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Author: Yana Romanova (Lokomotiv 2 Press)
Translated By: Sergei Chveitser
Date: 02/04/2006
Alexander Vasyunov: In My Youth, I Mowed Down My Dad in Net (2006 NHL Entry Draft Prospect)


Alexander Vasyunov with HC Lokomotiv during the 2005-06 season (Photo Source: Yana Shrauss)
Being an undisputed leader of Lokomotiv-88, Alexander Vasyunov was surprised when he was invited to practice with Lokomotiv's farm club last year. Despite that, he still managed to help out his old teammates, play for the junior national team and play well for the farm team. Playing for two teams at the same time had it's toll on his production however. During the 2004-2005 season, Alexander played 28 games for Lokomotiv-2 where he scored 10 goals, 2 assists for 12 points. This season, the forward missed 8 games due to injury, but he still already has 9 points to his name which makes him the team's top scorer.

I will not leave hockey on my own will.
When did you realize that hockey is your sport, your life and possibly your future career?
A. Vasyunov:I got into hockey in the same way as most of the guys who play here. One of the coaches came to our school. He gave us a basketball and offered to have an accuracy competition. I was one of the first to put the ball in the hoop so I ended up sitting down and watching the rest of the guys. After that, I got an invitation to come practice with the team, but forgot about it for a while. At the time I was involved with swimming and didn't want to chase any other dreams. To be honest, I wasn't even a fan of hockey and soccer back then and had no intentions of going somewhere. I decided not to tell my parents about it too, but they are in touch with the parents of the other guys and found out through them about my invitation to the hockey school. My father then insisted on me trying something new.

What was your impression after the first practice?
A. Vasyunov:Overall, it was positive. The first few days we had ground training and then it was time to work on ice. We rented skates right away and of course the first experience didn't go without a fall. At full speed I fell on the 5th dot (laughs) but from what I was told, I looked very confident as if I have been skating all my life. On the next day, I got my first own skates and these were my first steps in hockey.

Who didn't allow you to relax and supported you in hockey?
A. Vasyunov:My father and brother.

Did you have enough patience not to miss practices?
A. Vasyunov:It was actually interesting for me. I was very willing to get up for practices even at 5 in the morning although obviously I wanted to sleep longer. Dad drove me to the arena by 6 and then right after practice I went to school.


Was there a moment in your life when you could've given up on hockey?
A. Vasyunov:On my own will, no. There were problems however at school. As you know, you can't do two things at the same time with equally good results. I even had to miss a couple practices, but then I decided for myself and convinced my parents that sports is more important to me.

I always had ambitions to be the best on the ice.
During your time with the hockey school, you were the leading scorer on the ice, but were you a leader off it?
A. Vasyunov:I was never looking to be an example to follow everywhere. I only tried to be the best on the ice. Let everybody be stay the way they are and be themselves. Why try to be like somebody else?

You behave rather emotionally on the ice and can yell at someone, is that true?
A. Vasyunov:Of course I can. Well not exactly yell (smiles). Right now we have a very good line, and after a shift, we can discuss the play on the bench. If something is not going for us, we can try and change our strategy and think of something new.

A forward must have the ability to battle in front of the net and not shy away from physical play. Right now, did your fear of physical play go away or you never had it in the first place?
A. Vasyunov:What do you mean fear? There's nothing to be afraid of. I actually enjoy the physical play. "wimps don't play hockey", right?

Many hockey stars have a very good tradition where they work on themselves during the summer. Some shoot the puck around in the garage, others work on their strength...
A. Vasyunov:Yeah, when I was just starting out, all I could think about was hockey. Sometimes I'd grab the stick, go in the garage and shoot down all the doors. I'd also put my father in net and "execute" him with my shots (laughs). Now, I only run during the summer.

The star of computer sports
One of the latest international starts was your trip to the World Cup in the Czech Republic. Can you talk about what happened and why our team showed such a depressing result and finished 4th?
A. Vasyunov:At first, I didn't even know that this is the World Cup I'm going to. For me it was just a tournament that we had to win. Unfortunately, we weren't able to do that. We had a slow start in the first game was against the hosts, the Czechs where we played without confidence and the home team had strong support from the stands. The worst was that we lost on the shootout where we didn't score any goals. That really upset us as we saw ourselves as the better team. In the bronze medal game we also lost on the shootout to the Finns. We managed to only score one of the penalty shots out of the possible 5.

You finished 10th in scoring at the tournament with 3 goals and 4 points, how would you rate your own performance?
A. Vasyunov:In general I didn't play bad. At least better than the previous season.

There is a popular computer game called NHL Eastside Hockey Manager 2005 where your player becomes a star after a certain period of time.
A. Vasyunov:I've never heard of this game, but even virtual recognition is nice (smiles). In real life, a lot of work lies ahead for me to achieve this status. Many consider themselves to be stars today, and by our fans standards, it's easy to become a fan favourite, but I think that you are a star when you play head and shoulders above everyone else and score at least one goal in every game. Now that's a star!

Written By: Yana Romanova (Ves Hokkej/Lokomotiv 2 Press)
Translated By: Sergei Chveitser (RussianProspects.com)

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