defensemen’s tendencies and how to play the puck to them behind the net.
“I’m really confident in playing the puck, helping the D,” Mrazek said. “I like to be involved behind the net and try to put the puck on the D’s sticks and get the puck out of the zone. Especially on the road that’s important when those teams chip the puck behind the net and try to make chaos there. If I can help the D to get it out, that’s awesome.”
Because of the nature of his position, there isn’t much else for the Flyers to worry about. It’s not like he’s a new center that has to worry about defensive zone coverage and where to be on the ice. He stays between the pipes and uses the tools he’s built over the course of his career.
“Simple is better,” coach Dave Hakstol said. “He’s just gotta go in and play his game. All the basics are in place. He’s had a good opportunity here over a couple of days to get a clear understandings of the basic systems. We don’t want to go any further than that. We don’t want to complicate things with too much detail. Petr’s just got to go in and play and he’ll be ready to do that.”
And Mrazek spoke with NBCSN Philly’s John Boruk regarding his first impressions of his teammates:
“Everyone was really fast in transition yesterday. We were trying to get the puck out of the zone as quick as we can,” Mrazek said.
Mrazek believes he can help facilitate quick breakouts with the way he plays the puck and working the puck to his defensemen.
“I’m really confident in playing the puck and helping the defense,” Mrazek said. “I like to be involved behind the net and put the puck on their sticks and get the puck out of the zone. Especially on the road, it’s very important when teams chip the puck behind the net and try to make play out there.”
Playing the puck efficiently will certainly help Mrazek rest easier, as was his first night in Philadelphia. Staying at a nearby hotel, Mrazek was able to get a good night’s rest after barely getting any sleep the night he was traded to Philadelphia.
“I was fine today,” he said, “but yesterday when I woke up at four in the morning I asked myself, ‘Is this really happening?'”