LATEST | Former first-rounder claims AHL coach pressured him into fighting

Published July 18, 2023 at 3:44 PM
Earlier this month, 23-year-old forward Martin Kaut decided that he wanted to return home to Czechia and signed a two-year contract with HC Dynamo Pardubice.

It was a bit surprising to see someone his age, who was also a former first-round pick, leave North America, but on Monday, Kaut told a Czech-based media outlet that part of the reason for returning home has to do with his experiences in the AHL last season.

Kaut said that one of the team's coaches on the San Jose Barracuda tried to pressure him into fighting each game, even going as far as picking opponents that he should go up against. He added that the coach told him if he fought, he would be back in the NHL. Ultimately, Kaut didn't drop the mitts and finished the season with only eight penalty minutes.

"He said that's why I don't play in the NHL," Kaut said in an interview with Robert Rampa of iDnes, a Czech-based media outlet.

"I've had three concussions and injured my shoulder twice. If I fought the guys they picked for me, I'd go down and still get hurt. He made me fight anyway, it really bothered me. I would have fought for any good reason, no question. When the game's sold out, it escalates, or when you're defending a teammate. But to fight someone just for the sake of it? I'm supposed to be on the ice to score goals."

Kaut appeared in 19 games for the Barracuda last season, tallying 14 points (three goals, 11 assists), eight penalty minutes and was a minus-seven. He also skated in nine games for the Sharks and did pretty well, putting up five points (three goals, two assists), no penalty minutes and was a minus-two.

The San Jose Sharks organization responded to Martin Kaut's claims on Monday night, saying the following:

"We have been made aware of comments attributed to Martin Kaut stating that he was pressured to deliberately instigate a physical engagement with opposing players on the ice. Let us be unequivocally clear that no such direction was ever given or insinuated by the members of the Sharks or Barracuda coaching or hockey staffs."

Source: Yahoo Sports
July 18   |   308 answers
LATEST | Former first-rounder claims AHL coach pressured him into fighting

Will Kaut make a return to the National Hockey League in 2025?

Yes, someone will be interested5618.2 %
No, he'll stay in Europe15650.6 %
Depends how he does in the Czech league6922.4 %
See Results278.8 %
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