Interview with Hejda about the problemsEurolanche Fan Club met with Jan Hejda and did an exclusive interview with him not only about the current problems of the Colorado Avalanche.
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Why it is at the present how it is…?
I exactly knew what you were going to ask me (laugh). No surprise. Why? Well… It is a good question. If I knew it, I would say it to boys and let´s start to win. After these three games we are definitely missing confidence. It is hard to play with tied hands. Sadly, we are on the last place and of course everybody knows it. It could indicate they do not want to take it, but it is not true.
Then you are trying to avoid mistakes and play very carefully hockey. It does not work. You have to show little more on the ice. But if you have no confidence, you do only what you have to. That´s the reason why it is how it is… It has started by a game against Edmonton. Every time when you play against theoretically weaker teams like Edmonton – I say theoretically, because I do not think any game is easy to play in this league, every game is hard – you underrate them. Then we probably do not play against them on the level like with Chicago or San Jose. This was maybe the start of all it.
Why there was so big turnaround after two big wins against strong teams?
Like I said, it was the underestimation of Edmonton. You said yourself they were on the second-to-last place, they have young team, so it should not be a hard game, what is not true. When we played in Edmonton, they had 56 shots, so it is definitely not easy to play against them. It was one of the hardest games of my career here. It is maybe about the attitude of the game.
What coaches reproach you most?
Today (Sunday) we had a practice focused on the play in the center ice. The crossing through it was not good. We should not loss pucks on both blue lines. I think we have to improve play in the defensive zone. You cannot win when you allow 4 and more goals in a game.
What is the situation with both goalies? They play hard, but still there are many goals…
It is definitely not easy for them. We are lucky how they play. Of course Varlamov is number one, he plays more than Giguere. I think it is a big plus that Varlamov played during the lockout. He has kept the shape. He helped us a lot at the start and still helping us. Both goalies are our rescue.
Did Ryan O´Reilly´s comeback help a team?
Yes, Ryan is good player. It was clear he needed a time for the first games to come back. But we were definitely missing him at the start of the season.
Was Tyson Barrie your best defensive partner in this season?
It was good to play with him. I cannot complain. I was glad. The situation is we have 7 one-way contracted defensemen. He has to wait on his next chance.
What´s new with Milan Hejduk?
He was injured, but not now. He did not play some games. Maybe he needs to get in the shape.
He played in Minnesota, but in the following game not. Was he a healthy scratch?
Is this his last season?
Last year he said it supposed to be his last season. I still persuade him. We will see how the management would persuade him. It is up to him. I think he has a big potential to score goals and he has the best shot of the team. It is hard to decide during the season. Maybe it is important how he will feel in the summer.
Does team still believe in the playoffs?
Of course. It has been always our target, but it will be hard. In a hockey, you won two games and start to feel better and it comes. We need to get on the winning streak. When you look on Columbus… they were on the last place, we lost to them in the overtime and then they suddenly won six in a row. It could happen to us and then we would be in the other situation.
How captain is Gabriel Landeskog?
He is good unless he has not such a good year like last season. Of course he has more duties. I do not think his age is disadvantage. We have veterans who try to help him. It was a good choice to name him a captain.
Has he raised his voice yet?
No, but mainly after bad games he says something about it. I do not think he needs to raise his voice to get authority. He is a leading example kind of player.
What do you eat during the season?
I try to have the same weight. We have a scale in the locker room and I use it before and after every practice. Mostly we have the same pre-game meal as for example chicken, pasta and rice. Usually I eat steak with rice or potatoes in the evening before the game. There is nutrition guy who gives us advices about it.
How do you try to stay focused on the game?
I try to repeat the same rituals since the morning. Usually we have a morning skate on a gameday. Before or after it I do stretching. Then I go home and have two-hour nap. Then go to the game, stretching again, little soccer… I do the same things as before the previous games.
When you are playing a game, about what are you thinking?
I mainly stay focused on the good start to the game in the first period. Referring to my experiences I know that if you have a good first period, then the adrenaline comes up and you feel better. More time on the ice, you are more confident. If the first is good, you show more in the next.
What do you think about the new divisional system for the next season?
It looks better when three teams of each division will be in the playoffs and then two more would be added. It would be different to think about it. You will not look on the conference, but on the divisions. We will have 14 teams in our conference, so I think it should be a benefit for us.
Win Jan Hejda´s signed photo!
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David Puchovsky, Slovakia, email@example.com
18/03/2013 - 14:30