Last week fans on Tampabaylightning.com filled the inbox with questions for Vaclav Prospal. This week you get your answers. While there isn't time to answer all the questions, here are the best of the best. Stay tuned next week for a new player!
Name: Micah Sherman Hometown: Lutz, FL Question: First off, I'd like to say that you are one of my very favorite players on the Lightning. But tell me, are you looking forward to the upcoming season after acquiring defensemen Victor Hedman and how much do you think he will help the team?
First, thanks to you Micah. I’m happy that you consider me one of your favorite players. Obviously, I’m dying to have a better year as a team, because what we went through last season, it wasn’t pleasant. The changes the club has made through the draft and through the free agency are looking great. Hopefully, those changes will help us.
I don’t know Victor Hedman, but obviously he’s going to be a really good hockey player since he was selected number two overall in the draft, plus he played the last two years in the Swedish Elite League and hopefully he’ll be good enough to play with us in the NHL right away. Even though he’ll be a rookie, for him playing with men for two years should help him a lot.
Name: Noreen Lucas Hometown: Riverview, FL and Wilmington, Delaware Question: Vinny, how can the forward lines improve and get more goals? I remember the days of watching the Philadelphia Flyers with Bobby Clarke and he was always parked in front of the net poking the pucks in. How come we don't see more of that with Tampa Bay? Good luck this season. Glad you are staying with us.
Well, first of all, I think everyone would like to score more goals on a nightly basis. I think we had so much trouble in the defensive zone last year that we never really got into the offensive zone as much. We were basically playing defense every game but with the defensive corps being improved through the draft and free agency, and with two of our best defensemen (Ranger and Meszaros) coming back from injury, we should spend a lot more time in the offensive zone this season.
Name: Don Margeson Hometown: St. Petersburg Question: Vinny, How's your golf game? Secondly, we didn't get to see as many of your huge smiles and exuberant celebrations last year as we're used to. Do you feel you'll be getting in the scoring column more often this year? Thanks! Don Obviously, I wasn’t happy at all with my performance last year as far as goal scoring and everything. Part of that is my fault and part of it, well, if we don’t score much as a team then there are not as many goals for individuals. Hopefully, that will change. I’m trying to forget about last season. I’m in the middle of the summer now getting ready for next season. Hopefully, I’ll show the smile and the celebration lots more next year.
And my golf game? I don’t know. It’s probably non-existent right now. I played maybe four or five times since the end of the season. I’ve got three kids now and I go work out in the morning and then spend time with them in the afternoon. I’ll have plenty of time to play golf when the kids grow up. It’ll be easier when they are on their own or when I don’t have to work out because I’m done playing. Then I can play pretty much every day. Not too soon, I hope.
Name: Megan Hometown: Largo, FL Question: What is your favorite restaurant? Also, if you weren’t playing hockey, what would you be doing?
Favorite restaurant in Tampa? Hah! I’m not going to name a favorite because there could be a couple or even three of them. After a game, when we have time, my wife and I love to go to Ceviche Tapas Restaurant. We also like Charley’s as a steak house and we love Olive Garden as well, so there is a lot to choose from. We like to go to Ceviche’s after a good game and when the mood is right.
If I weren’t playing hockey? Well, a few years back I would have said that I’d love to be a golfer. When my son was little I golfed pretty much every day. But now, I’d say that I’d love to be a tennis player or a Formula One driver. Or maybe a professional fisherman.
Name: Alex Chirillo Hometown: Englewood, FL. Question: Ok, first off I have enjoyed watching you play in Tampa and watching the hard work you put into the game. You were traded to Philadelphia in 2007-08, how does the Flyers style of play differ from the Lightning's style? What were the major differences? Was there anything that Tampa Bay could include into their style to improve their game? When we played under John Tortorella, we played very offensive-minded hockey. We never really played a defensive style. We always went and we never held back. When I was traded to Philadelphia I had to adjust to a different system. Philadelphia played more of a trap. That was the biggest difference compared to what I was used to.
Name: Beth Hunt Hometown: Tampa, FL Question: I understand that your son plays on a local hockey team. What position does he play? What advice do you give to other youngsters that are playing hockey? I hope to see more of our Lightning players supporting these small fries. What are your goals for the season this year? You and Vinny L really had some chemistry going in 2007-08 before you were traded. I was glad to see you come back, but the chemistry didn’t look the same. Are you two working on that?
My son, Vaclav, plays on the Junior Bulls in Brandon and he’s a defenseman. He’s good for his age. He’s going to be nothing like me because he likes to hit a lot. He can’t hit right now because they still don’t allow it at his age level, but my wife and I are both very happy that he likes hockey. If he can keep playing, we’ll be happy.
I try to watch him and not miss anything as much as I can. Obviously, I miss practices and games because we travel or have a home game, but if I have the chance I’m always there. I’m a calm parent when I’m there. Of course, I’m happy when he scores a goal or does something well, but I’m a calm parent in the stands. When our season ended I had a chance to get on the ice with the kids and I was out there helping out with the practices and stuff like that. I try to help all the kids on the team.
About the chemistry with Vinny, that all comes back to the team performance. How it all went with the injuries and everything made everything tough. They were trying to find different combinations and neither of us had a great season. It all comes down to this. I’m pretty sure we can get back to what we had. Vinny’s going to come back strong after this summer. Before, he really couldn’t work out that much. He’s going to come back strong and I’d like to say that I’ll do the same thing. Hopefully, we’ll find the net a lot more than we did last year. We were fortunate for years in Tampa that we didn’t have many injuries, but everything kept snowballing last season.
Name: Brett Leblanc Hometown: Port Hope, Ontario Question: Vinny, do you have a favorite baseball, football or basketball team? If so, who?
I’m not really much of a baseball fan. I find the sport a little slow. With the NBA, I used to love to watch when Michael Jordan played. He played for the Bulls and then came back and played for them again. That was probably the most I ever watched basketball. Right now, with three kids, if I do watch any sport I watch golf or hockey. Obviously I like to know what is going on around the NHL and that’s what I do mostly in the evenings when the kids go to bed. I watch hockey to see how the other teams are doing and to study the other players.
Name: Les Hometown: Brandon, FL Question: Dobra Rano – Vaclav. How were you able to make the time to be with your family and also prepare for this upcoming season? Do you have a routine or schedule that you try to follow? Looking forward to seeing you play again in Tampa.
I do plan my workouts for early in the morning. I start at 8 a.m. and finish around 1 p.m. with a game of tennis. I’m usually back home shortly after 1 p.m., which gives me the chance to spend more time with the kids in the afternoon instead of splitting the workout into two parts, the morning or the afternoon.
Name:Rod Lavallee Hometown:Boca Raton, FL Question: Can you tell us a little about the now three Prospal children? We look forward to your continued great play as a player who can be counted on to always contribute. We think you will get to the top of many Lightning career records. Janice and Rod Lavallee Long time fans and supporters
My son just turned nine and, as I said, he plays hockey as a defenseman. We’re more than happy the way things go for him at school, because he basically is studying in a second language. We’re very glad and happy that he likes the game of hockey and wants to be a hockey player.
My daughter, Veronika, is almost six and the same thing goes for her. She likes to dance and goes to play tennis. She’s learning how to ice skate at the Brandon rink every Friday evening. They have lots of activities and they are making us proud as parents.
Vanessa was just born June 11 and she’s just a little sweetheart right now.