Stanislav Lascek is one of 11 CHL players selected by head coach Sajban Branislav for the Slovakian team at the 2006 World Junior Championships.
Lascek is a high energy, 19-year-old playing his third season with the Chicoutimi Sagueneens of the QMJHL. Last season, the creative playmaker had 72 assists in 53 games. In Slovakia’s first game of the 2006 WJC, a 7-4 win over Latvia, Lascek scored a hat trick and added an assist.
He is a well-spoken individual who does not seem to mince words. Like many players at the WJC, he admits to struggling with the new obstruction rules being applied by the IIHF. Lascek is playing on Slovakia’s top five-man unit with Marek Zagrapan (BUF) and Tomas Pretruska (Cleveland Barons) at forward and Andrej Sekera (BUF) and Boris Valabik (ATL) on defense.
Drafted by the Tampa Bay Lightning in the fifth round of the 2005 NHL Entry Draft, Lascek believes he has matured as a player during his CHL career. Lascek hopes to add more strength to his 6’1, 190-pound frame before attending the Lightning training camp next fall.
HF: How are things going in Chicoutimi this season?
SL: Well, it is a pretty nice situation. It is my third year there and I think people have come to like me and I feel very comfortable there, on and off the ice. We have a very good team. Most of us have been there for three years so it feels like a big family and we are all motivated to win big this year.
HF: Who are your linemates there?
SL: I play with Marek Zagrapan (BUF) pretty well all the time and the coach gives us a different left winger all the time.
HF: What do you notice in Canada that is different from playing hockey in Slovakia?
SL: You know, I really like it here because I think that the people are going crazy on hockey. Back home in Slovakia you do not see sold out games for junior but many people watch hockey teams in the professional league. I feel like I was playing kind of a North American style back home anyway, so I wanted to live here and play to try and play in the NHL.
HF: How is the Slovakian team coming together after its training camp and exhibition games at the WJC?
SL: We make very good team spirit in the dressing room, we are friends, most of us are together since playing U16 championships. You know our coach is very supportive. We have lots of skill and toughness on the team, but we are struggling with the new rules being called here. We do not know what we can and cannot do. (laughs) I’m not sure the referees know. (shrugs) Sometimes you don’t know if you can hit a player.
HF: Have you had any contact with the Tampa Bay Lightning lately?
SL: Yes, I talk to (head scout) Jake Goertzen very often, well, we email quite a bit. He writes me messages and is always giving me good advice.
HF: What is the most important area of your game that you are trying to improve?
SL: My skating is a little bit bad, but I am working very hard to improve. And I could play more physical. I want to improve my strength. There are so many things for a player to try to improve if he wants to become NHL player.
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