Following the shootout defeat that ended the New York Rangers season in Philadelphia a week ago, Rangers rookie forward Artem Anisimov spoke to Sport-Express correspondent Alexander Chekhov about his first season in the NHL, playing for head coach John Tortorella, and the possibility of playing at the World Championship in Germany next month. Their conversation is translated below.
- It’s obvious after a defeat like this, that from a team point of view, the season wasn’t a success. But for you personally?
- I was able to secure a place on the main team. I started on the fourth line, gave everything I had on each shift, tried to prove myself. At first they gave me five or six minutes playing time. But it seems I earned the coach’s trust — they started letting me out on the penalty kill regularly, though lately I haven’t played on the power play.
- Are you happy with your 28 points?
- Of course you always want more, but it was my first season, so it’s not terrible. Everything was new, everything was much faster, the goalkeepers are different, much stronger than in the AHL, where I played last season. By the way, there are a lot of young, talented guys in Hartford now and they are constantly breathing down your back.
- In a recent survey NHL players put your coach, John Tortorella, first on a list of coaches under whose leadership they wouldn’t want to play. Why do you think that is?
- I have no idea. Everyone has their own opinion. I personally like playing under his leadership.
- Andrei Nazarov, Team Russia’s coach in charge of the NHL, who recently returned from a trip to North America, said in an interview with Sport Express that you’re prepared to go to the World Championship.
- Yes, if they invite me, I’ll go to Germany with pleasure.
- Do you think it’s your ability to play on the penalty kill that caught [head coach] Vyacheslav Bykov’s fancy?
- Really, any hockey player can play on both the power play and penalty kill. It’s a matter of having the coach’s trust.
- Has it been possible to follow the KHL playoffs?
- Yes, [I've followed] my hometown club Lokomotiv.
- And what do you think of the changes in the club?
- Since Vorobiev’s arrival to the club many young guys have made an appearance. For example, goaltender Lazushkin, a guy my age, with whom I’ve played a lot.
- What were your impressions of the Olympics?
- Not very good. I expected that Team Russia would win, and in my opinion, they had all the prerequisites. I watched the game with the Canadians, and… you know, I’d better not comment.
- Didn’t you dream of playing in Vancouver yourself?
- What is there to dream of, if not such great tournaments?
- Now, most likely, you’ll set course for Cologne and Sochi?
- Cologne and Sochi are still a long way off. I try to live for today and for the next game.
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