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One-on-One with Jan Hlavac Web Chat

by Staff Writer / Nashville Predators sat down with one of the newest Preds players, forward Jan Hlavac. Hlavac, a native of Prague, Czech Republic, was acquired from the Tampa Bay Lightning at the trade deadline. The 31-year old forward has one goal and four assists with a +2 plus/minus rating through his first eight games with Nashville. Hlavac answered questions submitted by you the fans.

Christopher (Kingsport): How do you think your style of play will contribute to the Preds as they make a run towards the playoffs?
One-on-One with... (archives)
» One-on-One with Predators Chairman David Freeman (Mar. 7)
» One-on-One with David Poile (Feb. 1)
» One-on-One with NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman (Feb. 6)
» One-on-One with Dan Hamhuis web chat (Feb. 21)
Jan Hlavac: They traded for me because Marty Gelinas got hurt so I should probably replace him. Hopefully I will kill some penalties and hopefully bring some offense, create some chances for my elite teammates or maybe score some goals myself.

Walter (Lebanon): Welcome to Nashville Jan. My question for you is you have fit in so well with the Erat Legwand line, it seems like you have been here all year. Is there any chance you will be with the Preds next year even though you are an unrestricted free agent?
JH: They are very good players. They both like to pass the puck a lot, create chances. We had some good games. Too bad Leggy got hurt. We have a new player there (replacing Legwand), so hopefully we can continue to play the same way we did with Leggy.

Angel (McMinnville): What is the biggest struggle switching teams?
JH: If you are married and have a family, you don't see your family as much. They stay in the city where you played before. My family's still in Tampa. So that's the toughest thing to get over that.

Shine (Hohenwald): Moving from the Eastern Conference to the West, what is the biggest difference in styles?
JH: So far, I don't see that much. The biggest difference is the travel, probably. There's a lot of travel here. The East Coast is much easier for travel. So far, some teams play more offense, some more defense, so I don't see too much difference.

Ted (Chalfont, PA): You were traded back in 2002 from Vancouver to Carolina. What did you learn from that experience that will help you better to adjust to your recent trade from Tampa to the Preds?
JH: That was a tough one because I went from a very good team in Vancouver to Carolina. They were kind of struggling. They were one of the worst teams in the league that year. So my experience was a little tough. I had been traded before, too, from the Rangers to Philly. Trades are always tough because you have to get to know the players, the city. The coaches have to get to know you. But I learned a lot from it. It's always tough but you have to be positive and do your best.

Rohit (Madisonville, KY): Before you came to Nashville were you close with any of the other Predators players from the Czech Republic (Erat, Bonk, Zidlicky)?
JH: Oh sure. I knew all of the Czech players. I've played with them on National Teams. It helps you a lot if you have some countrymen on your team.

Thomas (Franklin): What has been your favorite hockey moment in your career?
JH: Probably winning the World Championships twice (1999 and 2005). That was pretty cool. My first game in the NHL and my first hat trick. Those were probably my best hockey moments.

Ashley (Prague): I am currently living in Prague and have attended several Sparta hockey games. What would you say is the biggest difference playing in the NHL compared to playing for the Czech Extraleague?
JH: Obviously the hockey style is totally different because you have a bigger ice surface in Europe. Here it's a smaller ice surface, so that's the biggest difference probably. You have to play different on the different ice sizes. And the games here (in the NHL) are more physical; it's faster, you have to make decisions faster. Those are the biggest differences.

Stephen (Elkmont): As a kid, who was your all-time favorite player and team?
JH: I didn't have a chance to watch the NHL growing up. I was in Europe and we didn't have satellite, so I was watching the European players. I liked Vlady Ruzicka, he was one of the best Czech players and played in Boston for a while, too. Or the Russians, Sergei Makarov, (Igor) Larionov. They were the best players, so I liked them.

Eric (Smithers, BC): What do you think is the hardest part about being in the NHL?
JH: The season is long. You play six months in the regular season alone. It can be like a circus, traveling, games, everything. You don't have time for anything else. That's probably the hardest thing.

Demitri (Nashville): Who is the toughest defenseman to play against?
JH: I would say probably, when I was in New York, the toughest one was Scotty Stevens for sure. I got a couple good hits from him. He was the toughest.

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