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Homeward Bound: Panthers' Kuba Leaves Vitkovice Steel

Cats defender heading back to North America, believes an end to the lockout may be near.

Rob Carr

Florida Panthers defenseman Filip Kuba (pictured above in Senators garb) has left Vitkovice Steel according to the team's official website. Kuba's final game in the Czech Extraliga (for now) was a 4-1 victory over HC Ocelari Trinec on Sunday. Kuba did not pick up a point in the contest and finished with an even rating.

On the Vitkovice site, Kuba mentions that he wants to be back with his family and that he believes an end to the lockout might be close.

Kuba appeared in 11 games with Vitkovice Steel. He collected four assists, 10 penalty minutes and a plus one rating.

A copy of the interview (run through google translate) is below. I changed a few words here and there where I felt pretty comfortable that I was making the right choice.

Do you believe that the NHL could soon start up, or is it your wish?


I believe that it will.


Did you get any specific messages that have not yet been leaked to the public?


Not really. I actually just know what is in the media. That the situation escalates, the two sides are actually already backed into a corner, one harms another. I think it's not so, and I believe that by the end of December, both parties agree and then start playing again.


But if that did not happen, even after the New Year, the NHL did not play, or even canceled the season, what would you prefer? Returning to Vítkovice or would you rather go a different way for overseas employment?


If the NHL season does not start at all, If I went back to Europe, it would be only to Vítkovice.


Your family remained overseas, have you suffered during the month apart?


It was not optimal, but I was busy playing hockey. The Vítkovice team are super guys who helped me with this. I have matches in Vitkovice I truly enjoyed. Now I am looking forward to seeing my family.


Has the month in Vitkovice
fulfilled your expectations?


Certainly true. Yes. I came because I wanted to get into the game shape from playing matches. Surely that month fulfilled its purpose.



What during the month in Vitkovice, stuck in your memory the most?



The first match at home, clearly the match with Kladno. And of course, every victory makes you feel good inside.



Vítkovice performances have improved with the arrival of the new coach and with your return...


New coaches came and a few new players. From the first match it was clear that we wanted to win and that's moving in the right direction.