One day after signing with the Devils, forward Marty Havlat spoke to the New Jersey media on a conference call from the Czech Republic.
What went into your decision to sign with the Devils?Marty Havlat:
One of the main things was just the opportunity I’m being given, and for sure a few of the Czech boys helped with that, too, so that was one of the reasons. But I’m looking at it as an opportunity to get back to playing hockey.
Which of the Czechs did you talk to?
MH: I talked to Patty [Elias] – I can say we’re pretty good friends – and with Marek [Zidlicky], too. I played with Marek and with Patty in the past: with Marek in Minnesota and the national teams with Patty. I’m pretty close with those two guys for sure. Over those 14 years, this is season number 15, I’ve been talking to Patty a lot, so I know a little bit how the organization is. I became a free agent a couple of days ago, and I had to make a decision. After talking to Lou [Lamoriello] and a few of the guys, I got the chance to come and I’m very happy I can be part of the Devils for next year.
Where do you see yourself fitting on this team?
MH: It’s going to be all up to the coach [Peter DeBoer]. I had a chance to talk to him [Tuesday], but we didn’t talk about that at all. It’s all up to the coach. He’s going to see some chemistry, for sure, in the first few games, so who knows? I could be playing anywhere like I did the last two years [in San Jose]. This decision is up to the coach. There’s a lot of great players and a lot of options with Mike Cammalleri coming to the Devils. With Patty, Jaromir [Jagr], Travis [Zajac] – I really don’t know where I’m going to be starting. I think there’s a lot of great players and hopefully it’s going to work with someone.
Patrik said he hopes you can be the player you’ve been in the past. What do you think you need to do to get back to where you were as a top scorer and key player?
MH: I read the comment and I talked to Patty yesterday and today, too. We played together on the national team. I think the first time was the 2002 Olympics, but we didn’t actually play together on the same line. After that, we played World Cup ’04; I think we had a great tournament together. Then we played on the same line in the world championship and it was great, and we played 20 games during the  lockout for a team back here at home. We always had great chemistry together and if I can say one of the players that I had chemistry with in my whole career, that’s Patty. I’m just hoping it’s going to work out well again. I don’t see a reason why not.
Other than the Czech guys, is there anybody else you know on the team?
MH: I played with Clowie [Ryane Clowe] couple years in San Jose, so I know him a little bit. Because of the Czech boys, I’ve actually been watching Jersey most of my career. When I was in Ottawa, we played against [them] a lot and we had a lot of great battles in the playoffs. It was always tough to play against this team. It’s only two years now, but a lot of people forget that the Devils were in the Final two years ago. They have a great team, they have a great system, and they play very good defensively. I’m very happy that I’m getting this opportunity and the goal is going to be the same: to make the playoffs and go from there. We’re still at the beginning, so we just have to take it step by step.