Jakub Kovář shares his thoughts about the preseason so far and comments his new situation as a starting goaltender now that previous starter, NHL veteran Roman Turek, has retired.
České Budějovice concluded a preseason tournament that was held in Switzerland last week. Kovář says the tournament was demanding because of the travel, but it also offered high quality games and prepared the team well for the upcoming season.
"I enjoyed the tournament, it was beneficial for me. I like games where I get shots frequently."
"They were definitely good enough games to prepare us. It was no different from the Czech league playoffs and it was good for us to get that kind of a test already now. It definitely benefitted us."
The long distances between the arenas was the only down side Kovář could think of.
"Most of the time we just traveled. There were long distancies no matter where we went. It was really difficult. We had 120 kilometers from the hotel to our first game and we traveled 25 kilometers four times a day."
Other than the logistical inconveniences, Kovář thinks the tournament offered good preparation for the upcoming season. Even if the team lost two of the three games.
Kovář blames the travel for the poor result in the first game, but also gives credit to the opposition, Swiss league team Geneva.
"It was terrible for us, knowing the way we spent the day before the game", Kovář recalls. "They were stronger and faster. But in the end we started to match them better and I think eventually we played a decent game."
Second game, loss against Lausanne, Kovář watched from the bench.
"We were clearly the better team, but lost in the end."
Kovář was back in net in the final game of the tournament, a 5-2 win over Fribourg.
"It was probably the best game we played there. It was a well balanced game, we pushed hard, put pressure on them and got chances on the power play."
Kovář himself had a solid tournament, but it didn't change his perception on his position.
"My position is still the same; I try to get to play as much as I can and every time it's my turn to play I want to play my very best."
But Roman Turek's sudden retirement just before preseason does have it's own effect. A mental effect, if nothing else.
"Now it's even more obvious that I have to lead the team and I have to earn the trust from the coaches."
There are still a handful of preseason games left for České Budějovice against other Czech league teams before the regular season begins on September 17th.
"In the last preseason games it will be important for us to do some tweaking. We're all looking forward to the start of the season."
This report was based off of a Czech-language story released by České Budějovice.