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Translations by Tomas Jandik
David Koci - Fight for Your Dreams - 31-Jan-18
http://www.bezfrazi.cz/rvat-se-o-svuj-sen/

Pardon my language, but I can’t say that differently.

In the summer of 2003 I got effin’ pissed off.

The previous fall, my career in America looked dismal. I started the second year of my rookie contract, and, once again, I did not even make the Pittsburgh reserve team roster; they sent me all the way down to ECHL, the second-level farm team. When I started sensing that during the training camp, I called my agent Mr. Henys, and told him I don’t see any point continuing this. Sparta Prague was interested in me, I had an agreement with their coach Hadamczik, and I wanted to go back to the Czech Republic.

But Pittsburgh refused to let me go.

It went so far that I requested the telephone number of our GM Craig Patrick, and I called this NHL icon and told him openly what I thought.
“Craig, I am not in your plans anymore, you are sending me to the East Coast for the second year, so let me go, I don’t want to be here anymore.”

“No.”

He did not say anything else. No comment. I got completely startled.

“No, you’ll stay here,” he was responding to all of my arguments. I was going on for 30 minutes, and he was only responding with “no, you’ll stay here.” Basically, he was not even talking to me. When I realized that it’s all pointless, I hung up angrily. I was living the apartment of Michal Sivek who just got called up to the first team, and as charged up I was, I threw the cell phone against the wall. So strongly that the phone made a dent in it – there was quite a big hole afterwards.

Sorry, Michal.

There was nothing else to do but to pack my stuff, drive to report to Wheeling, and somehow to get through the season there. On the one hand, it was positive that the team wanted me so much, but…

+++

After that season, I was unbelievably pissed off that I still had not made it. That feeling was brewing in me more and more, and over the summer, I channeled it into practice. It was not a cliché, I really felt I was ready to work hard, to grind myself into a top shape.

And, I told myself one more thing – when I get back to the camp, I’ll beat up anybody who touches me – even gives me a bad stare. I won’t care who it would be. I realized that they love this stuff in America, and that I have a large body, so I am built for this. I simply try it this way.

Poor Ross Lupaschuk.

The first day of a training camp during one of the exercises, he, a normal average-built guy, rammed himself in front of a goal; I pushed him away, and he returned the hit. So I caught him and beat him up silly. Wrong place, wrong time.

“What are you doing, you moron?” he yelled at me.

I did not care, I wanted my [roster] place. Since then, I started beating everybody up. I realized that this is my chance; that I have to build an aura of a crazy dude around me, so that everybody is afraid of me.

During the two prep matches in the training camp, nobody wound come anywhere near me; they all saw I was rolling. It was a game, and I found my instruction manual for it.

I turned myself made into an unguided missile.

The coaches noticed. It was one thing that I played better than ever, I was in a top shape physically – but to jump from the fifteenth d-man in the organization to the very verge of the first team, that was all my new skill. Penguins sent me down just before the very start of the season, Kris Beech and I were the last two to be shipped to the farm team. Even that was a huge honor for me.

I continued to pummel everything down. I was ready to beat up everybody and anybody, which got the attention of the fighters from the other teams. When I went after someone, they immediately jumped me. I provoked with my aggressive play – sometimes clean, sometimes on the verge of viciousness. I had a pretty solid game, and on top of that I added what they call “toughness” overseas. Tenacity, toughness, endurance.

Besides the stick, fists became my main work tool.

You don’t mind it during the first year, because you run on euphoria that all of sudden, the others started treating you differently. Coaches, teammates, and even massage specialists suddenly value you more. You are no longer just a number, but “the prospect” who is being considered for the main team’s roster. But, gradually, I recognized what I got myself into.

I am not a natural goon. At first, I enjoyed how the others changed their opinion about me, but then I realized I have to do this every day. If I stopped, they would take someone else.

It’s like with drugs. You start taking them, you are on top, and only after a while you realize you are deep down low and you cannot climb up. In my case, I also did not want to give up something in which I became one of the top five players in the league. During that season, I actually ended up the third in total penalty minutes; I got nearly 300 of those. McGrattan, Vandermeer, and I were battling for the biggest number of 5-minute majors, which was a recognized statistic. I had 25 majors, they around 30.

In a way, it was prestigious. So many fights, that’s a sign you are not afraid.

During my times, there were maybe three goons who really lived for their role; the rest, like myself, understood that this is the way how to make our mark. Even I occasionally enjoyed fighting someone, but often I simply knew I would be facing the killers. The above mentioned McGrattan or MacIntyre – those were real butchers. Before our fights, I felt sick to my stomach, because I knew it would be like a slaughter again.

But I enjoyed hockey at this level so much that I was ready to go through it.

+++

I was close to making the NHL roster during my third year in the minors; it was close to the end of the season when coach Eddie Olczyk even told the media he was ready to call me up, because I finally got to understand my role – but it did not happen.



{END OF TRANSLATION. HOPEFULLY I’LL CONTINUE LATER}

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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