It took a few days to finalize the deal, but Capitals goaltender Michal Neuvirth is now an official member of Sparta Praha of the Czech League.
The club announced Neuvirths signing on its website, along with an interview with the 24-year-old native of Usti Nad Labem.
Neuvirth told the teams website that he began negotiating with Sparta shortly after the NHLs lockout began on Saturday and that the talks extended through the week because of conditions of insurance.
NHL players have been negotiating with European clubs to insure the amounts of their NHL contracts. Neuvirth is in the final year of a contract with the Capitals that would have paid him 1.15 million in 2012-13.
Neuvirth played for Sparta as a teenager from 2003-06 and was drafted by the Caps in the second round of the 2006 NHHL draft 34th overall. He said he considered playing for other teams in the Czech League, but returning to Sparta was a matter of the heart.
In the interview, translated below by Google Translator, Neuvirth says NHL owners set the conditions to which the players can not accept and fears it may take a long lockout to settle the differences between the two sides.
Neuvirth also supported Alex Ovechkins tough stand against the NHLs owners and that he would consider remaining in Russia if the players are forced to take significant pay cuts. However, Neuvirth added, I think that the Ovi certainly return.
Below is the Google translation of the interview:
When after the official announcement of closure, it was clear that you will get on for Sparta?
I can say that from about the 15th September. Then were discussing conditions of insurance.
I suppose you during his time in the NHL accustomed to travel, and it is about half way across the world demanding, especially when the next morning absolvuje first training ...
I certainly was very tired, I just arrived yesterday. I do not like to travel, it was very difficult. In addition, yesterday I waited a long time in Amsterdam, I arrived yesterday in the afternoon, plus I hardly slept at night.
On the ice, but you still end up as the last ...
It's true, but it is looking forward to a hot shower, rest longer necessarily need. (smile)
There was a possibility that you nenastupoval for Sparta, but in another club? Preferential rights to Sparta you had ...
So I've had some offers, but Sparta is a privilege for me to clear, for Sparta I wanted to play as a small child, in addition to her I have only the best memories. I spent three great years in youth, Sparta is for me a matter of the heart.
The NHL lockout has occurred as we know, how do you see the current situation, what is your view on it?
Sure, I'm sorry, I know it's a crucial year for me, at the end of this season my contract expires. I am very sorry that he is not playing, it's just big business. Some say that it will play for two months, someone that omits th ... I let it run its course.
The owners of the NHL and the NHLPA Gaming Association has so far failed to agree on a new collective agreement and it still does not seem that the situation should change rapidly. Which of the two "opposing" parties in the negotiations under more you try to move, or who is on the contrary a "brake"?
So I think that the owners set the conditions to which the players can not accept. I expect to come out of their sleven requirements. Otherwise, it may take a long lockout.
What is your estimate of the duration of the lockout?
So the whole time I thought NHL normally begins. Unfortunately, I was wrong, since we do not resolve it too. At Sparta, however, looking forward, it's another experience for me in my career.
Your teammate and maybe the best hockey player currently from Washington Capitals - Alexander Ovechkin said that if the players greatly touched on salaries, so that many of them may not return to the Canadian-American competition. You know him from the car, do you think this potential situation real future?
I am only glad that he said the "full mouth." He's not the only one who opened his mouth at the NHL, these are now more. It is good that players are not afraid of open criticism, Alex said it just as well. But I think that the "Ovi" certainly return.
You create in Sparta goalkeeper Marek Schwarz with a pair of what the job will be yours?
Marek is the leader of the team, no one knows how long I'll be here, I let it happen. vra is a great goalie, I think it will create a great goalie tandem.
In Europe, this week began Football League, you watch it? Do you have it in your favorite team?
Certainly the Champions League likes to watch, my favorite team is FC Barcelona.