One Devil of a day
Czech defenceman Mozik arrives at Devils development camp late and with no equipment
Defenceman Vojtech Mozik isn’t likely to forget his first day as a New Jersey Devil.
The 22-year-old Czech arrived a day late for a development camp because of a visa problem and a bag short because of an airline problem.
The problem was compounded because the missing bag had Mozik’s hockey equipment, forcing him to take the ice Tuesday with new skates, gloves and sticks.
Not only were they not broken in, he used them after three hours of sleep. His plane didn’t get in until the wee hours of the morning.
While Mozik didn’t feel he showed much in his session with fellow defenders, the Devils are hoping that the offensiveminded defenceman can make the jump to the NHL after three seasons in the Czech Republic’s top league.
“He wasn’t terrible,” Devils coach John Hynes said. “It was good of him to actually go on the ice.”
“He came in and was a good sport about it,” Hynes said. “We just at least wanted to get him out there and experience some of the skills stuff.”
Mozik was not impressed with his performance after what he termed “a crazy trip.” His flight from the Czech Republic to London was delayed an hour and he had to run through the airport to make his connection for a sixhour flight.
“It was really hard and I was terrible,” said Mozik, adding he hopes to have his equipment back for Wednesday’s 3-on-3 drills.
Mozik has some skills. He scored a career-high 10 goals this past season, the most in the league by a defenceman. He also added 19 assists with Plzen in 51 games.
The performance drew interest from the New York Rangers and Toronto Maple Leafs, but he opted to sign with New Jersey because he saw more opportunity with a team that is undergoing changes with a new front office and coaching staff after missing the playoffs three straight years.
“I will do my best and I think it will be good,” Mozik said. “I will play hard and we will see now. But I really want to play in the NHL and I will do everything for it and for the New Jersey Devils organization and I’m so really happy that New Jersey gave me the chance.”
Canadian forward Brendan Gallagher, centre, closes in on net as Czech Republic goalie Petr Mrazek (2) makes a save and Vojtech Mozik (8) defends during IIHF World Junior Championships hockey action in Edmonton on Wednesday, Dec. 28, 2011.