With seven games remaining in his second NHL season, New York Rangers center Artem Anisimov has already eclipsed the numbers he put up in every major statistical category during his rookie year. And his current 18-24-42 stat line is on par with those achieved by current linemates Brandon Dubinsky (13-28-41) and Ryan Callahan (22-18-40) in their respective sophomore seasons, fueling hope that his career will take a similar trajectory as his two teammates’, who currently lead the team in scoring.
As Anisimov told Sovietsky Sport correspondent Alyssa Volbidakht following last week’s match-up with the Ottawa Senators, he isn’t satisfied with his sophomore production, and recognizes that there’s room for improvement. In the interview, translated below, the the 22-year old Yaroslavl native also discussed the Rangers playoff aspirations, their Madison Square Garden neighbors the New York Knicks, and why he chose to wear the number 42.
- It would seem that the Rangers really don’t want to be the last playoff seed.
- That’s the truth. We need to win each game. The more points we collect, the further the separation from those pursuing us.
- As your goaltender Henrik Lundqvist likes to say, “Every day I remind myself that last season we missed the playoffs by only one point.”
- Exactly! Now we could even overtake Montreal. We’re looking at those in front of us, instead of behind.
- Are you happy with your successes this season?
- But you have good statistics!
- Could have been even better. There are very good examples in the league. Steven Stamkos, the Sedin brothers, Pasha Datsyuk, Ilya Kovalchuk, Sasha Ovechkin, Zhenya Malkin… I need to improve myself, to raise the level of my play.
- It’s possible that you’ll meet some of those guys at the world championship. Will you be going to the national team?
- It depends on the situation in the NHL. For us the most important thing now is the playoffs. The further we go, the better. But if there’s a misfire and the Rangers are knocked out, I’ll gladly play for my native team Russia.
- Do you go to New York Knicks basketball games? After all, you play in the same arena…
- I’ve never been. There’s not enough time. But I’d really like to get out [to one].
- So you didn’t get acquainted with Timofey Mozgov.
- Well… We saw each other in the training center where the Knicks and Rangers train together. We met during lunch in the cafeteria, said hello…
- After the Knicks traded Mozgov for Karmelo Anthony, they lost seven of eight games!
- That’s how it goes. Sorry, I really don’t follow the NBA intently.
- Why did you choose the number 42?
- When I played in Hartford, I wanted to take the number 12. But the sweater with that number was already hanging from the rafters of the local arena…
- Actually, 12 is the only number removed from circulation there. In honor of the former forward and captain Ken Gernander, who now coaches your farm club. He’s the AHL record-holder for goals in the playoffs – 123.
- And then I wanted to take the number 24, because that’s my birthday. But my conscience wouldn’t allow it — my friend [Devil's prospect Alexander Vasyunov], with whom I played together for 7-8 years, wore that number. What to do? So took it and inverted it. And got 42.
- I have to ask you: have you ever read the Douglas Adams book “The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy?”
- No. What’s that?
- In it the number 42 is answer to the meaning of life and everything else.
- Really? – Anisimov is extremely surprised. – I didn’t know. I’ll have to read it.
- In English it’s called “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.”
- Thanks, I’d rather read it in Russian. It’ll be easier.
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