Zach Kassian while playing with Sparta Praha of the Czech Extraliga
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Former NHLER Jiri Tlusty Reveals Reason Zach Kassian Left Team in the Playoffs

Published March 24, 2024 at 3:16 PM

It was recently reported that Zack Kassian, who had signed with a team in Czechia, had returned home for family reason. Now, we're getting more clarity.

Back in October of 2023, Zack Kassian announced his retirement from the NHL, and hockey completely after failing to find a team to sign him for the 2023-24 season. However, it didn't last long for the veteran of close to 700 NHL regular season games. In late January of 2024, Kassian signed with Sparta Praha of the Czech Extraliga and headed overseas.

Not even a full two months later, Sparta announced that Kassian had returned to North America for family reasons. It was a bit of a surprise considering Sparta Praha was getting prepared to play in the post season. However, we're now hearing from another former NHLer, who is an analyst covering the Czech Extraliga, that there is more to the story.

Jiri Tlusty, who played close to 450 regular season games in the NHL, said in a segment that Kassian came over the Czechia assuming he would be able to keep up despite not having trained much since announcing his retirement. Tlusty insisted Kassian was wrong.

"He played x seasons in the NHL, he thought he would come to the Czech Republic, and without any fitness he would be able to play our competition. That doesn't work anymore, the league is quality. Sparta saw he didn't have the fitness, they put him out. He thought it was going to be completely different, then they didn't take him on the trip to Liberec and I think that was the last one"

According to Tlusty, if Kassian had stayed in Czechia, he likely would have been watching games from the stands. That was his main reason for returning home along with the fact that Kassian came to out of shape because he thought he could get away with it.

Kassian played in eight regular season games with Sparta Praha, managing 2 goals and 3 points. Sparta finished second overall in the league before heading into the post season.
March 24   |   115 answers
Former NHLER Jiri Tlusty Reveals Reason Zach Kassian Left Team in the Playoffs

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