After signing a multi-year contract with the Flyers on July 1 of last summer, Michal Neuvirth entered his first season in Philadelphia and posted an 18-8-4 record with a 2.27 GAA and .924 save percentage. He also appeared in the final three postseason games where he stopped 103 of 105 shots vs. Capitals in the First Round, going 2-1 with a 0.67 GAA and .981 save percentage.
Being selected to the Czech Republic’s World Cup team in March, Neuvirth stopped into the Flyers practice facility in Voorhees, NJ before reporting to camp in September. PhiladelphiaFlyers.com caught up with the goaltender and here’s what he had to say:
Q: How has your summer been going, did you go on vacation anywhere?
MN: “I spent most of my summer back home in Prague and my hometown of Ústí nad Labem in Czech Republic. I also went to Sardinia, Italy with my girlfriend and we had a great time. They have a beautiful sea there, great food and great wine. We went there just to relax, but ended up doing a little hiking and other stuff like that.”
Q: This year will be different than past NHL seasons with the World Cup taking place before the season. What are you expectations for that tournament?
MN: “I’m absolutely looking forward to it. It’s an honor to represent my country. We’re just going to go game-by-game and try to surprise people. I know that we’re not the favorites but I feel like we got a good team and we can surprise.”
Q: Do you think there’s an advantage or comfort factor for you since Radko Gudas and Jakub Voracek will be there as well?
MN: “Yeah, for sure, but I do know most of the guys as well. We’re not a big country so it feels like everybody knows everybody, but it definitely helps to have Radko and Jake there.”
Q: Do you think playing competitive hockey in the World Cup will help you prepare for the NHL regular season?
MN: “I don’t know. Maybe, but for me, what I’m focusing on now is the World Cup and it’s going to be a good experience for everybody. It’s a great tournament that a lot of people are going to be watching. After that, it’s going to be all business in the NHL.”
Q: You had mentioned how you might switch things up with your off-season workout routine. How is that going? Do you have any personal goals and what excites you most about this season?
MN: “I’m working with a different trainer this year and mostly I was working out with Radko. I feel like I’m in good shape and I’m ready to go. My personal goals are just to stay healthy and enjoy playing hockey. I know when I’m enjoying playing the game I’m at my best and help this team make the playoffs again.”