Michal Sivek-a rising star

By Ivana Paulova
Michal Sivek is considered to be one of the biggest talents of Czech hockey (1998 draft 29th position). Not only is he very intelligent and clever but is down to earth and he is very polite. He is the player who is worth your attention. His play does not lack in courage and enthusiasm. All his abilities help him to create his smart style of play. He has a good hockey sense which has been developing from the age of 3 when he started with hockey. He has a brother who is 2 years older and he played for Sparta so Michal has been going there with his brother. He was always in contact with the older players so he knew how to play against them

He has been criticized by some observers for returning to the Czech republic but this criticism is unfair. Players not only need good hockey conditions but also good living conditions. He is still very young and he has family and friends in Prague. He is very happy that he plays for an excellent team at home and being at home means he can spend his free time with his parents or friends. We have to remember that players have to play on ice but that doesn’t mean to say they have to live on ice also! For the rest of the time they need to feel good and secure and these circumstances are best provided at home. Michal missed this in North America.

If he had made the first team of Washington Capitals he would have stayed in there but he did not want to play on the farm. The reason is not that he finds it less attractive there but AHL and IHL are mostly the leagues where the players show off for their NHL teams. So fighting is absolutely normal there. This is not Michal’s style but on the other hand it is not true that he shies away from a physical game. He hits when it is needed but more importantly he concentrates on the game. He returned to mature he says he is still in “process” meaning that he is still developing and improving. He did not want to go back to a junior league to Prince Albert because it would not help him anymore. He needed change.

He had tough luck when he came back to the Czech league. During his first match, few players were injured and he went into the play. He played well but in the next match he started to shine as most of the hockey fans hoped he would do. He scored 2 goals and Sparta won that match. Now after 8 matches he has scored 3 goals and he had assisted to 1 goal. His position in Sparta is still not ideal yet. Injured players are now returning and he is the third to fourth liner now and so his ice time is limited. But he is happy as long as he plays.

There were great expectations of him as he returned. But it was really naive to expect brilliant results right away. He is tough and does not really take the responsibility to consideration. He knows what is worth worrying about and what is not. He’s now improving from game to game and trying to put all his abilities together. It took him a little while to get used to this wider ring and not to be afraid every time he gets puck to look around immediately if there is someone to “jump on him”. Here you have more space and more time to decide what to do with the puck.

He has great size and still he’s very mobile. He possesses good stick-handling abilities and his final shot is hard as well as accurate. He is easy about his future. There is no reason why he should not be because of his vast range of talents. He’ll soon be an NHL player. He is the type of the player who gets on well with everybody. He always has something to talk about but it does not mean he talks too much. Just enough!

He is the junior world champion from the year 2000. He is very proud of that and he really enjoyed that tournament. This victory was based on precise defense and remember he himself is solid defensive player. But while personal qualities are important for success so too are the qualities of the support system: the coaches; the effectively composed team. This season he would like to represent his country in Russia where next JWC is going to take place and preferably win the gold medal again. Future plans are playing in NHL and playing for national team.

When you see Michal he seems very innocent and what a surprise when you actually meet him the ‘seems’ becomes a certainty. He really is innocent and kind person. To summarize his virtues he is intense, passionate but a patient and very friendly player. As well as having these qualities he is hard working and competent. Perhaps he’s just a touch nervous when it comes to something important but then we all get nervous sometimes. When he matures the strength and confidence of his play will overlap. He’ll be a top liner and highly rated player one day. Maybe right next season he will make an impact on Washington. He is a hope for the future: he is huge, fast and with brisk hands this may be the qualities of future prototypical NHL player. I just feel he will be big star in NHL. Just wait and see.