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Author: Maria Medina Mas
Translated By: Yevgeniy Belashchenko
Date: 01/30/2003
Viktor Bobrov: " Of course hockey is life!"


First of all, could you tell us a bit about yourself: where were you born and how did you start to play hockey?

V. Bobrov: I was born in Novocheboksar. My father brought me to the rink when I was six years old, and I started to study at the local hockey school.

Were you always a forward?

V. Bobrov: Yes, I always played forward.

Do you like anybody who plays this position in the NHL or the Super League?

V. Bobrov: Of course, Sergei Fedorov is my hero!

Who influenced your professional career the most?

V. Bobrov: First of all, it was my parents and my first coach, V.R. Sorokin. Then, when I arrived in Nizhni Novgorod to play for Torpedo, there Valeri Vasilyevich Skovpen helped me a lot.

How would you describe your game to the readers who know little about you?

V. Bobrov: It is tough for me to judge, those around me would, probably be better at describing it.

On what aspects of your game do you feel you still need to work on?

V. Bobrov: I need to work on everything, but especially on skating and passing.

For you, is hockey more of a job or life?

V. Bobrov: It’s a hobby (laughing). Of course hockey is life!

What do you do outside of hockey? Do you study?

V. Bobrov: All my time is taken by hockey, practices, and the constant road trips to other cities. All this does not really allow me to stay long in one place. I am currently in the second year at the Nizhnekamsk Sports Institute.

Did you ever play for the national team?

V. Bobrov: No, but I really would like to. I hope that this year I will be able to showcase myself better.

CSKA MOSCOW

How did you get to play for CKSA and how is your relationship with Viktor Tikhonov?

V. Bobrov: The thing is, I did not have a chance to play for the first team, and only played last season for the farm club. That is why, I can’t really say anything about Viktor Tikhonov as a person. It’s difficult, since I haven’t really interacted with him at all, but he is really a good coach, but too strict.

What do you think about the reunification of CSKA?

V. Bobrov: I think it’s the normal turn of things – that is how it should have happened.

What do you think of CSKA’s season thus far this year and in your opinion, what are the tream’s chances?

V. Bobrov: It’s tough to guess, but I think that the team won’t make the playoffs. However, in my opinion CSKA is guarantied at least the 11th place.

The army club currently has a lot of young players. How are the practices and how young players treated there?

V. Bobrov: Again, it is difficult for me to judge, as I did not get a chance to play for the main squad. There really are a lot of young players there, and I think that is a good thing – the road needs to be opened for the young. The practices are like everywhere else. The guys are treated well, but very strictly. The coaches are very strict and demand discipline.

Do you currently have a contract with CSKA?

V. Bobrov: Yes, I signed it a couple of years ago, and it is valid until 2005.

ELEMASH ELEKTROSTAL

How did you end up in Elemash?

V. Bobrov: In the preseason, Ravil Iskanderovich invited me and two other guys from CSKA. We agreed and were loaned out by CSKA.

There is a general consensus that you (Bobrov, Frolov, Khomutov) are here as “compensation” for Zherdev and Shkotov. How true is this?

V. Bobrov: You can say that is how it is, though no one told us straight up about it.

How do you like playing for Elemash?

V. Bobrov: I really enjoy it, great team, great coaches. The climate is very light and pleasant in the squad.

If everything is so great in this team, why are they losing so often?

V. Bobrov: We simply haven’t had the luck, but we will continue trying.

What impressions do you have of Ravil Iskhakov?

V. Bobrov: Good person and coach. He helps us a lot in gaining experience and know how.

Can you single some one out from the team? With whom have you developed a friendship? Who do you regard highly as a player?

V. Bobrov: I hang out with everyone on the squad. As players, I can single out Krikunov, Tunik and Chistyakov

Who do you usually play with on the same line in Elemash?

V. Bobrov: We don’t have fixed lines here. I play with whom I am told to. Though, in this team it isn’t much of a problem to get used to new line mates.

Describe your level of hockey this year, as compared to last.

V. Bobrov: I started to play better, my current level is sufficient for the Upper League, and last year I could only play for the farm teams.

Is there a big difference compared with CSKA?

V. Bobrov: Depends in what way. Of course the quality of hockey is different, a different team. The practices here are more intense – we get tired more.

Have you started to get used to the new team?

V. Bobrov: There really isn’t much to get used to. I was quickly accepted and found a common language with everyone. It is unfortunate that at first I didn’t get to play much, but now things are different. I already got used to it.

What do you do in Elektrostal besides practices and games?

V. Bobrov: In my free time I hang out with the guys around the town. For the most part, I rest, watch TV.

How do you regard the return back of so many players to Russia from the NHL? Do you think this is helping Russian hockey?

V. Bobrov: Of course, I think it helps raise the level of play. It is unfortunate that so many players are still leaving Russia.

What goals did you put before yourself at the beginning of this season? Did you achieve any of them in the first half of the season?

V. Bobrov: The goals were, as always: to improve the level of play, to get ice time, improve skating. I think it is a bit early to talk about anything.

THE FUTURE:

Last year you were drafted by the Calgary Flames 146th overall. That is not a bad result for a plyaer who doesn’t play for the national team and wasn’t ranked by the Central Scouting Bureau. Did you know that you were going to be drafted?

V. Bobrov: Really, it was quite a surprise. My agent told me that the chance that I would get drafted was very small and that is why I wasn’t hoping for anything. I was with the team on a road trip when someone came up to me and told me that I was drafted 146th. I did not expect that.

Were you offered any kind of terms by the Flames, including possibly a contract?

V. Bobrov: No, they didn’t offer me a contract.

What are your plans for next year?

V. Bobrov: It’s hard to say. I hope that I will continue playing and would like to do it in the Super League, though the Upper League is already an achievement. Everyone needs to play at every level.

- Maria Medina Mas (http://www.russianprospects.com)


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