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Author: Yuri Golyishak (Sport Express Newspaper)
Translated By: Sergei Chveitser
Date: 03/27/2006
Alexei Emelin (Montreal Canadiens): I didn’t even hit him, I just pushed him away

2006 Russian Super League

Alexei Yemelin (Montreal Canadiens) skating for Lada Togliatti (photo source: Lada Press - http://www.hclada.ru)
It seems that the 19 year old Lada defenseman Alexei Emelin overshadowed even the FHR president's pleas for resignation with his popularity. This happened after on Thursday, during the second game of the quarter finals he seriously injured the Metallurg captain Evgeni Varlamov.

Emelin enters the press centre and overhears the local commentator's comments for the radio listeners: "Emelin... Punch... Varlamov"

He heavily sighs and looks around.

Was it you who wanted to talk to me? You are from Moscow? - Our conversation begins before the start of game three between Metallurg and Lada.

Yes, Alexei. Do you know how many sins you have been blamed for?
A. Emelin: Of course I know and it's understandable from Magnitogorsk's point of view, but believe me, I'm saying this honestly, I did not intent to injureVarlamov, especially not a serious injury like that. I had no personal scores to settle and not only that, but I didn't even see who was coming at me in that episode.

What did you see?
A. Emelin: There was a player coming at me with good speed and hands directed at my face. My natural reaction was to lift my hands. I didn't even hit him and just pushed him. That's it! Yes I got Varlamov in the chin but that push didn't even have any power in it. I was protecting myself and there was nothing more to it. I couldn't even imagine that something could've happened there and I even turned around at that moment as I was looking for Kudermetov who speared me with a stick in a certain spot. He is one guy who I had a score to settle with.

Did you see who was hitting you?
A. Emelin: Yeah. Prior to this, he was standing in front of me and I could see his name and number. Kudermetov.

They say you had a conflict with Varlamov prior to this.
A. Emelin: Yes, there was a collision in March. We were playing in Togliatti back then and there was a spear from his side. In the first playoff game there was an episode when Metallurg scored and Varlamov had some nasty things to say to me. None of this was in my head when I pushed him away though as I didn't even know it was him. I wasn't thinking about retaliation at all as there is no place for it in the play-offs.

How did things unfold later on?
A. Emelin: I was penalized and ended up on the bench. I saw the stretchers with Varlamov on them and of course I was terrified. I couldn't understand: how, why?!

Now the whole country knows your name.
A. Emelin: You know, I don't really read the newspapers or listen to the radio. I'm only told what Lada officials deem think is necessary as well as our lawyer, Chebotarev who is involved with this process. I have no other information. The Lada director Vladimir Vdovin told me about the suspension. He announced it right in the dressing room: suspended for five games. It's terribly disappointing.

Speaking of the dressing room, what happened there after the Magnitogorsk game?
A. Emelin: We tried to stay away from the topic. It was still unclear as to what happened with Varlamov. We talked more about other game moments. Petr Ilich supported me the best he could: "Anything can happen in a game, they will take care of this moment and everything will be decided fairly."

Would you like to say that you regret what happened?
A. Emelin: I would like to say and I really do regret this! There was no intent, I'm very sorry about what happened and wish Varlamov a speedy recovery.

Did you watch a replay of that moment after the game?
A. Emelin: Yes, I watched the whole game and know full well that all the channels are showing a special version without the moment when Kudermetov speared me in the groin with his stick. Our team has a different tape where everything can be seen more clearly and no details are omitted. Those who see it, will understand everything. Maybe Varlamov was coming over to apologize as some say, but all I saw was a man coming towards me at full speed with hands stuck out in front. I had no idea that those were to apologize.

Are you disappointed?
A. Emelin: What do you think?! My team is playing while I'm standing on the sidelines fully healthy in my casual clothing...

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