Goaltender Ondrej Pavelec knows the learning curve that 18-year-old Filip Chytil is going through as he adjusts to life as a budding National Hockey League player.
That's because a decade and a half ago, Pavelec made the same jump to North America from his home country he and Chytil share in the Czech Republic to follow his dream of playing in the NHL.
"I had no clue," Pavelec told NYRangers.com. "I had an English class back home, but when I came here I figured I didn't know anything. It was a big difference. I had guys that spoke the same language as me in the room, so that helped me a lot."
"It was my choice to come here when I was 17," said Pavelec, who played two years with Cape Breton of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League. "I was really excited. That language problem, it was just part of it. I didn't really think about it. I had a guy who spoke the same language with me. That was a huge thing to have somebody there."
That guy for Chytil has been Pavelec, though the 30-year-old netminder said there's a big difference between he and Chytil, as the youngster is able to communicate with his teammates, staff and the media, making the transition a little smoother.
"I don't think he needs much help," Pavelec said of Chytil. "Of course the language is different but I think he's a smart kid. He understands what the coach wants from him so I don't think I need to help him that much. It was just little things."
"He understands what the coaches want from him," Pavelec added. "It's always nice to have somebody from the same country. It's not easy for him, that's for sure, but I think he's handling it pretty well."
Video: NJD@NYR: Chytil fires home game-winning goal in OT
Chytil turned heads on the ice Wednesday night with his overtime goal against the Devils. And while nothing for Chytil in New York is guaranteed, Pavelec said he'd benefit from wherever he plays his hockey this season.
"Wherever he ends up this year, it's just progress," he said. "If he makes the team, great. If not? You're going to have the room to improve everything and get better as a hockey player and as a person. Even the training camp is a great experience for him to understand what it takes to be an NHL player."