Photo credit: Joel Auerbach
When we last left Caps goalie Michal Neuvirth, he was calling Braden Holtby his weakest competition and patting himself on the back for convincing Tomas Vokoun to go to Pittsburgh. That was just the warm-up.
In the remainder of Neuvirth’s interview with František Suchan of iSportz.Cz, the Czech goalie shares his honest opinion of pretty much every other big-name Capitals figure. He gives Alex Semin the classic “he could have been the best player in the world, but he doesn’t want to” line; he laments Alex Ovechkin‘s decline but praises his leadership; and he sheds no tears over the exit of Dale Hunter.
Hoo boy, here comes some tawdry stuff.
Another big star left the Caps – Alex Semin. Some say it will help the club, some say it won’t. What do you think?
Something in between. I see the leaving of Semin as a huge minus for the team, but then again I think it may do some good. He didn’t have the best work ethic. Maybe now when Ovi will be without him, he will put more into hockey. Maybe that’s what the management was going for.
Matt Bradley said things about Semin’s work ethic as well, and he had to apologize…
But I think it’s nothing that isn’t well known. If Semin wanted to, he could have been the best player in the world, but he doesn’t want to every day. And that’s wrong.
If he finds out what you said, you may expect to be hit in the head with the stick next time you play Carolina, don’t you think?
[Smiling] Yes, that could happen, we play Carolina pretty often.
He isn’t what he used to be, that’s for sure. And if a team like ours wants to have a chance at the Stanley Cup, we need Ovi to be the best. We all expect that from him; he has to be the real leader. But it’s hard you know, he achieved everything as a player. He was on the absolute top, and then one can only fall down. I just hope that Ovi will stop falling and instead stops and maybe tries to get back on top. As for his attitude in the lockerroom, he is still the same guy. Even when it’s not working out for him, he is in a good mood, he celebrates with the others. He is the right team player. He will stay like that forever.
On Adam Oates
I haven’t met him in person yet, but I spoke with him over the phone and felt good about it. He is definitely a legend of Washington hockey, plus he was an assistant in New Jersey, against which I’ve always played pretty good, so I think he is positive about me. With a new coach, it’s a new beginning and I am happy about Oates. Also because it means Dale Hunter isn’t staying.
Your teammate Roman Hamrlík wasn’t happy about Hunter either. What didn’t you like about him?
If only because Holtby was number one under him in playoffs. Generally, I didn’t find a way to him. I had good relationships with [Bruce Boudreau] and with the farm-team coach Bob Woods, but not with Hunter. I don’t know, he simply didn’t talk to us goalies at all, I think he criticized us sometimes for no reason. From my point of view, it’s good he left.
I’m not so sure Neuvirth was aware that his words would reach North America, but he we are.
We’ve heard Dale Hunter characterized as aloof and uncommunicative before, but never with this fine a point on it. The Semin allegation– on the other hand– is so widespread, it’s now officially cliché. But it’s heartening to hear Neuvirth (who has had a pretty rough go of it in the last two years) so motivated for next season under the leadership of Adam Oates and Alex Ovechkin.
So yay for finishing on a high note.
Infinite thanks to Karolina Martinková of hockey-on.blogspot.cz for her translation. It’s Shake And Bake and Ian Oland helped!