By Jaroslav Modry
Jaroslav Modry has played for five teams in his NHL career (New Jersey, Ottawa, Los Angeles, Atlanta and Dallas) and is in his second stint with the Kings. He has been traded at the deadline twice – he was acquired by the Kings both times – including last season when he was obtained from the Stars.
Being traded at the deadline is really a shock. Even though you can see it coming sometimes, you feel like the team you’ve been working with just kind of gave up on you. But on the other hand, you have to look at it in a positive way: The other team really wants me, they want to upgrade themselves and I’m part of it.
It also means you might get a chance to be part of a Stanley Cup contender, if you’re going from a team that’s out of the playoff race to a club that’s in a good position to win that ultimate prize. If that happens, it’s a great bonus.
However, when you finally meet your new team, the first day in the dressing room is very different. You feel like a rookie again and get butterflies in your stomach. It’s something novel and you’re all excited again. It’s like the start of a brand new season.
But despite all the excitement because of the new situation, there are a few hardships when you’re traded. One of them is acclimating to your new club. It could take a few weeks before you start to gel with your teammates and develop chemistry. They’ve been together for the whole year and you just try to fit in and find a way to interact with them. It’s something that takes some time.
And, depending on what stage of your life and career you’re in when you get traded, that might not be the hardest part. A lot of guys have families and kids, and obviously they can’t pull them out of school. They have to stay behind.
Even if you see it coming, being traded still is not comfortable. But it’s part of the game and it’s part of the business.
I have a wife and three kids; you could ask them and I’m sure they’d tell you how hard it was on them when I’ve been traded. They see their dad go somewhere else to play and they don’t see him enough. It definitely affects them.
On top of all this, sooner or later you have to face your old team. It’s a tough hurdle because you’ve battled alongside those guys for so long. The toughest part, though, is the buildup. After the puck is dropped, you just concentrate on doing your job, being a professional and playing your game. You try your best out there and compete the hardest you can.
In the end, being traded is like a lot of other challenges you face in the NHL: You just have to find a way to be positive about every situation that’s out there.
Born in Ceske-Budejovice of the former Czechoslovakia, defenseman Jaroslav Modry is in his second tour of duty with the Kings. Drafted in the ninth round (179th overall) by the Devils in 1990, Modry has played for N.J., Ottawa, Atlanta, Dallas and L.A. during his NHL career. For more information on the Kings, visit lakings.com.