Challenges await prospect Mrazek
“Well I like (J.S.) Giguere, but he’s not my style,” said Mrazek with a slight Slovakian accent. “Who is my style is probably Martin Brodeur. He plays a lot with his stick.”
Mrazek was the Wings’ fifth-round pick at last month’s NHL draft in Los Angeles. He spent last season with the Ontario Hockey League’s Ottawa 67s., and he said that he fashions himself after Brodeur because of what Ottawa coach Chris Bryne had him work on.
“In Ottawa, before every practice, I took 100 shots on net,” Mrazek said. “We had 30 minutes on the ice, and I shot first 60 times with the goalie stick, and after some rest, shot 40 more.”
Mzazek said his OHL experiences have helped him with more than puck-handling skills. Learning how to communicate with his teammates was a challenge, because while he learned English in school, he was taught England’s dialect, and not American.
“When I came last year in August, the first week or so was hard for me, because the English was different,” he said. “I was in a different family. But for Christmas, I came home for one week, and after my family came here for two weeks in Ottawa – I was there eight months – and now it’s OK.”
Mrazek, 18, also said he is prepared to play in front of NHL-sized crowds someday, after playing in 30 OHL games.
“It’s very different,” Mrazek said of playing with Ottawa. “Because in North America, there are different fans, the rink is different, everything. In junior league in the Czech Republic, it’s all right, but for every game there’s only 200 people. But here, there were thousands, it was different.”
The Wings’ most recent goaltending prospect said while he was nervous this week, it was also a great experience to be in Detroit for the first time.
“It’s some pressure here, because this is my first time with the Detroit Red Wings,” Mrazek said. “But I’m happy that they would draft me. I’m so happy here.”