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Healthy Michalek enjoying an all-star season start

Senators winger putting himself into position to play in mid-season event in Ottawa

Wednesday, 11.23.2011 / 11:30 AM ET / Features
By Rob Brodie  -
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Healthy Michalek enjoying an all-star season start

Good health, great start … for Milan Michalek, it was anything but a coincidence.

After missing 16 games because of injuries during each of his first two seasons with the Ottawa Senators, the Czech winger arrived in camp this fall in tip-top shape, with no concerns about his health.

And yes, you can draw a direct line between that fact and Michalek’s current standing among the National Hockey League’s early season goal-scoring leaders. The speedy winger — who's garnered strong early support in fan balloting for the 2012 NHL All-Star Game at Scotiabank Place — shares some thoughts about it all with

Q: You’re off to a strong start this season. What’s been the key to that?
A: I’m healthy (for the first time) after a long time and I had a good summer of training. I feel good and confident now. I can use my speed now and my legs feel great. My teammates are playing great, too, so that makes it easier.

Q: How has it felt to be this healthy heading into a season?
A: It feels good. After two years of battling injuries, it nice not to think about anything (that way), just hockey. That’s been nice and I hope it’s going to stay that way.

Q: How frustrating has it been to deal with injuries the last two seasons?
A: It was really frustrating. I wasn’t able to show how well I could play and I couldn’t fulfill my potential, which was frustrating. I was thinking about it all the time. Now, hopefully, that’s behind me and I can stay healthy and show everybody how good I am.

Q: Your speed has always been one of your biggest assets. Is that something you’ve always had or is it something you needed to develop?
A: I was always one of the better skaters. When I was younger, I skated two or three times a day back home in Czech (Republic). I was always on the ice. I’ve always been a good skater and it’s helped me a lot.

Q: How much does playing on a line with Jason Spezza help your game?
A: A lot. He makes everybody better. He’s one of the best passers in the NHL and playing with him is a lot of fun.

Q: You’ve had lots of success in shootouts this season. Do you practise them a lot?
A: Not really. It’s more a confidence thing. If you’re confident, you always have a better chance of scoring. My first one this year, I scored, and I got confidence from that. It’s going in for me and, hopefully, it stays like that.

Q: What’s the key to being a successful shootout guy?
A: You have to be really patient because the goalies now are so good. You just have to see what they do. I think the goalies have a big advantage in shootouts.

Q: What are your goals for this season, both individually and as a team?
A: For me, the No. 1 thing is that I want to stay healthy and be a big part of this team. Make good plays, score some goals and be a good teammate. For the team, we want to take it game by game and if we can play good hockey for the (fans), I think I’ll be happy.

Q: How enjoyable has it been to have so many young guys around the team this season?
A: It’s great. I like it. There’s a lot of enthusiasm in the room with all the new guys and there’s always lots of jokes. It’s been a lot of fun.

To vote for Michalek, Daniel Alfredsson, Jason Spezza, Erik Karlsson and Sergei Gonchar on the 2012 NHL All-Star Game ballot, log on to or text the player’s last name to 81812.




1 MTL 23 17 4 2 83 50 36
2 OTT 22 12 5 5 70 61 29
3 BOS 21 12 8 1 68 61 25
4 DET 22 11 8 3 51 55 25
5 TBL 23 11 9 3 54 49 25
6 FLA 21 8 9 4 54 55 20
7 TOR 22 7 10 5 49 58 19
8 BUF 22 8 12 2 45 59 18


E. Karlsson 22 5 19 10 24
B. Ryan 22 8 12 3 20
K. Turris 22 11 8 6 19
M. Hoffman 18 8 11 8 19
M. Stone 20 4 15 2 19
M. Zibanejad 22 4 12 0 16
J. Pageau 22 6 3 4 9
M. Michalek 22 5 3 1 8
Z. Smith 21 5 2 5 7
S. Prince 13 2 4 2 6
C. Anderson 10 4 3 .920 2.71
A. Hammond 2 0 2 .930 2.42