Granak is back
Granak is back
Joy of Ostrava after year of health problems
The Slovak wasn’t able to play the 2014 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship and suffered another injury. Back problems almost caused him to quit playing hockey. Now he is fighting for his tenth nomination for an IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship.
IIHF.com sat down with the defenceman, who made his international debut 11 years ago at the same venue: Ostrava, Czech Republic.
In recent years you had a couple of injuries. Now you are back on the national team and battle for the final nomination. How does it feel?
It’s great. I’m so glad to be back. I really missed the national team. On the other side, when you are not feeling good, you have a different kind of thinking. I started to miss hockey while I was feeling better and I would be sorry if I were not here.
What exactly was the problem?
I had couple of injuries over the last two seasons. It all added up. In the first ten years of my professional career I haven´t been injured at all. Last year it came up. I broke my ankle two weeks before Olympics. After that the chronic problems with my arm came up so I needed surgery. That’s why I missed the World Championship last year. But the main problem was the back injury.
But after Olympics you have played five playoff games in KHL.
Yeah, that´s right, but I always felt that my arm was not ok. I wasn’t in a good shape at all and my leg wasn´t still ok either. I thought playing like this at the World Championship wouldn’t help the team.Continue reading
You said the main problems came with the back?
Yes, that was the problem that troubled me the most on the ice. I wanted to change the club after the season with Dynamo Moscow and I realized that I have back problems. They needed to be solved before I started the new season.
Since when have you fully been back?
Since last November. I still feel the problems with my arm but during the game it doesn´t matter to me. During the recovery of my back I met hundreds of people who wanted to give advice. I really wanted to take it from each one of them but I realized that I have to choose only one way. Later on, I cooperated with several doctors. They gave me some medicine, but what helped me the most were the good old classic exercises.
So, no doctors and medicine?
Yeah, that´s right. Paradoxically it was those exercises which many people told me not to try. They helped me the most.
Have you ever thought in this time to end your career?
No, but it crossed my mind. If you have a broken ankle and leg in plaster, you could be back on ice after a few weeks. But my problems with the back were more serious. Everyone told me something different and I wasn’t able to find the way how to solve it. Fortunately I haven’t had any major problems that would cause trouble in everyday life. But for playing ice hockey it was uncomfortable.
How do you feel right now?
Fortunately good but I can feel that I had started season later although I trained hard but off the ice. Hockey is a specific sport and when you are not on the ice for a while, it will catch up with you. When I played the first hockey game in Sweden, I felt a big difference. I had to push very hard to keep up with the others.
At the World Championship in the Czech Republic the Slovak national team will be like a second home team. Many players from the NHL say they are ready to help. On the other hand that means more competition. Do you feel it?
When the tournament is being organized close to Slovakia, players are more willing to represent the country, that’s right. But the Czech Republic is more specific. We have been one country for a long time and people from both states like each other. But if we meet the Czechs in the same game, it will be a big battle. Bigger competitiveness on our team is good for us and that´s the way it should be. Currently we are going through the preparation phase and certainly many of these players want to make the final roster. Being competitive is vital but all within the level of a good sportsmanship. It’s a great group of guys I have met this time again and we all get along very well.
You brought a silver medal home from the last World Championship you played (in 2012). What is your prediction for this year?
That’s always very hard to guess. The championship gets more balanced every year. The year after us, Switzerland won the first silver medal after a very long time. We have a smaller player base than countries like Canada, Russia or Sweden. That’s why we can’t play for medals every year. If I make the final roster it will be special. In 2004 it was my premiere in the Slovak jersey. The crowd in Ostrava was awesome and I’m sure this year it will be the same.
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