Sports

Filip Chytil talks COVID-19, boyhood idol and Rangers’ playoff chances

Filip Chytil, the 21-year-old Rangers center who missed 14 games earlier this season with a hand injury — and contracted COVID-19 while he was out — takes a shot at some Q&A with The Post’s Steve Serby.

Q: Are you fun to watch for the fans?

A: Yes.

Q: Why?

A: When I get a puck, I can create nice, smart plays for teammates, I can make some moves to go one-on-one. I love to go one-on-one with defenders. It’s part of my game to go one-on-one, and it’s nice to watch.

Q: So if were a fan, would you buy a ticket to watch Filip play hockey?

A: Yes.

Q: Who would you buy a ticket to watch?

A: I like to see Mathew Barzal from [the] Islanders, I like to watch Patrick Kane, I like to watch David Pastrnak. There’s so many players, but I like those three players.

Q: How is your confidence now?

A: I feel all the confidence growing, and I need to be more confident and that’s what I need to work on.

Q: How do you maintain your speed?

A: It comes naturally, but you need to work on it to be faster and faster. It’s all about hard work in the gym, the dedication and everything you put into it. I want to be strong and that makes me faster and makes me a better hockey player.

Filip Chytil
Getty Images

Q: What are you like on the ice?

A: The guy who wants to score goals, who wants to help the team to win because nothing is better than winning. My family, my girlfriend, my friends, they know who I am, they know how I’m behaving on the ice and off the ice. I want to win. I love winning.

Q: Do you ever get angry on the ice?

A: Yeah, yeah, many times.

Q: Why was it frustrating when you were sidelined for over a month with your hand injury?

A: I was watching the game and I couldn’t be on the ice. I couldn’t help the team, and I couldn’t do what I love the most.

Q: What impresses you about Chris Kreider’s game?

A: His speed. His goal-scoring mentality. His game is about speed, about getting pucks to the net. The guy in my opinion who every team needs.

Q: You’re both known for your speed, so how is his game different than your game?

A: He’s a winger, I’m a center. I’m more like a playmaker, but also scoring goals. But I can learn from him.

Q: Who’s faster, you or him?

A: (Laugh) I like to say me. If he was here, he wouldn’t agree, but I have to say myself (laugh).

Q: Artemi Panarin?

A: Everyone can see when he’s on the ice something’s happening. Unbelievable player. It’s really amazing to play when you’re on the ice with him. He’s a great playmaker, he can score goals. He’s one of the best players in the league.

Jaromir Jagr
Jaromir Jagr
Anthony J. Causi

Q: Kaapo Kakko?

A: He’s showing how confident he is, how strong on the puck he is.

Q: Igor Shesterkin?

A: He makes so many great saves. I don’t think he’s as big like the other goalies in the NHL, but his positioning and his speed are unbelievable.

Q: Why did you like Jaromir Jagr so much?

A: He’s strong, he has a big body. He scores so many goals, great playmaker. We have a similar body so it was good for me to watch him growing up, and now use what I was watching for my game. He is a legend in Czech Republic, and he is a legend in whole hockey world.

Q: You tested positive last month for COVID-19?

A: I maybe had some cough, but that wasn’t that bad.

Q: Your best moment in hockey?

Winning gold for Czech Republic at the under-18 world tournament, getting drafted by the Rangers, and first NHL goal.

Q: Three dinner guests.

A: Cristiano Ronaldo; Rafael Nadal; Michael Jordan.

Q: What was it like going to the U.S. Open?

A: That was exciting. I was there twice. I was going there to see Rafa Nadal, he’s one of my favorite athletes.

Q: What was watching a baseball game at Citi Field like?

A: I don’t know the rules much in baseball. But I enjoyed it.

Q: Favorite movie?

A: Anything with Adam Sandler.

Q: Favorite actor?

A: Adam Sandler.

Q: Who is the funniest Ranger?

A: Ryan Strome.

Q: What makes him so funny?

A: How he talks to everyone, how he’s a great guy. He makes a lot of jokes.

Q: Favorite actress?

A: Jennifer Aniston. I was watching Friends a lot growing up.

Q: Favorite singer?

A: Tktor.

Q: Favorite meal?

A: I like Czech food. I like rabbit, chicken, steak. My favorite meal is probably rabbit and potatoes.

Q: Do you eat rabbit here in New York?

A: No, no. It’s at home because my grandparents’ farm, they have a lot of animals. They cook for me or my mom cooking for me.

Q: Career goals?

A: Of course winning the team trophy in the Stanley Cup. Win world championships for my country. Try to win also individual trophies because you can also help the team so much. But my biggest goal is to win a Stanley Cup.

Q: What do you like about New York City?

A: It’s a little different than all the cities in Czech Republic (laugh).

Q: Describe your hometown.

A: My hometown is maybe 1,000 people live in the village. I live in a small village near to Slovakia. Nice forest, nice lakes around.

Q: What do you like best about this Rangers team?

A: We’re hungry. We’re a very young team who wants to win. We’re fast, we are skilled. We have everything we need on this team.

Q: Can this team can make the playoffs?

A: Yes.


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