Photo from Howlings
As you guys may or may not know I had the opportunity to interview Rangers prospect and Medicine Hat defenseman Tomas Kundratek. Kundratek was the Rangers 3rd round pick (90th overall) in the 2008 NHL entry draft. Kundratek currently plays for the Medicine Hat Tigers in the WHL. His statistics can be found here.
Kundratek was a great interview, and has some serious potential to be a Ranger in the future. One interesting thing to note before we get to the interview is that Kundratek said that the level of play in the WHL was very similar to Czech mens league that he played in, in the Czech Republic.
Anyway join me af ter the jump for the full interview and let me know what you think.
Blueshirt Banter: So what is the hardest part about playing in North America?
Kundratek: The hardest part is that there are lots of offensive pucks in the corner and its a much stronger game. Much more physical, more hits and stuff like that.
Blueshirt Banter: You are currently pointing the Medicine Hat power play, how has that changed the way you play?
Kundratek: I went to the power play and I think I'm doing well, and I enjoy it a lot. I think that they think that they saw it in me because I didn't play it in the Czech Republic League but I do love it, i love scoring points.
Blueshirt Banter: Do you enjoy playing the power play?
Kundratek: Yeah for sure I enjoy the power play because its a key part to the game, and I enjoy creating the rush and joining the play. I love scoring points and making the rush, it need extra conditioning on my part but I like it a lot.
Blueshirt Banter: How is the transition from the Chech League to the WHL?
Kundratek: Last year [his rookie year] it was hard because I went to an exhibition game and I broke my wrist and it was hard to come back from an injury. Then I was getting better and better and at the end of the season last year I had all of like 11 games in the playoffs and I had six points, so I got better. And this year since I'm 20 I have more confidence on the ice and I feel better with all of the offensive stuff to make the play and make sure that I play more in the offensive zone. I like scoring points and I like playing on the power play.
Blueshirt Banter: What part of your game are you focusing on improving right now?
Kundratek: Right now I am focusing on my defense because I want to play good defense and when I get the chance I try to skate to join the rush. Im trying to play more offensive this year because when I went to rookie camp this year the coach wanted me to join and create the rush more so Im conditining more and Im starting to get better at it. I am trying to condition more so that I can be more productive in the offensive zone. I also want to be good in my D zone and I want to be strong in the corners.
Blueshirt Banter: What were your expectations about maybe making the AHL or even the Rangers?
Kundratek: The Rangers told me that they wanted me to play in the WHL so that I could get some more ice time, I can play like 20 minutes a night for Medicine Hat. And if Iwent to hartford I wouldn't play as much, so they wanted me to gain confidence and maybe I can make the team next year.
Blueshirt Banter: Who do you emulate your game after in the NHL?
Kundratek: Nik Lidstrom is a very good D man and he has a lot of confidence on the ice and he knows what he has to do and any way that I can emulate his game I try to do it. I look to see what he does and how he does it and try to play more like him.