By Will Burchfield
If the Red Wings declined to protect Petr Mrazek in the upcoming expansion draft due to concerns about his attitude and work ethic, Mrazek chose an interesting time to showcase his offseason training on Instagram.
On Monday afternoon Mrazek posted a video of himself in the gym working on his lateral movement. “Work hard play hard,” he wrote.
Mrazek has been criticized in his young career for a perceived sense of cockiness and occasional apathy. Such traits can be glazed over with strong play, like the kind that Mrazek demonstrated midway through the 2015-16 season. But they become focal points when the performance dips, as it did for Mrazek throughout last season.
On Sunday it was revealed that the Red Wings exposed Mrazek for selection by the Vegas Knights. The team protected Jimmy Howard even though Howard, 33, is eight years older and more expensive.
Via Ansar Khan of MLive:
“Mrazek has always had a swagger and air of confidence, which appealed to the Red Wings. But sometimes he’s too cocky for his own good, some in the organization believe. He became increasingly difficult to coach last season, they said.
“Jeff Blashill’s decision to start rookie Jared Coreau in the outdoor game in Toronto spoke to the attitude adjustment the team was seeking from Mrazek.
“The decision to expose Mrazek was a slap in the face to the young goalie. But the saga isn’t complete.”
In January, during a stint when he was losing playing time to Coreau, Mrazek declined to remain on the ice after one of the team’s practices to face extra shots, as the backup goalie normally does. When one of his teammates confronted him about it, he refused to return.
It was altogether a disappointing season for Mrazek, who finished with 18 wins, 30 losses, a 3.04 goals against average and a .901 save percentage.
“This is a league that at different times you’re going to have adversity and things aren’t going to go your way and there are two things that can help you get through it – work ethic, on and off the ice, and attitude,” said GM Ken Holland midway through the season, via MLive. “As long as you have a good attitude when you come to work every day and you work at your craft and you compete hard, that’s the only way you’re going to dig out of it.”
Red Wings fans were mostly aghast at Holland’s decision to expose Mrazek in the expansion draft. It seems a good number of them are already resigned to the idea that the Golden Knights will take him off Detroit’s hands.
The comments on the above video include:
“Have fun in Las Vegas.”
“I’m sorry that our GM has no idea what he’s doing.”
“At least you’ll be appreciated if Vegas takes you.”
“Vegas is gonna love you.”
“We loved you as a Wing dude! Always thought you should have been the guy.”
The Golden Knights’ selections will be revealed during the NHL Awards Show on Wednesday night. They must take one player from each team.