On Monday Yaroslavl sports web site YarSport.ru published an extended interview with native son Artem Anisimov. Their conversation with the New York Rangers prospect covered a wide array of topics, from his first two seasons with the Hartford Wolf Pack to what he does in his free time to his plans for the off season. Due to its length, the translation of YarSport’s interview is split into two parts. The first half of the interview is available here. The second half is translated below.
Anisimov: “I dream of making the Rangers”
“CAUCASIAN CAPTIVE” IN ENGLISH
- What do you do in your free time? And is there more of it in comparison to when you played for Lokomotiv?
- I have a lot of free time — more than enough! (smiles) I don’t know how it is now in Lokomotiv, but for us there was only too little time under [former head coach Vladimir] Yurzinov. Under [former head coach Nikolai] Borschevsky and [former head coach Paul] Gardner there was enough.
But free time in Hartford… there’s nowhere to go for a walk there. Downtown is only four blocks. Sometimes I go to stores or to New York. There are things to see there. In my first year I often went to look at the sights.
And so in my free time I like to surf the Internet — to communicate with friends — [and] read books. Now, for example, I’ll read “The Secret” by Rhonda Byrne. It puts me in a positive mood really well.
- You read in English?
- No way — in Russian. I can only read magazines in English, and that’s rather difficult — I don’t know some words.
- You said that you go to New York. How?
- I bought myself a BMW X5, I drive it.
- Do you love speed?
- There is nowhere to exceed [the speed limit]: on the highways there’s a continuous stream [of traffic] and so you move at the speed of the stream. And then they monitor the observance of traffic laws very seriously, and punish people very strictly for violating them. Why should I break them? I’m a young driver, and in life I like calm. So I’ve gone two years without accidents and tickets.
- And have your musical tastes changed after two years in America?
- No, I can listen to practically every kind of music, from pop to hip-hop, to jazz, to guitar music. I used to listen to classical music. And it’s not important what language the vocal is in. The main thing is the mood…
- And what kind of films do you prefer to watch?
- For the most part Russian comedies — I bought them in Brighton Beach: “The Diamond Arm“, “Heart of a Dog” and other Russian classics… “Caucasian Captive”. Incidentally, I watched the English translations — I didn’t like them, even though I remember the Russian dialog by heart. I wasn’t impressed…
- And that’s all for entertainment?
- Well, I like to play games. We had this thing on the team: we bought X-Boxes and played “Call of Duty” against one another online. In general we play a lot of computer games. Which ones? Again, it depends on the mood: bad [mood] — shooting games, good [mood] — football or hockey.
Sometimes we go to bars to hang out, or if it’s a sports bar, to watch some broadcast or other. I watch a lot of hockey. I have the sports package and if on a given day there are 10 games, they show a minimum of 8. I don’t watch as a fan, but I “spy” on other players. I arm myself with what I see, and adapt it for myself.
- What kind of regimen do you have there? A strict one?
- I wouldn’t say [that]. Yes, we don’t let ourselves do things in excess. But the only thing the coach may say is: tomorrow there’s a game or practice, don’t go to bed late.
I WOULD HAVE ALLOWED SIMEON ONE GAME TO REST
- Did you meet with your friend [Alexander] Vasyunov, who now plays in the AHL for the Lowell Devils?
- How could we meet? He lives one and a half hours away by car. But after games we called one another without fail… I corresponded with [Evgeny] Grachev. I communicated with Simeon Varlamov quite often.
- How would you evaluate Simeon’s game? Was he lucky or did he earn it?
- Simeon is a good goaltender, he always proves that he deserved to be number one. But that’s how things turned out. It didn’t work out for him in the seventh game with Pittsburgh… He got tired or nervous, but it was the second seven game series. And when we on the Rangers played against him, we didn’t shoot on him so much. But against Pittsburgh Simeon made up to 40 saves… such is the defense there… If I was the coach, I would have given Simeon one game to rest.
- And with whom from the players do you still communicate?
- I had a teammate on the team, Belorussian Vladimir Denisov, who, by the way, played in the last World Championship. And so I often hung out with him; he learned English before me and often helped me.
THE SAME DREAM
- Is your dream still the same — to make the Rangers? Or would you be satisfied to remain in Hartford?
- Nooo… Why would I be satisfied there!? Every hockey player has a dream — to play in the NHL — and he will try to make it reality no matter what happens.
- How do you estimate your prospects to make the Rangers?
- It’s difficult to say. The head coach told me, he said, ‘well done, I liked your game, I hope that you’ll spend your summer well and prove yourself in training camp.’ So I need to prepare well for the season. I need to be in very good physical shape and to prove myself in training camp.
- Is it not important how you proved yourself in the previous season?
- Yes, but no matter how good you were in the last season, if you arrive at training camp out of shape and with excess weight, nobody will take you on the roster for your former accomplishments.
- This system of preparation for the season is also different between us and overseas — you must bring yourself into the season in optimum shape?
- In general, yes. At the end of the season I talked to the Rangers strength and conditioning coach, he gave me a workbook by which I’ll get ready for next season. From June 1st I’ll start working in the gym. I need to gain three to four kilograms of muscle mass. And I’ll probably get on the ice at the end of July with Lokomotiv’s second team. Or I’ll rent ice time, it seems that there are now no problems doing so in Yaroslavl. And in addition Yurzinov’s training camp begins on the 29th of June.
- And how well do you think you managed to prove yourself in the games [you played] for the Rangers?
- In the game with Atlanta in the regular season I managed only one shot. I could have scored, I only needed to shoot the puck a little higher. And in the second game, with Washington, I played strictly defense. I had a clear objective — not to be scored against. And we spent the majority of the time on the attack, we kept our opponent on the boards.
- And what is your impression of the famous arena, Madison Square Garden?
You know, it wasn’t the first time I played in that arena — I had played in exhibition games. But during the season it’s totally different! Everything there is saturated with crazy energy. To play there is fantastic!
I LOVE TRANQUILITY
- How do you plan to relax [this summer]?
- The first week I visited relatives. Then I searched for an apartment to rent, and equipped it. Now I’ll move there to live with my girlfriend Ksenia. After her term ends (she studies in the first year in the Department of Philology) and I return from Yurzinov’s [camp] we’ll go somewhere on the sea. Where isn’t important, the main thing is the sea, the sun and tranquility. I love tranquility.
- And you’re not going to take Ksenia to America?
- We thought about it. But, first of all, it’s complicated [for her] to study there. The English test alone is something else. But the main thing is that it’s unknown where I’ll play, in New York or Hartford, [and] its necessary to choose an educational institution based on that. When there is certainty, we’ll come back to this conversation.
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