NashvillePredators.com spoke with forward Martin Erat
on he heels of the announcement of his new seven-year contract. Erat is currently playing with Team Czech Republic in the 2008 World Championships. The Czech's finished tied for second in their grouping heading into the the Quarterfinals round of the tournament.
Congratulations on the new contract. How does it feel to sign the new seven year contract?Martin Erat:
It's great to get the deal done. I'm honored to sign with Nashville for a long-term deal. It's a great opportunity to play for a team that wants me and in a place where I want to play. It's just good to get it done and to know that I'm going to be there for a while.NP.com:
Local ownership has been in place for five months and in that time they've managed to sign you, J.P. Dumont, and David Legwand
to big long-term contracts. How do the players interpret that?Erat:
It was a tough summer last year and all season long was a little rough on the team. We had to play hard through all of that and we did a good job. But we know what was going on. Now we have a new owner and he obviously wants to keep the team together. With me, J.P., Legwand all signed to long deals; Jordin (Tootoo) and some of the others signed. It's great to know that I'm a part of that. It's an honor to be a part of the rebuilding and long term plans. It's a different feeling than last summer.NP.com:
What's it like to play in the World Championships?Erat:
It's great to be a part of the Czech national team. It's a different style in an international tournament. It's always an honor to play for the Czech national team, to wear the jersey of my country. Now we get to the difficult games (in the tournament), so we have to play better. Wednesday's a big game. We have to win to move on.NP.com:
Czech Republic just played Sweden yesterday. What were your impressions of Preds prospect Patric Hornqvist
I was talking to him a couple of times about some things, about Nashville; just trying to get to know him a little. Playing against him, he's a great player. I think he can be a part of our team soon. He looks like a great prospect and he's playing well for his team. There are a lot of great players here (at the World Championships) and he really fits in here. I hope he can make our team soon; he looks like a good scorer.