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Translations by Tomas Jandik
Thanks to the WC, Straka Gladly Gave Up Golfing With Lemieux (MF Dnes Interview) - 11-Apr-03
http://hokej.idnes.cz/reprezentace.asp?r=reprezentace&c=A030410_225147_reprezentace_rou

THANKS TO THE WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP, STRAKA GLADLY GAVE UP GOLFING WITH LEMIEUX

All kinds of injuries have been following you for two years Ė so how do you feel two weeks before the championship?

Itís getting better. Only my knee hurts sometimes, after a workout.

Wait, you have been bothered by many things, but you have not injured your knee, have you?

I feel the pressure coming from a long iron rod that goes from my ankle to my knee. They inserted it in after I broke my leg two years ago.

So when are they going to take it out?

Iíll leave it there for good. At least nobody will be able to break my leg that easily. [The doctors] are just going to take two small pieces out this summer.

How did you cope with the dismal end of the season, when the teamís winless streak reached 16 games?

It was tough. But there was nothing I could have done about it. Out of the guys on the opening roster, only five lasted until the end of the seasonÖ

Lately, the club got rid of pretty much anybody who knew how to handle a stick. After Jagr and Lang, Kovalev and Hrdina both left, plus the captain and owner Mario Lemieux was sitting out a most of the games at the end of the season. The teamís ďCzech MafiaĒ no longer exists. How did you motivate yourself [to play]?

When they traded Kovy, I was really sad. But we did not want to give the season up. New guys came out of the minors, we were all fighting. But ultimately it was simply clear that the team truly has no money.

How did Mario Lemieux cope with that? Did he, for example, want at least to win the scoring race?

He wasnít a [happy camper]. We tried to help him at first, but then we all saw how Naslund runs away from him, how Vancouver started winning like 7:2. And then Forsberg and Hejduk both went on a roll, and the race went down the toilet.

Lemieux suggested that he would retire after the end of this season. Do you know what heíll do?

I donít know anything at all. I asked the people that are close to him, but nobody said anything. It looks like he might have already made his decision, but apparently he will announce it no sooner than in June.

Did Lemieux go on to play his favorite golf after the season?

He left for Augusta to visit the Masters. He always gets VIP tickets. I went with him the last year, but I have a different program now. Iíll be playing at the World Championship.

Last time you played at the World Championship was nine years ago in Italy, and the Czech Republic finished really badly. Do you still remember that?

Iíd rather not remember. I know that we lost to Canada in quarterfinals, and that we only managed to score the tying goal against Norway in the very last minute. I hope things will go better this year.

Are you looking forward [to playing]?

A lot. Iím glad that Iíll be able to try playing without the red line offside during the [pre-championship] camp. At least Iíll have no reason to complain [about offsides]. {laughter}

How do you like the National Team line Jagr, Nedved, Straka?

It doesnít look bad. But I have read that Petr Nedved did not get the permission to play [from the International Ice Hockey Federation].

And what about Jagr? Did you talk to him lately?

We talked just for a moment. But we talked more about his injured wrist and the upcoming series against Tampa. The topic of the World Championship did not come up.






Tomas Jandik is the resident Czech on LetsGoPens.com and is a man who unifies all the goodies of the American dream - meaning, of course, being a Pitt graduate, a Razorback, and a Penguins fan.

Back to Tomas' Translation List


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