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Names like Pavel Datsyuk, Henrik Zetterberg and Jonathan Ericsson come to mind as late picks who made their mark and became fixtures of the Red Wings lineup.
More recently, Detroit has nabbed players like Calle Jarnkrok and Teemu Pulkkinen (2010) and Marek Tvrdon and Alexei Marchenko (2011) who were tabbed to go much higher.
Martin Frk is no exception.
A concussion robbed him of the first half of his season with the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League’s Halifax Mooseheads in 2011, including the World Junior Hockey Championship where he would have played a leading role with the Czech Republic.
He returned to play 34 games for the Moose and had a very respectable 29 points, including 16 goals.
The damage was already done in the eyes of scouts, however, as a once surefire first round pick slipped until the Wings put an end to the skid with the 49th pick in the draft.
Now with the concussion issue – and a pre-season knee scope – hopefully behind him, and an already-signed entry level deal with the Wings in his back pocket, Frk is ready to prove Detroit a wise organization once again.
Rob Benneian: What do you need to need to do to make the Red Wings?
Martin Frk: I wanna be a better skater, faster, more quicker and play better defence.
RB: What are you doing to work on your skating?
MF: I do a lot of drills in practice, to make my step longer, no do quick steps. Longer.
RB: Does the team have a skating coach you’re working with?
MF: No, we don’t but the coaches are good here with the Mooseheads so they help me with that.
RB: When you were drafted by the Red Wings, what did they tell you they like about your game?
MF: They like I got good shot, powerful, good balance, I can keep the puck and make some nice plays.
RB: What’s it like playing on a talented team like the Mooseheads with guys like Nathan MacKinnon?
MF: It’s a really good team so I need to work hard to get a good spot in the lines and the guys here are all very young guys and very good. I need to work hard and be ready for everything.
RB: What is the goal of the team this year? Are you looking toward the Memorial Cup or to win a couple of rounds in the playoffs?
MF: We want go very far in the playoffs and we want to go to the Memorial Cup. That’s our goal.
RB: What made you decide to come to North American and not to stay in the Czech Republic?
MF: The hockey here is much better than back in Czech. I want to try and make opportunities to play in the NHL, so I play for the Mooseheads right now.
RB: When did you first hear about the NHL?
MF: I don’t really know, I think like five years ago I started watching the games and everything and checking the scores on the internet. Now every game is on TV so I can watch the Red Wings a lot. Right now it’s a lockout, but…
RB: Do you have a favourite player, or someone you try to play like?
MF: I like Pavel Datsyuk and Ilya Kovalchuk.
RB: What was it like to miss the first half of last year? It had to be frustrating.
MF: It was hard for me. I came to Canada because I want to play hockey and don’t be injured for almost half season. It was very hard for me and my family. I hope I don’t get any more injuries and play all season.
RB: Are you completely healed up?
MF: Yeah, I’m good, I don’t have any problems.
RB: Do you previously have a history of injuries, or was getting the concussion a new experience for you?
MF: No, I got like five years ago I get my shoulder surgery, but the concussion was my big one.
RB: What was the shoulder surgery for, did you separate your shoulder?
MF: No, I break my ligament.
RB: You ended up missing the World Juniors because of the concussion recovery.
MF: Yeah, I did, I had just started practicing at Christmas.
RB: Do you regret missing it?
MF: It was my choice, I wanted to have more practice and be ready for the playoffs.
RB: Are you looking forward to possibly representing your country in Russia for the World Juniors?
MF: Oh yeah, for sure if I have the chance to get the invite from the head coach I’d be very happy. I’m excited, I’d like to play for my country.
RB: You’re known for being able to score goals. Do you set a target for yourself, like I want to score 30 goals, or 40 goals?
MF: For sure I want to score 30, but I have to shot a lot. For sure I want 30 goals, if it can be more I’d be very happy.