There were no pronouncements of “you made the team” or suggestions to start hunting for an apartment, but after two successful years with the Hartford Wolf Pack in the AHL and an NHL preseason in which he led the team in scoring, 21-year old Artem Anisimov earned the right to start the season with the New York Rangers in Pittsburgh last Friday night. Before he made his 2009-2010 Rangers debut against the reigning Stanley Cup champions, Anisimov spoke to hometown sports site Yaroslavl Sport about the upcoming season, his “masterpiece” goal against Boston, and scoring on his friend, Washington Capitals goaltender Semyon Varlamov.
- Artem, may I congratulate you: Your fate has been decided — you’re on the Rangers’ roster!
- Thanks, of course. But, I wouldn’t put it so categorically. How has it been decided? It can change any minute. For now I’m on the team, and I’ll most likely play in the first road game against Pittsburgh. But then — we’ll see what happens.
- Recount in detail how you managed to create that masterpiece in the exhibition game against Boston. Was it a move you worked on or an improvisation? Did that goal give you confidence? Or has it become routine for you?
- What is there to say! And is it really possible to call it a masterpiece? I simply beat the defenseman and acted according to the situation. Even though it’s a move I worked on in practice, in games it doesn’t always work. In the game with Boston, it worked. I’m just glad for that goal, glad that I scored, and that my team won!
- It seems, that you were happier when you upset Varlamov in the exhibition game with Washington. Didn’t Semyon resent the goal you scored? If you had not opened the scoring for your team in the third period, it’s possible his shutout would have stood up. Do you know a weak spot of Semyon’s — your former teammate on Lokomotiv — that helped you score this goal? By the way, was it possible to talk to him after the game?
- I didn’t talk to him after the game, but I was very glad that I scored on him in the NHL — even though it wasn’t the regular season, it was still nice. As for his weak spots, I’ve already forgotten how he played, and where his weak spots are.
- Four goals in four games — even if they’re practice games — is that regular work for you?
- I set out in every game to score or at least set-up a goal, or to do everything so that a goal is scored. In general, I do everything so that my team wins!
- Ok… but goal-scoring streaks — what’s your record? Do you generally track such statistics?
- Honestly, I don’t remember! But, I think in Hartford I scored goals in five games in a row.
- Let’s get back to the start of the regular season. With what sense are you preparing for the first game of the season? Did the coach say anything to you about the results of camp before including you in the line-up?
- No, the coach didn’t say anything, he simply put me on the line-up in the exhibition games, and now in the first game of the regular season. So I’m preparing as usual — as I do for every game.
- Well, on what line will you play — has that been decided?
- For now I’m playing on the third line with [Enver] Lisin and the Czech [Ales] Kotalik.
- But preseason is one thing, the regular season is another… is there really no difference? Aren’t you nervous? Or are you so confident in your strengths, so perfectly prepared, that you have no doubts?
- A game is a game. It’s the same game whether it’s in the regular season, in the Stanley Cup finals, or in exhibition games — everyone gives their all: someone’s better, someone’s worse. My debut game for the Rangers was last season, so no, I’m not nervous. Though, to be honest… the nervousness is always there, you can’t get rid of it.
- But your full-fledged debut — in the sense that you’re beginning the season with the Rangers, instead of being called up by them — is nevertheless tomorrow. It seems to me the second case is easier — if it doesn’t work out, you’ll keep trying. But its another thing completely to start on the team, knowing that in the event of failure you’ll be banished [to the farm team].
- I don’t really know… Honestly speaking, I haven’t thought about it. But it seems to me, that when you begin the season with the first games, you’re part of the team as a whole. So I think that that’s easier. But to be honest, I haven’t thought about the upcoming game yet.
- Yours is the youngest forward line. What objective does the coach generally set for you in a game?
- The goal, as for the whole team, is to win the game!
- What can you tell us about Pittsburgh? Have you already discussed the plan for the next game?
- It’s enough to say that it’s the team that won the Stanley Cup last year!
- And what do you need to do to beat them?
- Such questions should be given to the coach. My job is to play, carry out his game plan, to show everything that I can in every game!
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