Prior to Avangard Omsk’s latest loss (and before they fired their head coach) Yuri Ludanov of Sports Daily spoke with Ranger prospect Alexei Cherepanov about his season-opening injury and Avangard’s second consecutive slow start. Ludanov’s interview with the young winger is translated below.
Avangard Forward Alexei Cherepanov: It Was My Own Fault
For one of the most gifted young hockey players in the country, 19-year old Alexei Cherepanov, the second season running has started with an injury. Last year the Avangard forward received a serious concussion during the Super Series between the junior teams of Russia and Canada. This year he has pulled a muscle in his groin in the opening game against AK Bars.
- Alexei, is it your opinion that you have again suffered [an injury] because of the juniors? They say that you were over-worked there…
- Yes, on the national team I am under a serious work load — I played from the start on two lines. However, that had no direct bearing on the injury. It was more my fault — I needed to stretch better. In Kazan it turned out that during one period of the match I sat on the bench for a long time. And when I left, I at once felt pain. A nerve was pinched.
- In view of the events of the last two years, might it be worth turning down such trips?
- And how would I do that? For me, the official call comes to the club, so to decline isn’t possible. In general, it seems to me that these two injuries are simply an unpleasant coincidence. Although I admit, to prepare for the season with my own team would be somewhat convenient.
- It was initially assumed that you would miss one away game, against Neftekhimisk, but in addition you didn’t play against Lada. Did the injury turn out to be more serious than assumed?
- Not in this case. Basically, I was ready to play against Lada. But on the advice of doctors and coaches it was decided to wait a little longer. In recent days I’ve trained easily and now I feel I’m at full strength.
- Avangard’s start hasn’t been very successful. Have parallels with the previous failed season begun to exist in your mind?
- Of course bad thoughts have come up, but I’ve tried to push them far away.
- They say that problems with the team have arisen because of the greater work load in the pre-season.
- I don’t think that that is the main reason. The issue is something else — we did not take advantage of our chances. Our ability to score leaves much to be desired. And on the penalty kill we give up too much. Now we are slowly improving these areas and life is getting better (smiles). At equal strength we concede nothing, and frequently outplay our opponents.
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