Dmitry Chesnokov

My musings on a number of things

What would Radulov say if Ovechkin asked him about Trotz?

Talking to my friend Pavel Lysenkov of Sovetsky Sport, Alex Ovechkin joked that he would call Alexander Radulov to ask about the new Washington Capitals’ coach Barry Trotz. What would Radulov say?

That he only has the best opinion of his former coach.

"Bad coaches don’t work at the same club for 15 years." Radulov told Lysenkov today. "When I came to Nashville Trotz helped me a lot. I learned a lot. I became a hockey player. The coach trusted me, called me up from the minors. I have only the best memories of Trotz. This is a new challenge for him [in Washington]. Life changed, he had to go. But he has a lot of ideas that he will be able to realize in Washington."

Babcock doesn’t know if Datsyuk will play this week, or in Sochi.

Entering the last week of the NHL season before the Olympic break, the questions about Pavel Datsyuk not being ready to play for Team Russia in Sochi are becoming more serious.  

Datsyuk didn’t travel with the Detroit Red Wings to Washington last weekend, which raised even more worries in Russia about one of the pillars of the Russian Olympic team.  What are the chances we will see Datsyuk play at all this week, I asked coach Mike Babcock after Detroit’s loss to the Washington Capitals on Sunday?

“I got no idea…” Babcock said.  “I just watched him in practice, his one leg isn’t holding up.  Obviously, Pavel wants to play for his country, and he wants to be a part of things, but you got to be healthy.”

And what are the chances he will have to miss the Olympics altogether because of injury, I asked?

“[After a pause] I am not the doctor.  I don’t have a clue.” Babcock replied.

Team Russia has already had to make two changed to its Olympic roster after Sergei Soin and Denis Kokarev, both of Dynamo Moscow of the KHL, were injured.  The Carolina Hurricanes forward Alexander Semin and former NHLer Alexander Svitov, who is currently playing in the KHL, have replaced them.

But losing Pavel Datsyuk will be a major blow, and the Russians have no one who comes close to being on the same level as the Magic Man.

Worrisome days ahead.

Kuznetsov to join the Caps next spring? It is possible, he says

Evgeni Kuznetsov is one of the best Russian prospects playing in the KHL.  The Washington Capitals have a lot of expectations concerning him.  How soon will he be in DC? Could he join the Capitals this spring?

“Yes, it is possible,” Kuznetsov told Pavel Lysenkov of Sovetsky Sport. “I spoke with [Washington’s] general manager, head coach, club scouts this summer.  They want me to do exactly that.  I can guarantee that after the New Year I will start [the process of obtaining] a US visa.  I will also have to consider my health.  And let’s not forget about the World Championships.  But if everything comes through I could leave just like Alexander Radulov did – go to the NHL right after the end of the KHL season.”

But Radulov had previously played for Nashville.  Aren’t you scared going all in?

“What should I be scared of?  There is Alex Ovechkin is Washington, who promised me that he would definitely help me.  In terms of hockey it will be a lot more interesting.  I will be right in the thick of things.”

What new did Ovechkin tell you about Washington?  Did you talk to him during the [Olympic] camp?

“He told me a long time ago that I should leave,” Kuznetsov laughed. “We only spent a day and a half in Sochi.  We didn’t really talk about this topic.”

Radulov says “Forget you” to the reporter who exposed him

Photo from KHL.RU

Alexander Radulov – what a polarizing figure.  I read his interview with Alexei Shevchenko over at KHL.RU this morning.  He was asked about the now infamous “curfew violation” incident in Nashville last year:

You were criticized less [than Kovalchuk is now] when you left Nashville.  Your departure was a little different, to be honest.  Tell us honestly, did you drink that night?

“I did not drink.  You want to know what really happened?  We were in Phoenix, and our hotel was on the other side of town from where you could have dinner.  Practically the whole team was at a restaurant.  Someone left earlier.  I came back 15 minutes later than [the start of] the curfew.  Perhaps it is a violation, but not the one everyone is talking about.”

 But the Americans said firmly – he was drunk.

“Even back then I said ‘Let me take a test and I will prove that I haven’t had even a glass of wine.  I can give blood if you want.’  But I was told that none of that was needed, and that I was drunk.  ‘OK,’ I tell them, ‘you have already made up your mind and I can’t do anything.’”

 Will you confront the journalist you exposed you when you see him?

“I saw him after that.”

 And?

“And I didn’t do anything.  You know, if I had lost my cool, it would have been the peak of his career and everyone would have been talking long about it, and I would have been proclaimed to be a troublemaker. But I could tell you about the condition he was in when he accused me of “curfew violation.”  Forget him…”

 Alexander Radulov is no fan of media.  He said if he had to choose between the two evils – North American or Russian media – he’d choose the latter: “I would rather talk to our [Russian] journalists, in my language, and would be very careful when talking to a North American.  There your words can be twisted that it won’t seem like nothing to you, and there are a lot of examples of that.  It is a little different in Russia…”

 Radulov also said that Ilya Bryzgalov should look for a new club, that Ilya Kovalchuk will not regress in the KHL, and that it is too bad that Nashville doesn’t have an NBA team, because he’d gladly go to see them play. 

