Svatos: I have only good memories on AvsEurolanche´s exclusive interview with the former right wing of the Colorado Avalanche.
Win the signed photo of Marek Svatos. More info at the bottom of this interview.
Marek Svatos, born in 1982 in the town of Kosice on the east of Slovakia, started his North American career in 2000, when he joined the WHL team. After two years in the juniors, he continued at the AHL level, where he spent next two seasons. If the lockout was not caused the cancelation of the whole season, it is likely Marek would play in the NHL then. Before the lockout started, Svatos had appeared in 4 games of the regular season and 11 games in the playoffs in the Avalanche uniform.
The lockout had probably big impact on Svatos´ career. He spent the following five season in team based in Denver. The best year was his rookie season in 2005/06. He played in 61 games, scored 32 goals and added 18 assists for 50 points. He played with Joe Sakic in the line-up and it looked like the Slovakian hockey had produced very big talented player. Unfortunately, shoulder and knee injuries cost him much and were one of the reasons, why he had to leave Denver and, finally, the NHL.
At the start of 2010/11 season, Svatos played in 19 games in the KHL for Avangard Omsk and later came back to the NHL, where he represented Nashville Predators and Ottawa Senators. It was not old good Svatos from his first years in the NHL. After continuing health problems, he decided to take a break. Due the another NHL lockout, he had not played a game for one year and half. Finally, when the season has come back, Svatos was released from the camp of Florida Panthers and signed a new contract with KHL´s HC Slovan Bratislava for the rest of the current season. He has played in 4 games and scored one goal so far. Slovan will likely appear in the KHL playoffs.
How did you feel after your first two games in Bratislava?
It has been better and better from game to game. Legs were tired after a flight. I was not at the ice for a week. The practices help me much. It was much better in the second game.
Did you have worries about your condition?
I practiced a lot in the summer. But one is practicing, the second is playing games. My game condition was not good, but I think I am getting in the pace.
Did Slovan contact you before their last offer or it was the first contact?
When the camp was done on Florida and when I knew I was not going to make it, then it came.
Were you ready for the come back before the start of the lockout?
I was invited to Florida´s camp. I knew I would go there. Then it was a question if they would call me when the lockout is done, because everybody knew the camp will be fast. They promised me it, so I was waiting.
What were your expectations of the camp? Did you think you could come back to the NHL?
I was hoping and that´s why I practiced all the summer and treated the knee. I wanted to come back. It did not happen. Never mind.
KHL and Slovan was your alone option or were you thinking about the AHL too?
I did not think about the AHL. I knew that if the NHL were not worked, I would go somewhere in Europe. It was one of the offers. When I heard about Slovan´s offer, I decided quickly.
Was not hard to leave the USA and your family after that years?
It is hard every time. I have a kid and family there. It is not easy to leave them there. But it is a part of a job. I think they are used on it and me too.
Do you plan to stay in Denver after the retirement of the hockey?
Yes, we probably would stay in Denver. I will visit Slovakia in the summer, but most of the time I will be in Denver.
When you are in the USA, do not you miss Slovakia?
I get used. I am missing my family from here, friends, the fun with them, when I came home. This is what I am missing, but I have got used on it.
Have you get used on the differences between the Slovak and US cultures?
I think I have been there for a long time to get used. The life is more comfortable there. People are calmer; they are not stressful like here. They do not hurry anywhere.
When you had one and half year break, it was only due the treatment of your knee?
It was a reason, why I did not start to play anywhere. I had a surgery and then rehabilitation. When it was better with me, it had been too late to start somewhere. I decided to not go anywhere, continue in the treatment and then I would start from the beginning.
How did you practice during the break?
I worked out and practice on the ice. For a while I helped to kids at the practices. Then I had started with the preparing for the season.
What the biggest injuries did you suffer during your career?
I have a lot of injuries. I do not know which was worse. Any injury is not good for a player. Everything needs a time to treat it.
Do injuries have a big impact on your current career?
It is hard to say. I do not know how I felt, when I would not suffer injuries. It is not good for a player, when he is injured for a long time. I think it did not help me either. I feel good now and we will see for how long.
How do you remember on your hockey years in Slovakia?
Good times. I have played a hockey since my childhood. I had friends and played with them. Then the junior part of my career and the possibility to come to Canada had come. Firstly I hesitated, but finally went there and I think it was good decision. I do not know how it would be, if I was not go to Canada. My memories on players and coaches are good.
