That was a scary opening night in Washington DC, October 8, 2010, when Pavelec waved to the bench and then collapsed.
I remember Ovi was saying that it was totally changing the whole perspective about the life, the game and other things when at the moment they thought Pavelec was gone.
"It is absolutely certain that we will die, and it is uncertain when or how we will die."
But fortunately things turned out good, and Ondrej Pavelec is back and playing.
Here are some excerpts from his interview that he gave to Russian Sports.ru correspondent Maria Mikhalenko. In this interview Ondrej talks about the episode when he lost consciousness, how different hockey rink safety glasses around the world can affect goalie's performance and few words about new Caps goalie, IIHF World Cup champion Tomas Vokoun...
Can you tell about your syncope at the first game of the last season, what was it?
I just lost consciousness. I don't know why [it happened]. I remember nothing about that episode. I woke up and I was in the ambulance. But everything is fine now, the doctors gave me the green light; I can do whatever I want. No more visiting hospitals, going to the examinations. I am healthy, thank God.
It was said that you had heart problems.
No, nothing like that! I went through many tests in the hospital over the next couple of days [after it happened]. Everything was ok with my brain, my heart was ok, all other organs were in perfect condition, everything was normal. Doctors have found no reason why I fainted. Now it is very difficult to figure out what happened.
Weren't you alerted that you went down for no reason?
It didn't last too long. In most cases the loss of consciousness never happens again, and this is good news. I began to train in a week, in ten days I was ready to play. So it was just an unfortunate episode.
You've scared a lot of people.
Of course, this was an unpleasant story. Well, my partners were able to return to the game and win. In general, you know, it is always difficult to see things like that when someone loses consciousness on ice during the game.
[At the worlds Cup] Nabokov, complained about the [safety] glass "Simbas" (Симбас).
Oh, yes. The glass has a bad bounce. This happened to me so many times in the last World Cup. You'll never know where the puck will go after the shot, Sometimes it could go directly in front of the goals... Yes, the safety glass was clearly bad.
But can you see the puck on the glass?
When it hits the glass, no. Because the glass is really dark, it is difficult to see something on it. But I don't go behind the goals as much as Nabokov, so it's not my problem. In fact, it's just a little difficult for everyone. You only have to be more careful.
Russian hockey veterans say that today's goalies style is of more 'cheating', not reacting.
Sometimes the situation forces you to do it. You just wait for a shot and try to stop the puck. I think it's ok.
After the 2010 World Cup Vokoun was worth of being put on the goalies mask [They talk about Pavelec's mask with Modry's portrait - tj].
Yes, thanks to him and to our unity and luck we won that championship. Tomáš is a great person and one of the best goalkeepers in the world.
What are his trump cards in your opinion?
His physical conditioning, he is always ready to play. He is always concentrated on the game. Whatever happens he is always on alert. Tomáš is playing in the NHL at a high level for so many years. Florida was in the playoffs only because of him. And Vokoun played unbelievable in Germany.
I've heard that he lost his the last world championship medal?
Yes, exactly. It was the night when we won the finals. Such things, you know, can happen during the celebrations. But Tomáš was given a new medal.
Vokoun likes to play poker. What about you?
No. I prefer football [soccer] and tennis to cards. And TV. I spend a lot of time watching it.
P.S. After I read Pavelec's interview I got really interested what kind of plexi-glass is used in the NHL arenas. For those who are curious, here we go...
The only acrylic engineered to meet ASTM and NHL regulations, RinkShield sheet holds up to puck and player impacts, provides greater flexibility than tempered glass, clearer viewing for fans and easier, quicker changeover operations for facilities.RinkShield sheet can be found in hockey rinks around the world:
Verizon Center - Washington, DC
Air Canada Center - Toronto, Canada
American Airlines Center - Dallas, TX
Scottrade Center - St. Louis, MO
Phillips Arena - Atlanta, GA
TD Banknorth Garden - Boston, MA
RBC Center - Raleigh, NC
Rexall Place - Edmonton, Canada
Prudential Center - Newark, NJ
Nassau Coliseum - Long Island, NY
Scotiabank Place - Ottawa, Canada
Wachovia Center - Philidelphia, PA
Van Andel Arena - Grand Rapids, MI
Hartford Civic Center - Hartford, CT
Halifax Civic Center - Halifax, Canada
Ricoh Coliseum - Toronto, Canada
John Labatt Centre - Ontario, Canada
O2 Arena - London, England
RinkShield safety glass for NHL arenas is made by Piedmont Plastics.