If we fell, hockey in Kladno would probably end, Jágr said

If we fell, hockey in Kladno would probably end, Jágr said

Kladno hockey players managed a tricky shootout without hesitation. Just like a year ago in the series against Zlín, they defeated Vsetín 4:0 for the matches and remain among the elite.

The club’s playing owner, Jaromír Jágr, told reporters that for the Knights, the fight with the winner of the first league was an existential matter. He identified goalkeeper Adam Brízgala as the main architect of success.

The fifty-two-year-old legendary striker left the possibility of continuing his playing career open.

“What would have happened if we hadn’t played it? Hockey in Kladno would probably have ended. But it didn’t happen, so we’re moving on. And we have to make the strongest possible team for next season,” said Jágr.

Winning in the shortest possible time looks obvious at first glance, but according to the Olympic winner from Nagano, the Wallachians were not an easy opponent.

“We also won 4:0 against Zlín, but Vsetín played very good hockey, they had skilful and fast players. They played vabank. Something we were not used to during the season and troubled us a lot. It’s always nerves. We waited a month and a half and we played against an excellent team. We knew it wouldn’t be easy. Thanks to Brízgal, he held us back a lot,” highlighted the goalkeeper.

He praised his performances even considering that the 25-year-old goalkeeper had been out of match practice due to injury even since the end of December.

“He was excellent. Especially in the first two games. He had great saves there and, despite not catching for four months, he caught really well. We are not the only team that had injuries. The difference is that we have nowhere to turn. There are rich teams, big ones that have farms and have a lot of players there,” stated Jágr.

It was December 30, when Brízgala was injured, that he mentioned as a fateful day. “Our number one goalkeeper was injured, as well as a key full-back who plays twenty minutes per game. Pleky (Tomáš Plekanec) was also injured, and we missed Matyáš Filip, who again proved that he is an excellent player even after a year’s break. These are situations, which are difficult to replace, especially when they are not foreigners. Foreigners can be replaced, but it is difficult to find and sign Czech players quickly,” said Jágr.

During the long wait for the playoff to start, he prepared carefully without thinking about returning to the lineup.

“I came back from Pittsburgh and trained twice a day. I didn’t expect to play. Then when I started, I didn’t have a problem physically. It’s hard to put it in your head, without those games it’s difficult. And you you have to go all the way, training without matches… I always say that ten fifteen minutes of an ice hockey match is like an hour, an hour and a half, maybe even two hours of normal training. It’s much more demanding,” he said.

Finally, he entered the second duel and scored a goal and an assist. Subsequently, he also played the third and fourth matches. “I wouldn’t have played, but Klép’s (Jakub Klepiš) hand was shot, he couldn’t play and we didn’t have enough players.”

He scored in the second game at the age of 52 years and 63 days, becoming the oldest professional player in history. “I don’t deal with such things. As Martin Ručinský says – even a blind squirrel sometimes finds a nut,” Jágr responded with a smile and typical exaggeration.

He was captivated by the scenery in Brno, which Vsetín had chosen as their playoff asylum. “I’ve never seen anything like this. I’ve been to a football game a couple of times and the crowd is screaming and clapping the entire game. It was the first time I’ve been a part of it as an active player in that kind of atmosphere. Hats off to them, they’ve sold out 7,700 fans twice. It’s that’s amazing. They didn’t care what the score was, they applauded from the first to the last minute. Thanks to that, Vsetín fought until the last minute and had a chance to win in both matches,” said Jágr.

He has not yet revealed whether he will extend his active career. He was similarly cautious in previous years.

“I’m not thinking about my playing career, I’ll leave that to fate. And as for the managerial one, it’s starting for us now. We have a lot of players under contracts, but we have to try to improve the team so we don’t get into the same problems as this year,” said the two-time Stanley Cup winner .

He would not like the Central Bohemians to play in a playoff for the fourth time in a row, but at the same time he is a realist.

“I know what we’re good at, what we’re not good at. It’s certainly not as fair a competition as in the NHL, where you have salary caps, all the arenas are the same and every city is over two million people. It’s terribly unbalanced, but that’s the reality and you he has to say that he is doing the best he can do,” Jágr said.

“It’s hard to compare Kladno with Prague. Just the capacity of the O2 arena or Ostrava, which has 400,000 people. You have to attract five thousand people to hockey in a city of 60,000 people, what is the percentage? And if you have a million and a half somewhere… In America it’s an advantage that all cities are similar in size, there’s no problem there. It’s much fairer there,” Jágr said.

2024-04-23 05:21:28
#fell #hockey #Kladno #Jágr


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