Washington Capitals goaltender Vitek Vanecek is currently attending a training camp in Jihlava, Czech Republic with the Czech national team. The other goalies attending the sessions include David Rittich (Calgary), Jakub Škarek (Islanders prospect), and Daniel Vladař (Bruins prospect).
While there, Vanecek did an interview with the Czech newspaper Právo (which was reposted by sport.cz) and revealed what it was like joining the Capitals as the team’s third goalie for a small part of their 2019 playoff run. He also shared a funny story regarding future Hall of Famer Alex Ovechkin.
“It was great just to see the boys and spend some time with them,” Vanecek said as translated by Alexandra Petáková. “The most memorable moment was Ovechkin’s fight.”
Vanecek is referring to Ovechkin’s three-punch knockout of Andrei Svechnikov where the Russian machine finished the Carolina Hurricanes rookie with his non-dominant hand. Vanecek was in the press box for the game.
Vanecek also shared a moment where he experienced Ovechkin’s unrivaled power himself.
“I remember this one time he told me to get in the crease so he could practice his one-timers,” Vanecek reminisced. “I said, ‘Yeah, awesome.’ I went there, he shot three pucks at me, the fourth one hit my head and I couldn’t chew for the rest of the day. My jaw was done.”
“He’s a legend and I’m always impressed,” Vanecek added.
Ovechkin has one of the hardest shots in the NHL. During the 2018 NHL All-Star Weekend, the Capitals captain won the Hardest Shot competition handily with 101.3 mph slap shot.
According to an NHL.com story by Tom Gulitti, Ovechkin “rarely uncorks a one-timer at full speed in practice” because he doesn’t want to send his teammates to the IR.
“Oh, we’ve had our run-ins in the past,” Holtby said to Gulitti. “I think that’s why he doesn’t do that too often anymore. I think he realizes how powerful it is and how dangerous it can be when your own teammate is in there.”
As of February 1, 2019, Ovechkin had scored 43 percent of his goals (277 of 644 goals) from the left circle or above including 131 one-timers.
“It’s probably the best shot in the history of the game,” Holtby concluded.
Headline photo: Vitek Vanecek
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