Artem Anisimov answered questions about the upcoming World Junior Championships, playing with Jaromir Jagr (during pre-season), and his adjustment to North America in this interview posted on the Russian Hockey Federation web site.
- Our first match is tomorrow, against the Finns. What can you say about the opposition?
- I know that Team Finland is always prepared very well technically. However, in the world championship we beat them 5:0. So we will try to repeat that result! (smiles)
The forward, who joined the national team directly in the Czech Republic, has participated in only two practices with the team. Anisimov’s mood is excellent, he jokes and smiles often. He arrived in Czech Republic in excellent condition: in practice he shoots often, and constantly consults with the coaches. And directly prior to coming to Europe, he scored his latest goal for Hartford. Now on Anisimov’s record in the AHL are 17 points in 31 games.
- “The potential of Russian teams is always high. Only gold!” he says, this time in perfect seriousness. “That’s all we aspire to. I have noticed that there are many young guys on this team. But if they made it here, they are worthy. So we’ll play.”
- How are you regarded in the club in Hartford?
- Normally. There is no special treatment towards anybody. You get there and they will give you a chance to make your way up. I haven’t yet made my way up – I still need to train. So I’m not ready. But with the guys I communicate normally.
- Have you already confronted the absence of saunas, for example?
- Organizational matters there are slightly worse, but pretty much the same. There is no sauna. But there are in the Russian area where I go regularly. In addition it is possible to buy food in the Russian shop.
- And why were you not released [earlier] to the national team?
- I don’t know. They told me that it is necessary for me to be there. The coach warned me that before I could go on to the World Championship, I needed to play two matches. On the 22nd I played the last, and the 23rd I was already on location with the national team.
- In Russia rumors that you could return to Yaroslavl Lokomotiv circulate persistently. Is it the truth?
- I have such a clause in my contract — that on January 15th I can return to Yaroslavl. But I have not thought about it yet.
- What was it like to play with Jaromir Jagr?
- Awesome! Just awesome! There are no words. He can play with anyone, he sees the ice very well, and gives very exact passes. It was a pleasure to play with him.
- On the other hand, in the NHL they say that he is very capricious.
- I didn’t notice him to be such. (laughs)
- Your performance in the Super Series against Canada has very much lifted your personal stock. Have you thought about it?
- No, I had no such thoughts. Where there scouts?! The team is a team. It is necessary to win, that’s all.
- You’ve stayed three months in North American hockey already.
- You know, North American hockey is completely different hockey than in Russia. But a Russian is a Russian. Personally I’ve been there three months already and I until now I can not understand their hockey. But life, I can understand.
- Do you like it?
- I like it. I live in Hartford right next to the arena.
- Is it quite a small city?
- How to explain it… Not too small. It has everything. Though if you compare it to New York — New York is the center of the world, you could say. But in general it doesn’t matter to me where I live. It is important where I play.
- And you, not being a native of the capital, are you comfortable in large cities?
- I don’t know. Here in Moscow I am not comfortable. But in New York I never even had the time to get settled.
- And driving? Did you figure it out quickly?
- The driving, yes. I have a navigation system! (laughs)
- What are your impressions of North America? As a whole?
- There are no words. To what I aspired, I still have not yet reached. Everything there amazes me. But I still have a lot of work to do. First of all, to understand North Anerican hockey.
- Your teammate on the national team Victor Tikhonov says they think less on the ice. That it’s more a struggle of power. That strength is necessary, but the mind, in general, is not.
- The surface is smaller. That means you’re hit more. They shoot from all areas. Sharp angle shots, crashing the net. There are few fine passes. If on a 2-on-1, 3-on-2 attach, you can still play. But if the attack is 2-on-2, 3-on-3, shoot it at the net and crash the net. That’s the only way.
- But that style of hockey wins now. The Canadians are World Champions. Do you like it?
- It is simple. There is little time to think about it. Defensemen play very well, they’re difficult to beat.
- You’re currently showing tremendous productivity…
- (Interrupts) Tremendous?!
- For a rookie? Certainly. You’re the fourth in scoring on the team…
- Yes, but more is necessary.
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