The Washington Capitals need to get their cap space in order this offseason as they have $72.9 million committed to their cap for next season with five restricted free agents to sign and four players headed for unrestricted free agency.
However, one man might have given them a major re-sign to forget about re-signing restricted free agent Jakub Vrana, who broke out with 24 goals and 47 points this season.
Why you may ask?
Vrana is getting a lot of negative attention right now at the World Championship. First of, Marek Sykora, an expert for iSport.cz, said in an interview after the World Championship preliminary round ended that Vrana “doesn’t work enough” and added, “I can see [his] celebrity manners.”
On Thursday, things got worse for Vrana as he was inexplicably made a healthy scratch ahead of the Czech Republic’s game against Germany. An anonymous member of the Czech media explained the benching saying that Vrana is a “dick” – which has a lot of insiders in Washington wondering if they are talking about the same guy.
Earlier in the week, Vrana’s reputation was once again put in the wringer when Sykora singled out Vrana’s play in a brutal manner.
“I am very disappointed by Jakub Vrána,” Sykora said as translated by Russia Machine Never Breaks' Alexandra Petáková. “He doesn’t battle [for the puck], he’s invisible. A few moments were enough to assure me that he has celebrity manners. I don’t know if he learned that from someone in Washington but he should quickly forget it. I remember the evaluation of his presentation in junior national teams, he was unwilling to work for it. He basically just waits for a pass on a break where he can use his shot. He’s not active on his own. Even though he’s a successful young player, he’s getting recognition in the NHL. But to me his performance in the national team is a big disappointment.”
He did not stop there…
“I would put a different player on the roster in his place,” Sykora said. “He cannot repeat this type of performance. I don’t know, maybe Miloš Říha [the Czech national team’s coach] has a different opinion than me, but I would take action in his place. I’m just sharing my opinion. Miloš can be hard on players, he should have a proper talk with [Vrána] if he sees it the same way I do. It’s strange, Vrána works hard in the NHL, he has to, but he doesn’t do the same here and that can’t happen. He can score a goal, but he must add to that. Not expect that someone will do the work for him and he’ll just get the goalscorer cream.”
When asked about Sykora’s comments, Vrana showed class and professionalism. Which makes us wonder what is happening overseas. Will it affect his next contract?
Let’s hope things get fixed before it’s too late…