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Tracking the Storm

Dvorak Eyes Spot on Canes' Roster

Tuesday, 09.17.2013 / 2:30 PM / Tracking the Storm
By Michael Smith
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Dvorak Eyes Spot on Canes\' Roster
Even as a veteran of 17 seasons in the National Hockey League, Radek Dvorak knows that nothing is guaranteed.

Michael Smith
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Dvorak, 36, is a Carolina Hurricanes training camp invitee, and just like the young players half his age, he’s fighting for a roster spot.

“It’s a great challenge,” Dvorak said. “If you want to stay in the best league in the world, you have to be your best.”

And he wants to stay in the NHL, a league he’s been a part of since the 1995-96 season. During last year’s work stoppage, Dvorak played a brief stint in the Swiss league but knew this summer that he wanted to remain in North America.

“I want to play here. I wanted to give myself at least a chance,” he said. “I’ve been here all my career, and you don’t want to let that go easily.”

Since being drafted 10th overall in the 1995 NHL Entry Draft by the Florida Panthers, Dvorak has skated for seven different teams. He’s made four trips to the postseason, twice with Florida and twice with Edmonton.

As a 19-year-old in his second season in the league, Dvorak was teammates with Kirk Muller, who was in the latter half of his playing career.

“He was one of the top players in the league,” Dvorak said of Muller. “It was great experience to play with him for a young guy like me.”

The two played together for three seasons, and now, Dvorak is under the coaching tutelage of Muller.

“He’s a coach, and I’m a player,” Dvorak said with a smile. “That’s how hockey goes.”

“He’s really matured, and he’s been a really good pro. I knew him when he was a young buck, and just learning the NHL coming over from the Czech Republic,” Muller said. “It’s great to see that he’s had a great career and progressed.”

The Tabor, Czech Republic, native, who has logged 1,200 NHL regular-season games, 223 goals and 358 assists (581 points), said he has kept the same mindset for the nearly 20 training camps he’s attended throughout his career.

“I might have been in the league for a long time, but it’s another training camp for me,” he said. “I go into every training camp on the same note. I want to be my best, play my best and practice my best. That hasn’t changed.”

During the first few days of this year’s camp, Dvorak was the elder statesman on a line alongside Elias Lindholm and Jeff Skinner, ages 18 and 21, respectively.

“Playing with them makes me younger, and that’s a good thing,” Dvorak said, laughing. “I just want to bring that experience there and help them a little bit, but they are good players on their own. Both guys are very skilled and very smart.”

“Like most veterans, you step in, start off the first few days getting your legs and get moving. He stays in good shape, and he’s a good skater, so that’s helpful,” Muller said. “Positionally he’s strong, and he’s a good penalty killer. His value will kind of kick in as things settle down around here a little bit more with the number of bodies.”

As the days tick off of training camp, Dvorak knows his time could be limited. Nothing is guaranteed, so he’ll keep competing.

“I just want to take this opportunity to fight for a job, and it’s not going to be easy,” Dvorak said. “That’s what makes this training camp special and exciting. I want to win a spot on the team. That’s my main goal.”



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STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 NYI 47 32 14 1 155 130 65
2 DET 48 28 11 9 144 123 65
3 TBL 49 30 15 4 158 131 64
4 MTL 46 30 13 3 126 108 63
5 PIT 48 27 13 8 143 124 62
6 WSH 48 25 14 9 144 124 59
7 NYR 45 27 14 4 135 110 58
8 BOS 48 25 16 7 126 121 57
9 FLA 45 20 15 10 111 127 50
10 TOR 49 22 23 4 143 152 48
11 OTT 46 19 18 9 126 128 47
12 PHI 49 20 22 7 134 149 47
13 CBJ 46 21 22 3 117 145 45
14 NJD 48 18 22 8 109 135 44
15 CAR 47 17 25 5 102 122 39
16 BUF 48 14 31 3 90 171 31

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
E. Staal 42 16 14 -6 30
J. Faulk 47 9 19 -13 28
E. Lindholm 47 9 11 -11 20
J. Tlusty 40 12 7 -11 19
J. Skinner 42 10 9 -7 19
R. Nash 47 7 12 -4 19
N. Gerbe 43 5 13 -3 18
V. Rask 47 6 9 -10 15
A. Sekera 45 1 14 -6 15
C. Terry 34 6 3 -3 9
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
A. Khudobin 6 8 2 .918 2.30
C. Ward 11 17 3 .911 2.45