Photo: Martin Voltr
It’s a really unusual situation. Coach Karel Mlejnek said goodbye to the Czech national team at the age of twenty, not at the World Cup, but at a smaller event, specifically the national four-country tournament in Příbram.
His contract on the national team is coming to an end, so he will not be able to lead the national junior team at the World Cup for the canceled December tournament, which will take place in Edmonton in August. The names of the new coaches are expected to be announced by the Czech Hockey Executive Committee.
It’s a pity that twenty-year-old Mlejnek didn’t finish better in Příbram than third place. The young men played good games against the Finns and the Swedes, but only scored one point.
At least in the end they added a non-compulsory but necessary 6:2 win over Slovakia. The last third and above all the incredible success in crushing matches evoked the last smile of the national team (for now) of Karel Mlejnek.
Are you satisfied with the result and the game you showed against the Slovaks?
We are probably satisfied with the result, but I would say less with the game. In the first half we had a lot of useless shots from the guardrail, we lacked work on the goal area. We then called on the players and the result was our victory, which was born in our power play at 2-1. The Slovaks gave us a five minute lead during which we were extremely productive. Powerlifting scored goals during the tournament. David Bruk worked well on them in training and those goals were a reward for the team, which took us to three points.
We lack ends and skills, Altrichter knows it
We’ll probably agree that you’ve never experienced six powerlifting goals in one game…
Of course I don’t remember, so I guess not. (smiling).
The problems you mentioned were caused by a weaker opponent than the Finns and Swedes, right? The Slovaks did not force you to do this.
This is exactly what annoys me. When we have a trailer somewhere and we play against better opponents, like Finns or Swedes, the team does what it can. And then when you play against a relatively weaker team, victory is born difficult because you don’t do the honest little details. In addition, the opponent is overexcited and causes us big problems. Productivity in the power play only got us out of this problem.
“When we have a trailer somewhere and we play against better opponents, like the Finns or the Swedes, the team does what it can.”
The first numerical superiority training confirmed great performances, didn’t it? After all, she stood a little higher than the others…
Lukáš Pajer was already close to being nominated for the World Cup, Tomáš Urban played there. And Daniel Herčík has confirmed that he is one of the best players in our junior extra league.
How did the tournament seem to you in general? Of course, even with the fact that you tried players with less national team experience.
I would be satisfied if in the last half minute against the Swedes in a 3:3 situation, we did a separate raid and played three points. I’m sorry for this phase, as well as for the other occasions in overtime. But I think the game against Finland and Sweden was very strong from us.
Six goals in overtime? I’ve never experienced this, says Herčík
In your opinion, what part of the staff has a real chance of going to the August championship?
I think it will be individuals. I don’t want to be a prophet and I don’t want to influence anyone, because it will depend on how the new coaching staff approaches it. Whether they are players in 2002 or not, they will participate in the tournament in view of the World Cup in December. The variant of the song is more. But I think from that frame it could be around three or four players.
“I think about three or four players from this staff could go to the Championship.”
So you confirm that you coached your last match at the age of twenty?
This is probably already known, because it has happened several times in the media. Yes, I confirm it.
How will you remember those two years? It’s clear to me that you’re not talking now about a full assessment, but some ideas are.
I expect a full evaluation to take place. But how will I remember? I had two covid seasons, but never made excuses. As for camps, player training and tournaments, I will remember them very well. We’ve always had guys on the team who did what they could. They worked like that from the first player in 2001 to the last player in 2004, Jirka Kulich, who we had at the World Cup.
Mlejnek finishes at twenty: I will remember well
Do you think he can be better on the national scene? That we can expect an encouraging result soon?
It’s a very difficult question. Only if I take it from a short interview with the Finnish implementation team, which probably won’t solve the things we’ll be dealing with in August. The Finns will try to build the strongest team of the twelve players who have a contract in the NHL. Of course not. But I think 2003 is very capable and we have players we can rely on. So if the best go to the World Cup. I dare not assess the next few years, time will tell. But I dare say that the year 2003 may have a vision of a better location.
Are you going to be a club now?
Yes, I will head to club activities.
And when will we know which club it will be?
I think next week.
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