How did you get to Canada?
I was drafted by the junior team.
So scouts followed you in Slovakia?
They saw me on the national team and followed from my 16 to 18 years old. They decided to get me to their team.
Colorado Avalanche picked you of the 227th place on the draft. What were your feelings?
I was happy for being drafted. It was not my draft year. I was drafted one year later, what is harder for a player. I was happy it had been done. I knew I was not going to be drafted in the first rounds.
What were your two season in the AHL?
I spent two years there. It is a hard hockey. Also traveling on the bus... Very hard league for playing.
Why did you get a chance in the Avalanche?
I had very good camp. They signed Kariya and Selänne. I was going there with the feeling that I cannot loss anything. They kept me.
You scored two goals in your first four games for the Colorado Avalanche in 2003/04. Did you believe it?
I was maybe little nervous at the start. I injured a shoulder in the second game. I had a surgery and rehabilitation. I came back for two last games in the regular season. The coach believed me and gave me a chance to play in the playoffs. They put me in the good lineup.
What were your nicest and the most important goal as the Av?
I think in the first year, when I scored in the second overtime against Dallas. There is more… a hattrick, a winning goal… All goals make me happy. Maybe that in the second overtime was a start of my career.
What are your memories on your career with the Avs?
I have good memories. I have started there my career, spent 7 seasons there. It was a good team and a staff. I played under several coaches and all of them were good. I was not good as I iwanted at the end and my departure followed. I have nothing, but only good memories.
Are you in the contact with some of your former Avalanche teammates?
I was with Peter Budaj in Denver for a whole summer. Milan Hejduk. Many players were there in June. Most of them came back and waiting for the start of the season. We played together. Maybe 20 players were there. When the NHL did not start, they came back home. Sometimes I meet with some of them. Mainly with Budaj and Milan.
How it was for you in your last year in Denver, when Joe Sacco made you a healthy scratch for many games?
I let it on the coach. Maybe he see it best. He knows which player he needs or not. I was useless in the fourth lineup. It is hard to play for seven minutes per game. Maybe my play was not good. Then it is hard to come back.
Then you had not offer from any NHL team and that´s why you decided to go to the KHL?
I was waiting. When the camp had started I had not offer and then the option of playing in Russia appeared. My agent called me with the offer and I decided to go there.
Why it lasted 19 games?
They do not like, when the player is injured. I was unlucky. When I came to the national team´s camp I got injured at the first practice. I came back injured and they did not like it. I had also the offer for coming back to the NHL. After the talks with the management we decided on the end of the contract. I wanted to come back to the NHL and I did it.
What was your experience with the KHL? Matt Duchene said he did not even think about playing there, because some places are unsafe and it is not for him.
Every city is different. When the player is in the bigger and richer organizations, the conditions are perfect. There are also places, where is hard to bring your family and kids. Maybe in this part there are some deficiencies.
Then you played for Nashville Predators and Ottawa Senators.
Injuries were following me. I came to the Nashville. I had injured knee and had another surgery. Then I went to Ottawa, but my knee was not healthy on 100 percent. It was misery at the end. I knew I would have to do something with it after the end of the season.
Do you think that good performance in the uniform of HC Slovan Bratislava could help you with coming back to the NHL? Is it one of your goals?
I do not think about it. I focus to show the best play as is possible now. I do not think about the next year. My way to the NHL is maybe half closed for me. Two-year break is very long. Maybe there is a little hope for coming back inside me, but I do not give to it a big chance. I focus on the Slovan and last games, playoffs and then I will see what is next after the season.
If you will get new offer only from Slovan, would you continue here?
Do you want to continue in your career for a long time?
I want to play until my body would allow me. I think it is not over yet and I will try to play as long as possible. We will see.
Win Svatos´ signed photo
All members of the Eurolanche Fan Club have chance to win signed photo of Marek Svatos in the Colorado Avalanche uniform. If you are not a member, join us here. Send us answers on the next three questions and we will choose one of you, whose all three answers would be correct.
1. Why Svatos played for the Omsk only 19 games?
2. Where you can join the Eurolanche on Twitter? (send us a link)
3. Where you can join the Eurolanche on Facebook? (send us a link)
Send us your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org until the start of the next Avalanche game.
David Puchovsky, Slovakia, email@example.com
09/02/2013 - 18:31
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