With the 2009 World Junior Championship held half a world away, there wasn’t a whole lot of coverage of the tournament on the major Russian sports sites I make a habit of visiting. That’s my excuse for not finding this interview with Ranger prospect Evgeny Grachev until this weekend. Originally done for 7TV, the interview was transcribed and published on Sports Planet on January 7th.
Grachev finished his first World Junior Championship with two goals and three assists for five points in seven games, tying him for seventh on Team Russia. He returned to his Canadian Hockey League team in Brampton following the tournament, and has picked up where he left off, adding two goals and three assists in three games back, including the overtime game-winner against Barrie on Sunday. His 21 goals lead all rookies in the Ontario Hockey League, while his 40 points tie him for tops in the league amongst first-year players.
- Lets recap the championship. It was the first in your career. What are your impressions?
- So many impressions! The strongest is of the semifinal. You don’t play that kind of hockey every day!
- What is it like to play in front of twenty thousand fans? Does it demoralize you, or on the contrary, make you sportingly angry?
- To play before twenty thousand is pleasing to anyone. It’s an unforgettable atmosphere! You simply go out and enjoy it.
- You didn’t have great luck at the beginning of the tournament. What happened?
- What happened? If I only knew! Everyone has times when the puck doesn’t go in the net. Even in an empty one. The main thing is to continue to play your game and not exhaust yourself with these thoughts — and the puck will begin to fly into the net.
- How would you comment on Nikita Filatov’s game? After all, in this championship you spent the lion’s share of time on the ice with him.
- He collected the most points on the whole team and scored eight goals, what else is there to say?
- After the games in the play-offs fans in Russia have recognized you the revelation of our team. What do you have to say about that?
- I didn’t know about that. Very nice! I very much love games in which everything is decided, where you need to fight every moment, where passions are at the limit. But I know that I didn’t play like that in group play.
- The Canadian press merely reiterated that about Tavares. And what can you say about him? You saw him at work.
- Tavares is really good, I can say that! He has a goal-scorers sense by nature. He knows where he should be and when.
- Would you agree that your game with the Canadians became the early tournament final?
- Such games remain in your memory for your whole life. Pitifully not for the outcome, but the content. I think that, without a doubt, it was the best game of the championship. To be honest, the Swedes disappointed in the final.
- Rene Fazel recently came out with the suggestion to hold all World Junior Championships in Canada. What do you think of this idea?
- You know, they love hockey here like nowhere else, and the juniors here in general are part of the life of almost every Canadian!
- Put together your representative team from the completed championship.
- Tavares-Hodgson-Filatov, Goncharov-Subban, and the goaltender from Slovakia.
For more on Grachev’s post-tournament thoughts — in English — check out this short article by Brian McNair at Durhamregion.com.
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