Mursak strives for perfection
When the Detroit Red Wings' assistant general manager went to scout the 19-year-old prospect, Nill saw the skating ability, the stick-handling, the hockey sense. What stood out in Nill's mind, however, was the precision with which Mursak worked on his tie, adjusting and caressing it until the teen-ager had the knot just so.
"He's a perfectionist," said Nill. "It's his personality and his work ethic. That's how he is on the ice and off the ice."
The perfectionist came very close to putting in a perfect season last year. Drafted late -- the sixth round in 2006 -- and coming out of a country --
Despite adjusting to playing and living outside of Europe for the first time in his life, Mursak tallied at least one point in each of his first 22 OHL games with the Saginaw Spirit against the best junior-age competition in North America. That streak set a
By Christmas, Mursak was among the top 10 OHL scorers. The 182nd overall draft pick was looking like the perfect late-round selection.
"Certainly, he was a real pleasant surprise," said
Mursak is back in
Mursak finished last season as the Spirit's leading scorer with 80 points, including 27 goals, in 62 OHL games. He also skated for
It was while playing in an under-18 international tournament against countries like
"I learned Czech in one year," said Mursak, who is now fluent in English as well. "There's some good players in
Because he played in a hockey power like the
That led Mursak to playing in Saginaw as a junior, learning more about playing on the small North American ice surfaces, picking up the English language and finishing his final year of high school at Saginaw Nouvel Catholic. He also set up his own web site (www.janmursak.com).
A long-shot to stick with the Red Wings this season, Mursak is likely bound for
"He's a guy that you call in the office when he's 165 pounds and you show him what Kris Draper and Henrik Zetterberg can do with their strength," said
It's a detail in the development of a hockey player that can't be overlooked. But details don't intimidate perfectionists.
"I really like to have things in line," said Mursak. "I hate to have my room messy. I put all my things where they need to be. I think I learned this from my parents. Working out takes working on a lot of little things. I don't mind that."