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Author: Gennady Zyryanov (Sport Attack (Novosibirsk Newspaper))
Translated By: Sergei Chveitser
Date: 02/08/2006
Stanislav Chistov (Anaheim Mighty Ducks): I’m not done with NHL yet

2006 Russian Super League

Chistov fighting for the puck against the Detroit Red Wings (photo source: reuters)


Unlike the other guys from the capital of South Ural, the 22 year old Metallurg forward Stanislav Chistov began skating late (he was 8 years old) but this didn't prevent him from making a head-spinning jump into world hockey.

Coach Peregudov was the first to notice the skilled young man and invited him to the Traktor Chelyabinsk youth hockey school which is famous around the world for it's graduates. When Chistov was 15, he got noticed by one of the Metallurg coaches, Kartaev who invited him to join his team of the Ural "steelmen". A year later, after an international tournament in North America, it's organizers offered Stas to stay abroad so the young Russian spent a year at a local youth hockey team in San Francisco. When he returned to motherland, Chistov joined the Traktor-83 youth team which failed to reach the final stage of the tournament between the best Russian teams of that age group.

I LIKE PLAYING MORE THAN PRACTICING

"The only invitation went to Avangard Omsk, who took me on their team," recalls Chistov. "the Avangard management offered me a 5 year contract. 3 years later, when I was 18, I got drafted to the NHL. In Omsk, I began with their farm team and then Golubovich brought me in to the main team. Golubovich got replaced by Tsygurov under whose leadership I played a year, but didn't get to play much with the main team. First season I got into 3 or 4 games, but the next year I was the "minimum youth limit player" and got to play a lot more. It's true what they say about Tsygurov as he is a tough coach. Discipline was the most important thing for him. I was still young and he put me on the right path. He's a good specialist and is now coaching Traktor.

When I was 19, I decided to go to America and try myself in Anaheim. There was no language barrier. I found people myself and talked with them. My debut seemed rather successful as I had both goals (12 in total) and assists. Our line with Steve Thomas wasn't bad and when the team acquired the Czech forward, he was placed on our line and we started to produce more. We went to the Stanley Cup finals with Anaheim where we came very close to beating the New Jersey Devils. The team had a few countrymen. Salei from Belarus and Vishnevski were on the team. When Sergei Fedorov got traded, there became 4 of us. It was like a whole Russian squad and it became easier to be with them.

The 2nd season was less successful. I played 60 games out of 80 and scored just 2 goals after which I got sent down to the farm team. I had a 2-way contract and had to play for both club teams. I wanted to return to Russia, but wasn't allowed to because of my contract obligations. At the farm team, I played 20 games and got called back up at the end of the season. My contract expired, and I wasn't offered a very good deal which I rejected and accepted Magnitogorsk's offer."
Was Metallurg's offer better?
S. Chistov: I wouldn't say that. I just wanted to go home as I left at an early age and didn't have a chance make a name for myself back home.

Are you thinking about returning to NHL?
S. Chistov: I'll play out this season and we'll see then. I want to play in NHL again because I liked it a lot there.

Compared to the Russian championship, the 82 game season isn't any less busy. It must be exhausting to play in the best of 7 playoff series? If things go well, a team can play over 100 games in a season.
S. Chistov: I don't know, I like playing more than practicing. I'd rather play every other day than play 1 day and then practice for 3. I like playing more. Fatigue? You recover, it goes away and the will to play and compete comes back to you. Nobody in the NHL forces you to work out. You go to the gym yourself and nobody forces you, but here, you are required to go. The coach tells you what to do even though he doesn't know your condition. Maybe you shouldn't be working out so much now... We have a Canadian coach in Metallurg and he understands this stuff. He's worked in the NHL for years and doesn't force, but rather expects professional approach from the players to their work.

GOOSEBUMPS

Do you speak English with King?
S. Chistov: Yeah, but the team has an interpreter so if anyone doesn't understand something, he will be explained. Our team has enough guys who've played overseas and who speak English though. We have 5 or 6 guys at least, so there've been no problems with this.

This season you've been called up to Russia's national team.
S. Chistov: Yes, I played at 2 Eurotours in Czech Republic and Finland. At "Ceská pojištovna" we played on the same line as in Metallurg. It was me, Platonov and Kaigorodov. In Finland, I played on a line with Gladskikh and Simakov. Which line was more comfortable for me? I didn't score any goals, but there were more offensive chances created when I played with Gladskikh and Simakov.

Which defensemen are you most comfortable with?
S. Chistov: Those who send the puck forward and don't handle it too much. Sometimes the defensemen hold it for too long and the chance for a quick attack gets squandered. The worst is when they leave a forward standing on the blue line and give him a useless pass while he's still standing. In those situations, it's better if they just enter the zone themselves, but mistakes happen everywhere.

Which team has been Metallurg's most difficult opponent this season?
S. Chistov: Probably Tver. Our last 2 games with them have been very difficult and we barely beat them. On the road we won 3:1, and the 3rd goal was an empty netter when they pulled the goalie. At home, we barely won 2:1. They are a rough team and try to get under skin to make you take a penalty. They clutch, grab and play dirty so that you retaliate and get penalized. Main thing is that we won these two games, but everyone plays hard in this game. I don't think there are any easy games.

How are things outside the rink?
S. Chistov: I don't have my own family and I'm only busy with hockey. Parents live in Chelyabinsk, but Magnitogorsk is not far so it's easy to get there by car. I get to see them often and they come to watch hockey.

Do you have a dream?
S. Chistov: I don't look too far ahead and only set goals for this season. I haven't though much about my long term future. I went to college in Omsk, but in my 1st year, I left for America, so it's been 3 years since I've looked ahead.

What have you learned from professional sports?
S. Chistov: When I was 12-13 years old, I scored goals and didn't think about anything else, but now I analyze every game and get upset after losses.

Who did you want to be like in your childhood?
S. Chistov: I liked how Bure and Fedorov played. When NHL games were shown, I watched their games with a lot of attention and when I ended up on the same team as Sergei Fedorov, I was unbelievably happy to play on the same team with my hero! Even had goosebumps, but you mature and can't continue living with y our childhood dreams. Time erases everything including difference in locations and relationships with people.

Written By: Gennady Zyryanov
Translated By: Sergei Chveitser

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