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Capitals 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 61 40 16 5 167 135 85
2 NYR 60 38 16 6 190 148 82
3 NYI 62 40 20 2 200 173 82
4 TBL 62 37 19 6 203 167 80
5 DET 60 34 15 11 176 156 79
6 PIT 61 35 17 9 176 152 79
7 WSH 62 33 19 10 184 156 76
8 BOS 60 29 22 9 158 158 67
9 FLA 61 26 22 13 145 172 65
10 PHI 62 26 25 11 164 181 63
11 OTT 59 26 23 10 167 161 62
12 NJD 61 25 27 9 137 161 59
13 CBJ 60 26 30 4 157 189 56
14 TOR 61 25 31 5 170 185 55
15 CAR 59 22 30 7 134 159 51
16 BUF 62 19 38 5 120 207 43

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
J. Faulk 59 11 27 -16 38
E. Staal 54 18 18 -9 36
E. Lindholm 58 11 15 -16 26
J. Skinner 54 15 9 -16 24
R. Nash 56 7 14 -9 21
N. Gerbe 55 6 14 -13 20
A. Sekera 57 2 17 -7 19
V. Rask 57 8 10 -18 18
J. McClement 59 4 12 1 16
J. Staal 23 4 11 -1 15
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
C. Ward 16 19 4 .914 2.35
A. Khudobin 6 11 3 .901 2.73