Two weeks ago, Sovietsky Sport caught up with ex-Coyote and current Ranger Enver Lisin as he prepared to face his former club for the first time. In his interview, which was originally published on October 28th, reporter Gennady Boguslavsky queried Moscow native on a variety of subjects, ranging from his old team to New York Rangers head coach John Tortorella to the upcoming Olympics and summertime rumors that he was KHL-bound. With apologies for not having the time to post it sooner, a translation of their conversation is provided below.
- To what do the Rangers owe the fact that they’re in third place in the league?
- Quite simply, I think we have a strong team and a first-class coach. The group is made up of guys who play to their max, with whom it’s a pleasure to work. We try to squeeze everything from every moment.
- And what was missing in Phoenix?
- I don’t like to compare. I’ve already left the Coyotes and forgotten how it was.
- The Arizona team is having major financial difficulties. Did it interfere with the game?
- Not at all. We knew that our contracts were guaranteed by the league. No one was left without money. Finances were the headache of management, the players had their own problem. The Pacific division is very difficult.
As you can see, Phoenix’s problems have remained. But the team is playing well — it won in Boston (4-1), Detroit (3-2). So everything’s not as bad as it seems.
- Now you’re at the center of attention…
- They like hockey more in the cities in the Eastern Conference. And it’s not even worth talking about the famous arena, Madison Square Garden, in which the Rangers play. It’s constantly sold out here. You need to fly less in the east, that’s a plus too. And, well, New York is New York.
- Doesn’t it scare you that it’s difficult for Russians to grow roots with the Rangers? It didn’t work out in the careers of Kovalev, Zherdev…
- If you’re scared of such a thing, you should quit playing hockey. Each player has his own history. I hope everything works out for me in New York.
- Talk about coach John Tortorella.
- He’s demanding, strict. But if he gets mad, its for a reason. It’s good that Tortorella is unbiased.
- Who are you friends with on the Rangers?
- We’ve formed a good team, there’s a lot of youth. Nobody is broken up into cliques. We all hang out, we go out together for dinner. But of course, I’m better friends with Artem Anisimov. We rent a house and live together on road trips.
- You weren’t invited to the Olympic camp at Khodinka [Arena in Moscow]. But do you think that you have a chance to go to Vancouver?
- Every player has a chance. Even if it’s small… The coach will decide who to take to the Olympics. My job is to score a lot of points and play excellent hockey so that they pay attention to me.
- There were rumors in the summer that you might leave for the the KHL.
- I don’t know where that started. I was on vacation in Abkhazia and read on the Internet that Atlant had offered me a contract. But I didn’t conduct negotiations with anyone from the KHL, and I knew that I would stay in America [and] sign a contract for another year.
- Why do you wear the number 81?
- Because I used to wear 18, but on the Rangers it belongs to Mark Staal.
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