On July 26th, Colorado Avalanche prospect Martin Kaut spoke with a sports site back home in his native Czech Republic. Here is the translation:
He can’t imagine his first season abroad without his buddy Pavel Francouz. At just nineteen years old, forward Martin Kaut bonded with his national team’s goalie. He also got to know Colorado Eagles head coach Greg Cronin well, allowing the two to often discussed both hockey and life during the season.
Your first season abroad had to be tough even with the presence of Pavel Francouz, right?
I went to the unknown. Even though I thought I knew what it would be like. I thought it would be easy, that they will be blown away by me. I understood quite fast that I need to work much harder. In the middle of the season I realized it’s time for a new Martin Kaut to show up.
And did he?
Yep. People from management told me they were satisfied with what they saw, even though I was not. I know I could have been better the first half of the season. It was affected by the summer heart surgery I went through. I couldn’t train much, plus Colorado is high above sea level. Also, I used to play like seven minutes per game, I was frustrated I wasn’t feeling good. It turned out ok though.
Did it take long to get used to North American hockey? Your coach Cronin said that you had a tendency not to skate enough on the ice and rather observe what is happening around you.
I heard it as well and I agree. They told me every game. I’ve had many intense sessions with the coach. He kept showing me my shifts. He was asking about my personal life as well, sort of like a psychologist. I’ve never met someone like that. I guess he cares about me. They didn’t talk to me much in Pardubice (Kaut’s previous team in Czech extraliga), so I was really glad for it in Colorado. Even if it was tiring sometimes. After a practice you’re spending time alone with coach, leaving long after everyone else…
Did you spend the rest of the time with goalie Pavel Francouz? I’ve heard they perceived you as a father and son.
Yeah, they did. Pavel was very important to me. If I didn’t have him in Colorado, I have no idea what the season would look like. We’d sit down ant talk. I am very grateful for him.
Did he give you a lot of advice?
I have this funny story. We went home together from a game. We’re always taking turns driving. So, I volunteered to drive him because we won, and he had a good game. But I didn’t realize I don’t have my license with me.
Some incident with police?
There was a stop sign, it was almost midnight, so I thought that nobody was going to be checking it. I went through it and of course there were police lights up right away. Francík (nickname for Francouz) was calming me down, saying it’s going to be okay, but I had never been scared like that before. The police were cool, they saw we’re Eagles players, I apologized to them and they let us go.
Did you miss Francouz when they called him up to the Avalanche and he had his debut in NHL?
Absolutely. I wanted to be with him. But I know that we have different paths. I was in Colorado recently for a development camp, they’ve praised me, said that I look good and should keep it up and have faith.
Faith that you’ll get to the Avalanche roster?
Coach is counting on me in the minors this year, but I don’t want to play there. When he told me about it I was nodding. Team scout Miro Zálešák then told me that I should have told them that I won’t play in minors – be confident. Mister Zálešák is helping me a lot. Thanks to him I will be attending camp with a clear head.
But it’s not just up to you to decide whether you’ll make it to the big team, or if you’ll be in the minors.
There isn’t a single bad person in Colorado. I even got a call from the general manager Joe Sakic, he was at some of our games. He’s praising you so that you feel good. At the same time, he means it in a way that you should keep working on yourself. So, I’ll keep on working hard.
Have you met with Milan Hejduk too?
I think three times, he lives quite far away. He said he’s rooting for me.
You scored twelve goals last season, your former teammate Sergei Boikov said that you’ve got an incredible shot. Are you counting on it?
I’m happy that I hear it from more people. Sakic was emphasizing that I should shoot as much as I can. Coaches used to give me a hundred extra pucks after a regular practice and it shows. Ironically, I scored all the goals from left side even though I was playing on right my whole life.
You’re preparing for the new season with Martin Necas, what are his ambitions?
We’re on a similar path. We’ve got our first year in minors behind us, we’re young. I just hope he’ll make it to the NHL. We wish that for each other. I guess there could be a space for him on the wing in Carolina, he played there in the minors.