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Colorado winger Marek Svatos took some time to field questions from fans in the latest edition of "Ask an Av." Questions ranged from the biggest highlight of his career to his routine for getting his sticks ready.
As a 5-foot-10 winger, what is it like playing against guys who are as big as 6-foot-2 and over 200 pounds? Do you ever get intimidated? -Charles from Toronto, Ontario Obviously, it’s a little harder going against big guys, but you just have to try to use your speed to get by them. You play hockey through the years and you kind of get used to the big defensemen. You know some guys can make the big hit, so you have to be aware of them on the ice.
Hi Marek, thanks for taking the time to answer some questions from fans. What has been the biggest highlight, and the biggest disappointment, of your NHL career so far? -Beth from Longmont, Colorado The biggest highlight would be my goal in the playoffs again Dallas or one of my hat tricks. The low point is whenever I get hurt. When everything is going well and you get hurt, that’s a big disappointment. (Editor’s Note: Svatos’ playoff goal against Dallas came in Game Four of the 2004 Western Conference Quarterfinals and ended the fifth-longest overtime in franchise history at 5:18 of the second OT).
Do you have a favorite game in your entire hockey career that particularly stands out? -Mac from Cherry Hills Village, Colorado Besides those goals I talked about, it was nice in juniors when we won the Memorial Cup. Playing in the finals was pretty fun.
Hi Marek. After having four knee surgeries I know how difficult it is to come back and play a contact sport without having to think about your every move. You seem more and more comfortable on the ice with each passing game. How have you dealt with your comeback and is the injury always in the back of your mind when you play? Good luck the rest of the season. -Stacey from Boulder, Colorado I’m trying not to think about it, but once in a while the knee lets you know that it’s a little sore. You have to put it in the back of your mind and forget about it and play like you’re healthy. But sometimes the knee will let me know in the morning when I stand up.
Since you started in the league, you have worn the number 40. What is the reason behind why you chose this number? -Nick from Monument, Colorado I got it in camp. Alex Tanguay was changing his number to 18, which was always my number growing up, so they gave me 40. I’ve stuck with it since. I have a different favorite number, but I don’t think I’m going to wear it here. I don’t think Joe Sakic will give it up. Hey Marek. I was just wondering, what is your favorite type of music to listen to? -Andrew from Thornton, Colorado All different kinds. I like dance music, European music, hip-hop and some rock. A little bit of everything.
Hello Marek. You are my favorite hockey player, so keep working. My question is which players are your favorites in the NHL today? -Carsten from Berlin, Germany Alex Ovechkin is fun to watch. He’s always trying to score. I like Marian Hossa too, because he’s one of the best players in the league. Pavel Datysuk is up there too.
I know many players have different routines for their sticks. For example, your teammate Ryan Smyth has what looks like nearly an entire roll of tape on his handle. I've noticed that you tape nearly half of your shaft. It also looks like you paint the bottom half of your stick black. Please tell us what advantage these actions give you. Thank you and keep up the good work! -Ryan from Kansas City, Missouri I kind of stopped taping my handle so long for whatever reason. Now I’m using a smaller knob. About the bottom being black, I started doing that when I was a kid. I’m using white tape, so I think it helps me see the puck a little better with the black there. I don’t know, I started doing it and I’ve just continued.
How does it work before a shootout? Do you talk to each other before and talk about the weaknesses of the opposing goalie? Are the players going to the shootout determined just before the respective shootout, or is there a fixed list with the order of the three guys who will shoot? -Milan from Bratislava, Slovakia Once in a while we watch video and talk to our goalies about the other goalies. Usually when you go second or third in the shootout, you try to look at what the goalie is doing on the first few shots. So yeah, we talk about it. The order we shoot in is usually similar. Sometimes they mix it up, but usually they let us know right before the shootout.