Devils Hopeful, Defenseman Vojtech Mozik, Had To Play In Someone Else’s Equipment Because Of A Visa Problem And Baggage Troubles
SportsNet- Defenceman Vojtech Mozik isn’t likely to forget his first day as a New Jersey Devil.
The 22-year-old Czech arrived a day late for a development camp because of a visa problem and a bag short because of an airline problem.
The problem was compounded because the missing bag had Mozik’s hockey equipment, forcing him to take the ice Tuesday with new skates, gloves and sticks.
Not only were they not broken in, he used them after three hours of sleep. His plane didn’t get in until the wee hours of the morning.
While Mozik didn't feel he showed much in his session with fellow defenders, the Devils are hoping that the offensive-minded defenceman can make the jump to the NHL after three seasons in the Czech Republic's top league.
"He wasn't terrible," Devils coach John Hynes said. "It was good of him to actually go on the ice."
"He came in and was a good sport about it," Hynes said. "We just at least wanted to get him out there and experience some of the skills stuff."
Mozik was not impressed with his performance after what he termed "a crazy trip." His flight from the Czech Republic to London was delayed an hour and he had to run through the airport to make his connection for a six-hour flight.
"It was really hard and I was terrible," said Mozik, adding he hopes to have his equipment back for Wednesday's 3-on-3 drills.
"I will do my best and I think it will be good," Mozik said. "I will play hard and we will see now. But I really want to play in the NHL and I will do everything for it and for the New Jersey Devils organization and I'm so really happy that New Jersey gave me the chance."
I don’t think I will ever get over the fact that the name Vojtech should be reserved for some robot built by Vladimir Putin in a Russian basement with designs to infiltrate United States government. Yeah, I know he's not even Russian, but I'll be damned if he doesn't sound like he should be.
Regardless, I got to feel bad for him here. Poor guy. I honestly think he should have just called hopped on a flight back to the Czech Republic after learning that his hockey gear didn’t make the trip over. No good comes out of playing in equipment that isn’t yours. You could give me a stick that was a 1/4 inch longer than my usual hockey stick and you would think I hadn't played the sport in 5 years. Hockey players are very particular about routine, and even more particular about their 'tools of the trade'. As much as my sex life wishes this weren’t the case, you don’t get a second chance to make a first impression. No one in the history of hockey has made a a good first impression in second hand equipment. Furthermore, no man has ever performed to the best of his abilities within hours of dealing with airline troubles. Shit, I could take a 4 hour domestic flight that went swimmingly and still get home and need a day to recover. Granted, that's mostly because my vacations are boozefests, but the point remains. It's impossible to look good after flying international and having to deal with the stress and uncertainty caused by delays and lost baggage. I would barely look like a functional human after being in that scenario, never mind having to jump on a new, North American sized ice surface and competing with NHL prospects on a few hours of sleep.
Do you need more of a hint as to how Mozik played than John Hynes saying “he wasn’t terrible”. Gee, thanks coach. Real vote of confidence there. Mozik knows he sucked, he said so himself. We're still in the honeymoon phase of your time as Devils coach, but if you go around fake moaning when you get some C- dick you are setting a bad precedent for the rest of the relationship. How about you just say he looked like a European beer league player and get it over with. It’s your first day with potential members of the team, blowing a bunch of smoke is the best way to eventually get yourself fired.