It’s early evening when we connect with Jan Myšák. He has just finished a practice session with the Czech Republic’s Junior team, of which he is the captain. There are a few bruises and it is clear that the short tournament and the tough schedule is taking its toll on everyone.
”It’s a lot of small things that causes some pain, but I am trying to play [through it],” he says with a laugh, “There is no time to take a day off.”
There is always the question of whether Myšák should play centre like he has in the OHL with the Hamilton Bulldogs and in the WJC, or on the wing as he has done in Litviniov when he plays against more experienced professionals. Where will he play down the line?
“I feel really comfortable as a centre, but if someone needs me on the wing I can play there.” Without saying anything negative about one position or the other, the Czech player has already made it clear that it is the centre position that he wants. “We will have to see what will happen in the future, though.”
“There are a lot of things you always need to improve ... everything. But I feel I need to be stronger. You know I am still a teenager,” Myšák laughs again. “I really need to be stronger and there are a lot of other things — skating, my skills with the puck — you can always improve everything.
“When I was with Litvinov this year I really tried to focus on my defensive game. It is important because I feel there are a lot of things in the defensive zone that I can do better, that I need to do better. That is something I have to be better at, to see things different, to focus on my defensive work and not just the offensive zone.” What about his NHL club? What advice did they offer? “Montreal tells me to work on the same things that I have mentioned, to get stronger, my defensive game, the same things really.”
The Czech centre was in Montreal last summer visiting former Canadiens player Peter Svoboda. However, that wasn’t where he got his Montreal jersey which was shown on different news outlets in Czech Republic.
“Actually, my coach in Litvinov. He had it and he brought it to my place and we took a photo of it, like that. I don’t have a Peter Svoboda jersey. He is a legend. He has won the Stanley Cup. I have so much respect for him.”
Myšák points to another former Montreal Canadiens player who is a big help too: Tomas Plekanec. “Yes, Plekanec is a great person, another legend. I have huge respect for him. He is a great person, on the ice, but also when he is not on the ice he helps out. I think he would be a really good teammate. I have never played with him, but I feel that. It is a big honour that I can talk to him. When I need something I can talk to both of them, to ask for help. It’s really good [for me], and I appreciate that.”
Myšák has a contract with Hamilton Bulldogs and is currently on loan to HC Verva Litvínov in the Czech Republic, and with Ontario still struggling with the COVID-19 situation and a general lockdown, his immediate future after the tournament is uncertain.
There is another segment of the interview with Myšák in the most recent episode of Habsent Minded.