Sekera back, fresh, ready to go

Posted by Chip Alexander on February 23, 2014 

If he was tired, if there was any lingering fatigue from Sochi, the Canes' Andrej Sekera wasn't showing it.

Sekera looked fresh in practice Sunday at Raleigh Center Ice, and again after the workout in doing an interview.

Sekera again competed for Slovakia in the Olympics, making his second appearance in the Winter Games. The Slovaks didn't fare well but Sekera enjoyed the experience.

"When the Olympics were in Vancouver it was really nice, a nice city," he said of the 2010 Games. "This was nice, too. Beyond the Olympic Village and facilities there was nothing but green and trees. They built a lot of stuff in a short period of time (but) it was very nice.

"The other village, up in the mountains, the resort and everything was gorgeous. I've never seen anything like that."

As for Slovakia's showing in the Games, Sekera said, "I thought we played good. We had a good team but things didn't go our way. That's an unfortunate situation in a short tournament like that. We got better as the tournament went along but it wasn't good enough."

Sekera and Alex Semin, who both left Sochi without medals, both were at Sunday's practice. Tuomo Ruutu, who played for Finland and won a bronze, should be back on Monday, Canes coach Kirk Muller said. Justin Faulk, a member of Team USA, will join the Canes in Buffalo.

Sekera played a lot of minutes for the Slovaks, and said it took a couple of games to adjust to the bigger rink. He said he didn't expect any problems once the Canes' season resumes Tuesday in Buffalo.

"I'll do my best," he said. "I will try to focus on every game, set myself back on the right work basis -- food, sleep, practice, stuff like that. I don't think that will be a problem."

Sekera said he had a chance to see Faulk, Semin and Ruutu, that they met for coffee in the athletes' cafeteria and could "chit-chat a little bit."

One memory of Sochi for Sekera should be rooming with Zdeno Chara, the towering defenseman for the Boston Bruins. At 6-9, Chara had some special needs when it came to sleep arrangements.

"He had an extension by his bed," Sekera said, smiling. "He's a tall guy. He's a big man."

Sekera said he was able to see some speedskating and some of the biathlon competition in Sochi. But he's back and ready for the final 25-game push.

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