Slava Voynov: Three Stories

Slava Voynov of the Los Angeles Kings paid his dues in the AHL, waited for his chance with the NHL and realized his childhood dream. Here are three stories from three people from his past, courtesy of sports.ru.

image

Stanislav Shadrin, Voynov’s first coach in Traktor.

“I worked with Slava until his graduation [from the hockey academy], from when he was 7 until he was 17.  I noticed him right away.  He stood out among others with his skating, he learned everything right away. He was very strong as a person, a physically strong boy.  Very determined, didn’t like to lose.  He always wanted to be the team leader, often he was the team captain.  Voynov and Anton Lazarev stood out in particular among others of the same age.  Overall, Slava had a lot of good qualities since childhood that he has since developed.

“His family was an ordinary one.  His father was a railroad worker, and his mother worked for a municipal government entity, I think.  He also has an older brother.  It is sad that his father didn’t live to see the Stanley Cup…  He passed away when Slava was still playing in the AHL.

“He always attended practices, never skipped.  He may have missed school, but never a skate.  If school was cancelled, he was at the rink right away skating with some team.  He is one of those who has never missed a practice.  He loved practice, he was hungry for them.  He did everything you’d tell him to do.  You show him an exercise, he’d get it right away.  Some would need to be explained multiple times, but this one got everything right away.

“I joined Traktor myself when I was 16.  Straight to the [professional] league from school.  And Tsygurov [another coach] noticed Slava and invited to join the team.  He was probably nervous inside, but played with confidence.  Tsygurov loved the young, actually.  He saw that Slava was a good guy, and decided to check him out, and Voynov justified the trust.  He kept getting better and better.  [Tsygurov] discovered him for pro hockey.  Slava played for the [Traktor] first team that year as well as three national teams: the one for 17 year olds, the Under 18s, and he was also invited to the junior team, even though there were 20 year olds there.

Voynov wanted to go overseas, he dreamt of the NHL.  At first, when it wasn’t coming together for him in North America, he was kept in the AHL, he was thinking whether he should stay or come back.  He was advised to stay one more year as he’d be given a chance anyway.  He stayed and, in the end, he became a regular in Los Angeles.  As soon as he was brought it to the first team, everything started going right for him.

"Last summer, when he brought the Stanley Cup to Chelyabinsk, he called me and we met.  He gave me his hockey gloves as a gift.  As they say, a shoemaker without shoes.  He also gave me a hat.  I asked him to bring hockey skates for my son, he brought those from Canada.  And even now we talk on the phone sometimes.

“His slapshot has been really good since he was a child. Forwards would forget him at the blue line, and Slava took advantage of it.  Sometimes we even engineered plays through him.  There is a five on four power play, he gets the pass and shoots on goal.  If the shot is on net, it was almost always a goal.  He had a strong shot.  You couldn’t see the puck flying [after his shot]. 

“We had the following happen. We had a game against Mechel in the city tournament.  We got together and Slava tells me: ‘Stanislav, I don’t feel well, I have a fever. Can I not go?’  I tell him: ‘Slava, we should go, we are short on defense.  If something, you will just sit on the bench, you won’t play.’  And the game turned out to be very difficult.  We won 4-3 and Slava scored three goals.  And I remember telling him on the bus: ‘And you didn’t want to go. You scored a hat trick.’”

Miskhat Fakhrutdinov, Russia U-18 national team coach at the 2007 World Championships

“Voynov has always been a gifted guy.  He wasn’t always on my team as I was working with guys born in 1989 at the time, and Slava was born in 1990.  But when I saw him in 2007 for the first time, I realized right away that he was not a bad player.  That he has a future in hockey.  His hockey logic is at the right level, his skating is great, a good shot.  He can shoot where he wants the puck to go.

“I wasn’t surprised that things are going well for Voynov in the NHL.  He was smart beyond his age.  He was 16, but played like an adult.  It is a rare feat – to understand the game at such age.  He made decisions very quickly. He could have stayed back and not immediately joined the rush if he had known that he would lose in speed.  At the World Championships Slava was the youngest one, but wasn’t lost among more senior guys.  Voynov and Maxim Chudinov were the best defensemen of that year.”

Sergey Mylnikov, Traktor goaltender, 2006-2008

“He was a young guy when he joined the team.  He was 16, if my memory serves me right.  Gennady Tsygurov got his ready for the first team, and he stayed, played out the entire season.  He played very respectively.  Not to say that he was one of the leaders, but for his age Slava looked great.  It’s not a surprise that he has achieved what he has since.  Right now he is one of the best defensemen in modern hockey.  As a goaltender I played with comfort behind Voynov. There were no problems whatsoever.  He had everything other defenseman with the first team had, apart from the age.  He was the youngest, and the rest was at the [required] level.  He played really well. 

