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Back in Rat

Radek3Radek Dvorak spoke live to the South Florida 3 from a hotel room in Spain. Drafted by the Panthers with the tenth overall pick of the 1995 draft, Dvorak played parts of five seasons with the Cats and was an integral part of Florida's run to the 1996 Stanley Cup Finals.

Dvorak says he will not be able to attend the 1996 reunion later this month, but since he signed a two-year deal with the Panthers he'll have plenty of time to reminisce.

Here's a transcript of Dvorak's conversation with the South Florida media:

GLAD TO BE BACK IN FLORIDA?

Of course. It’s great to be back. I know the place, they have a great team. It’s great to be back and to be playing. I’m really excited about next year.

The team in Florida now is a good team, they have a very good chance to go far I think. It was a good feeling to go to the Finals, I think we have a chance to do that. Coming back to Florida, hopefully we can do the same thing we did in ’95-96. We have good goalies, good forwards. Put everything together, we can do a lot of good things next year.

LAST YEAR IN ST. LOUIS

Last year, we were the last place team in the league until December. It took us a while to start playing good hockey. I played with Keith Tkachuk all season, we played good hockey. The year before I was injured for almost a month, then I played all 82 games. For me it was a good comeback. I started slow, but after that and playing with Tkachuk it was good.

YOU HAVEN’T SCORED MUCH IN THE PAST FEW YEARS. A REASON?

Last two or three years it’s been tough for me and my scoring. I don’t know if anything is holding me back, but I have had chances. This year will be different. I know I can score. I’ve scored 30 goals, 20 goals a few times. It’s about confidence. I just need to score some goals at the beginning and everything will be OK. I just need to play good hockey and help Florida and help our team be better. We’ll go from there. Teams dictate play. Individuals come second. I just want to play good hockey and help the guys get to the playoffs.

I spent five great years in Florida. Had a great time, great guys, great team. It was always a pleasure to play for the Florida Panthers.

MEMORIES OF THE 1996 STANLEY CUP TEAM

No one can forget that. It was really special. I remember when Scott Mellanby hit the rat. It was me and a few others in the locker room that saw that. It was great time. It as my first year in the league, we were all friends. The Year of the Rat was something special. We almost went all the way. It was a one of those things you never forget. I’m just glad I’m back.

I still talk to those guys.

YOUR THOUGHTS ON FELLOW CZECH TOMAS VOKOUN

Played in world championships with him, played with him when we were younger. It’s great he’s there. Anytime you have a goalie like Tomas, you have a chance to win. With him, he’s one of the best goalies in the league. He’s a hard worker. We have a great chance. I’m really excited to be on a team with him. You all will see what a down to earth, regular guy he is. He talks to everyone. He’s there for us, for you, everyone. He’s great in the community, very friendly. He’s also a great goalie. That’s a good combination.

Olesz, played together a few times. I know him too. He has a great future.



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