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Author: MIkhail Zislis (Ves Hokkei Newspaper)
Translated By: Eugene Belashchenko
Date: 09/27/2005
Ilya Zubov (Ottawa Senators): There is nothing to do in the Super League without the High League experience

2006 Russian Super League

Ilya Zubov practicing with Traktor (Chelyabinsk) during the 2004-05 season (Photo Courtesy of HC Traktor)
Written By: Mikhail Zislis (Ves Hokkei/Football)
Translated By: Eugene Belashchenko (RussianProspects.com)

Ilya Zubov, without a doubt, is the brightest 87 born forward. It's not surprising that with Spartak, a club he joined this summer after leaving Traktor, the coaching staff put him on the third line right away with experienced Mikhail Ivanov. Zubov looks solid for a player his age, but he is yet to fulfill the hefty expectations placed on his shoulders prior to this season.

What are you missing so far that prevents you from earning points? You seem to have some good chances in everygame...
I. Zubov:
I am probably missing a bit of confidence and fortune. Maybe when I score a goal or two things will improve. I have already adjusted to the speed, pressure and the physical play during the preseason and the beginning of the regular season. Now, the main thing left is to start scoring. I hope that's not too far away.

What goal did you put before yourself prior to the start of this season?
I. Zubov: I am not aiming for any high honors just yet. It's a bit early. I just arrived here from the High Leageu, and that is why my main goal right now is to simply play as often as possible, and to gradually gain experience. Of course, I also strive to be the best in whatever I do.

During the offseason several established clubs competed for your services. Do you have any regrets regarding choosing Spartak?
I. Zubov: No, quite the opposite, I am actually happy that I actually specifically chose Spartak. Here I am in a great situation from all perspectives, including both playing and financial. The group of guys is also great. In my current situation the most important thing is to play as much as possible, and I am not experiencing any issues with this here. The head coach trusts me. I will do my best to fulfill his expectations. Overall, I like it here.

Has the experience you gained over the past two years in the High League prove useful to you?
I. Zubov: I believe that in order to smoothly adjust to the Super League, a player has to go through the High League. Such experience helps a player adjust to professional hockey. In order to prove everything one is capable of, he must follow a gradual path forward. You can't achieve everything at once. Instead, you need to go forward step by step.

Last year, did you get a lot of ice time?
I. Zubov: Yes, Traktor was under coach Anatoly Grigorevich Timofeev, who used me quite often. I enjoyed plenty of ice time. Still, right now in Spartak I am not complaining about his absence.

Does anyone work with you personally, giving you advice?
I. Zubov: The same Timofeev is not working as a coach in Ufa. We remain on good terms, so he often calls me and lends me his advice. My father is also a former hockey player. Of course, he doesn't stay on the sidelines and constantly helps me. With Spartak we have three good coaches, who always lend advice in the right moment. In this regard everything is fine with me.

In your opinion, which of the young players is capable of proving himself this season?
I. Zubov: There is a number of capable young players in the Super League. I believe that they all can prove themselves, showing their best qualities. For sure, several players will be competing for the title of Rookie of the Year. I think Zubarev, Istomin and Buravchikov all have good chances. These are my life friends, with whom I played together quite a bit on the national team. Of course each one of us wants to get ahead of the other. The friendly competition will definitely be there between us.

- Mikhail Zislis (Ves Hokkei/Football)

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