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Wild vs. Hurricanes
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 MTL 65 41 18 6 175 146 88
2 NYI 66 42 21 3 211 185 87
3 TBL 66 40 20 6 217 173 86
4 NYR 63 39 17 7 197 155 85
5 DET 62 36 15 11 182 160 83
6 PIT 63 36 18 9 182 158 81
7 WSH 66 35 21 10 194 164 80
8 BOS 63 31 22 10 168 165 72
9 FLA 65 28 23 14 159 185 70
10 PHI 65 28 25 12 173 187 68
11 OTT 62 28 23 11 176 167 67
12 NJD 64 27 27 10 144 165 64
13 TOR 65 26 34 5 175 199 57
14 CBJ 63 26 33 4 163 201 56
15 CAR 62 24 31 7 144 167 55
16 BUF 64 19 40 5 123 215 43

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
J. Faulk 62 12 28 -18 40
E. Staal 57 18 20 -12 38
E. Lindholm 61 11 16 -18 27
J. Skinner 57 16 10 -17 26
N. Gerbe 58 7 16 -10 23
R. Nash 59 7 15 -10 22
V. Rask 60 8 12 -16 20
J. McClement 62 6 13 3 19
J. Staal 26 4 12 -4 16
A. Nestrasil 34 4 11 4 15
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
C. Ward 17 20 4 .911 2.43
A. Khudobin 7 11 3 .905 2.61