Monday, March 28, 2005


Marek Schwarz Interview

Marek Schwarz, about two weeks ago, gave an exclusive interview to about life in Vancouver with the Giants.

My pal Robert Neuhauser, a budding scout and writer for McKeen's Hockey (and THE expert on Czech prospects), was kind enough to translate the entire interview for me.

I'm just glad to see that Schwarz knows he flops too much ;)

What was the arrival in Vancouver like after the return from the U20 WJC? Any special celebrations for you?

When I arrived in Vancouver, the team was just on a road trip. So at first I celebrated with my billet family. They had a celebrational
dinner for me and we sat together for the evening. On the next day I flew to Prince George to join the team. I was happy that I didn't have to play, I was still pretty tired. Everybody was congratulating me. Another beautiful moment came before the first home game. Team staff members congratulated me, people in the stands gave me a standing ovation. Just beautiful!

Had you time to relax?

At first it looked really grueling. But our schedule for the next week was good and the team sent me and Andrej Meszaros for four days to California. We made the trip to Palm Springs for a vacation. I was very happy about that and we had a nice rest. And we collected strength for the upcoming games.

Were you happy with your play in January and February?

I think it got a bit better. I began to feel better after the U20 WJC. But everything can still be improved in my play.

Do you get enough playing chances from the coaches? Are you already adapted to the Canadian style of play?

I can't complain about ice time, the coaches play me a lot and I'm often between the pipes. We have just a few games left in the regular season schedule, so I get a rest from time to time. I lay back a bit and prepare for the top of the season. If it were up to me, I would like to start all games, but the coach wants it the way it is. And Canadian style? I'm still flopping around too much, I need to calm down. Sometimes I get myself into trouble!

Did the U20 WJC help you get more respect in Vancouver?

Sure. Lots of people keep asking me about the tournament. Everybody here followed this event, especially our game against Canada. Our play received lots of feedback.

What are Vancouver's ambitions for the rest of the season?

We want to defeat as many opponents as possible in the playoffs. I'm not sure about it, but I think that Vancouver has never made it past the second round. We want to do better this time.

Can it be felt that Vancouver is getting ready for the next U20 WJC?

Our owner is engaged in the preparations, lots of people are talking about it. Me and AndreJ Meszaros took part in a little bit of the opening ceremony of the preparations. Every country which will be participating had one member there. It was a social event where the sponsors, which will be taking care of each country, were introduced.

How do you rest in your free time? Do you spend time together with Slovak national player Andrej Meszaros?
I prefer being home and relaxing. I like to play videogames on the Playstation and read a lot. I like crime stories most - I always take a book into the bus when we head for a trip. Then I have lots of time to read because the trips are really long. Sometimes I spend time together with Andrej, we grew fond of golf recently. But to be honest, we are not good at it...else we take care of the hockey duties. We don't have much spare time actually, we keep working.

Will your girlfriend arrive (In Vancouver)?
No, she won't be here any more. She was here before Christmas for the last time. We have to live with it. We are looking forward to be with one another once the season will be over. One week ago I was visited by my mother and sister and now is my father getting ready for a trip to Vancouver.

In Vancouver you are coached by respected coach Bill Ranford? Does he still force you to work hard?

Yeah, still. But it isn't so difficult as it was in the beginning. We try to keep me in the best shape for the playoffs. We keep working hard.

Did the NHL lockout help to a bigger crowd at Giants games?

We can't complain. There are lots of people in the stands, we average about 8,000 people a game. I think that our record stands at 13,000.

How do you get along with the exhausting trips to road games?

I already got used to it. But in the beginning, it was terrible! These trips are really long. Anyone who hasn’t gone though it will never realize how long these trips are. The whole body hurts and time passes so slowly. I battle it in different ways. I read books, listen to music, play videogames.
I feel the best when I can fall asleep.

Do you get any salary from the team? What is the regime in the billet family?

Yeah, I get some pocket money. I am allowed a lot of freedom within the billet family. I get along with all members of the billet family well. Nobody gave me any restrictions, just the team set an exact time when we have to arrive to our homes.

Do you already know what is going to happen with you in the next season?

I don't know, really. I will talk to the St.Louis staff, who drafted me. We will discuss my situation also with my agents Mr. Jaromir Henys and Rich Evans. But there is still time left for these talks, I'll start being interested not earlier than in a few months.

Is it true that one of the possibilities could be your return to Trinec, where you were heading already last summer?

Yeah, I was talking to Mr.Marek (ex-coach and still a member of the front office), but I can't say anything past that. It is really too early, but I have a perfect relationship to Trinec. I was provided there with a chance to play in the senior Extraleague. I played my first senior Extraleague game there.

Do you get any information from St.Louis? Will you be signed to a contract?

Get signed and make the minors - that would be great. But I realize well how difficult it will be. I don't know yet what is going to happen. I didn't talk about a contract with the members of the St.Louis staff.

Do you already know where you will go for your summer vacation?

Me and my girlfriend have booked a trip to Croatia. I would also like to make a trip through the Czech Republic. For example to the mountains, where I haven't been yet to.

Where is your medal from the U20 WJC placed?

On the table next to my bed. I look at it every day. I have terrific memories from the U20 WJC, it was an unbelievable experience.
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Extraleague Update

Dukla Trencin tied up their series at 2 with a 5-3 win over Slovan Bratislava. Marian Hossa was on fire again with 2 goals and an assist, while Marian Gaborik has gone cold after being seperated from Demitra-Hossa and put onto a line with two Extraleague veterans.

Over in Czechia, evil Pardubice beat Liberec by a 4-0 score and now lead that series 3-1. Jan Lasak made 35 saves for the 'Clean Sheet' while Milan Hnilicka was pulled after letting in 4 goals in the first 44 minutes.

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