“I don’t remember us pranking or treating Slava badly as the youngest on the team.  We treated him well.  Just like with any other team, young players collected pucks, helped administrators to get something on the bus from the locker room during travel, but everyone goes through that.  There was no hazing.

“It was evident that Slava could play in North America.  He dreamt about playing there and that’s why he left for the junior league when he was 18 – to make it to an NHL club.  He has achieved all that.  Some people say, why do young guys leave at a young age to Canadian juniors if there is an opportunity to make money at home and play [at home].  He chose a completely different path, that he walked all the way and won the Stanley Cup.  Slava proved that there is nothing impossible.  You can be proud of him.”

Good deeds

Some people try to do good deeds and tell the whole world about them. Others just do the good deeds without waiving a flag and pleas for Twitter followers.

Here’s a story for you about one of the most humble people - Red Wings forward Pavel Datsyuk and how his good deed possibly went further than he thought it would himself.

About 10 years or so ago there was a young boy who lived in the Russian city of Kazan. His name was Alexander. Even though he was about eight at the time, he excelled in hockey. Unfortunately, there were problems with hockey equipment, or lack thereof. So some friends asked Pavel Datsyuk to help. And he did, sending some professional hockey sticks and skates to the boy Datsyuk had never even met.

Right now that boy, who also happens to be a former first round draft pick, is a star forward for the Winnipeg Jets. His name is Alexander Burmistrov. 

Who knew this was going to happen?

(Thanks to my friend Pavel Lysenkov for sharing)

Datsyuk’s daughter brings tears to his eyes

Datsyuk and his daughter Liza

After Russia won the 2012 IIHF World Championships, a parade was held for the national team in Moscow. 

It was the first World Championship title for the Detroit Red Wings forward Pavel Datsyuk.  Just a couple of months ago he told me during an interview that he had never won anything for his country.  Now that has been accomplished.  Of course the biggest challenge, the Olympics, is still to come for him in two years.  However, winning the Worlds meant a lot to him.  How much?  Well, his daughter Liza explained:

 

This is what she said:

What are you feeling?  About your dad, about the team…

“I am very happy that my dad won.  They are all so great!  They are not just the champions…  I will tell you honestly, I didn’t watch [the final], I was in Germany and I didn’t get a chance to watch.  When I found out the result I was very happy.  We were [in Germany] with the class and then I heard the result and was ‘Yeah! My daddy is winning!’”

 And when we were losing in the semis and the final, you most likely knew about that.  What were you thinking then?  That your dad and the rest of the guys will start pushing forward and will score for sure?

“Yes, I had a feeling my dad can do absolutely anything. He is the greatest dad. The very best!”

And now you have to wish your dad to win the Olympics.

“I want to wish him to win the Olympics.  When dad won, he is now walking around so happy.  He is so happy.  He is so great! So much positive energy.  I don’t even know how to explain it, but he looks so great, he is shining with happiness that he won.”

 Datsyuk was left speechless and teary eyed and can only say “It’s so difficult to talk after what I just heard.”

Scotty Bowman’s 5 Golden Principles

Here are the 5 Golden Principles from Scotty Bowman’s coaching manual titled “The Art of Coaching the Team During the Game:”

1. Surround yourself with the best personnel! Running the team is a team effort.

2. Be creative!  Only when you try to create a goal you can achieve that goal.

3. Create the core of your team made up of strong leaders!  Without 5-6 players on your team, who you can always rely on, you cannot accomplish any initiative.

4. Grasp conflicts and be ready to be confrontational!  Resolved conflicts pulls everyone together more.

5.  Be critical but to not criticize!  To get out of setbacks you need strength not to sink deeper.

KHL day in review: September 14, 2011

There were 5 games in the KHL today.

In the capital of Kazakhstan, Astana, Barys hosted Traktor Chelyabinsk.  The hosts won 4:3. Washington Capitals’ prospect Evgeni Kuznetsov scored one of the goals for Traktor. Highlights below.

CSKA played Jaromir Jagr’s former KHL team Avangard in Moscow. Former Senators forward Ilya Zubov scored for CSKA with an assist from former Canuck Sergei Shirokov to open the scoring. But goals from Avangard’s Roman Cervenka and Dmitry Semin brought the Omsk club its first victory of the season 2:1. Highlights below:

Spartak Moscow lost at home to Torpedo Nizhni Novgorod 4:1. Marcel Hossa, brother of the Blackhawks forward Marian Hossa, scored the only goal for the Moscow side.  Dmitry Makarov scored twice and Matt Ellison, who had stints with the Philadelphia Flyers and the Chicago Blackhawks, and Vladimir Malenkikh added one each for Torpedo. Highlights below:

In other games today Dynamo Minsk at home beat Yugra 3:1 and Avtomobilist lost at home to Metallurg Novokuznetsk 3:2. Highlights to follow.

The first

I am going to write some random thoughts here as well as some hockey reports that won’t appear elsewhere.