Jakub Vrana will return to the lineup for the first time in two games after Capitals head coach Peter Laviolette punished the Czech forward for his play without the puck. Laviolette said that he wanted a “higher level” and hoped to see Vrana more competitive and play with even more speed.
Tuesday, Vrana spoke to the press for the first time since he was benched by the first-year Capitals coach. Vrana is normally joyful, honest, and fun with the press, but during his presser today, he appeared uncomfortable, joyless, and evasive. He called the situation “disappointing.”
“Me and Peter had conversations through the year,” Vrana said when asked what Laviolette wants on a more consistent basis. “There are some things during the game I need to work on. There’s definitely things I agree. Talking about playing harder on pucks and things like that. Making mistakes. But at the same time, whatever is going on, we keep it in the locker room.”
He added that moving forward, “The only thing I can control is go out there and work my ass off. Work hard, try to do what I do best. That’s my focus right now. I’m going to go out there and try to help the team to get the win tonight. Then we move on.”
Vrana has been benched in the past by several different coaches that preceded Peter Laviolette. In November 2017, Barry Trotz benched Vrana and said he was in participation mode.
“He’s not going to play tonight by the way. Just to let you know that,” Trotz said. “I’m going to pull him out tonight. He’s a good young player and I think he’s going to have a real good career. Just like all young players, there’s a difference between being involved and just participating. Right now, I feel, as a young player it’s a grind in this league, he’s in that participation mode rather than involvement mode.
“We’re going to have a talk. I have full confidence that he’s getting the message that it’s important to be there every night in terms of that involvement and that’s where his production will come about. He’s going to come out tonight and he’ll go back in.”
Months before, after the Hershey Bears’ postseason ended early, Troy Mann criticized Vrana saying that “I thought he was okay. I thought he was average. He has some spurts there, you could see the speed there.”
He added, “I’m gonna have to say it’s been a tough year here for him. He was up and down quite a bit. Just inconsistent play. Hopefully, he can correct as he moves forward.”
On Tuesday, Vrana did not want to speak about his prior benchings or reactions to them saying, “Whatever happens in the past, happens in the past. I’m looking forward.
“I got a chance to play tonight. I’m focused on tonight’s game. I’m going to go out there and do my best to help the team win the game.”
Russian Machine Never Breaks is not associated with the Washington Capitals; Monumental Sports, the NHL, or its properties. Not even a little bit.
All original content on russianmachineneverbreaks.com is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0)– unless otherwise stated or superseded by another license. You are free to share, copy, and remix this content so long as it is attributed, done for noncommercial purposes, and done so under a license similar to this one.