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Author: Mikhail Kiselev (Futbol-Hokkej Newspaper)
Translated By: Sergei Schweitzer
Date: 10/03/2006
Andrei Zubarev: Buravchikov and I play every other game. There is only one explanation: the coach knows better.

2007 Russian Super League

Andrei Zubarev at a U18 tournament in the Czech Republic (Photo: RussianProspects Exclusive)
Along with Viacheslav Buravchikov, he is considered the top junior defenseman in Russia. The 19 year old Ufa native Andrei Zubarev is currently playing in his second season with Ak Bars but unlike last year, he hasn’t been able to solidify his spot on the team. After another game, the defenseman who is considered as one of Russia’s future hopes talked with " Futbol-Hokkej" correspondent.

It must be tough for a defenseman to prove his worth without playing on the powerplay or the penalty kill.
A. Zubarev
: Definitely. In this regard, everything was different last year. I had more ice-time and I was playing on the first or second pairing instead of the fourth and now I barely even play on even strength.

Do you have an explanation to why you ended up being the 8th Ak Bars defenseman?
A. Zubarev
: There is only one explanation: the coach knows better. If he doesn’t let me on the ice on the top or second pairing, that means he is not happy with how I play. As they say in this situation, I will be catching up and working harder during practice.

Perhaps going to another team would be the best move in this situation? Salavat Yulaev from your hometown Ufa has been gaining ground lately for example.
A. Zubarev
: I don’t see a point in changing anything so drastically right now. Ak Bars is Ak Bars after all. I’m satisfied with almost everything in Kazan right now. Last year our team won the championship and we only have one wish now: to prove that our success wasn’t a fluke.

Ufa have also set a goal to contend for the championship this season. How do you rate your former team’s chances this season?
A. Zubarev
: I wish Salavat Ulaev the best of luck. You are right, I do have a soft spot for Ufa. My older brother Artem still plays for Salavat and I hope Sergei Mikhalev will continue showing confidence in him. I talk to him on the phone every day and we keep each other updated on how we play. I know how he is playing and he is up to date on my progress.

Has there been a lot of talk about the upcoming European Champions Cup in the dressing room?
A. Zubarev
: The topic does come up once in a while but there are still three months to go before the January trip to St. Petersburg so it’s too early to talk about the Cup. Everything has its own time.

You didn’t go to Czech Republic with the Russian junior team to one of the last tournaments before the World Junior Championships in Canada. How come?
A. Zubarev
: It’s just that at the time, a lot of older guys left for the national team and Ak Bars was going to the Ramazan Memorial. The team coaches decided that it would be better for me to stay with the team. I understand the coaches’ decision because after all, the team can’t be left with just 7 defensemen only a few days before the start of the tournament. That would only put added pressure on the guys and what if someone gets injured? It’s not good for anyone.

Aside from you, the junior team also has your Ak Bars teammates Viacheslav Buravchikov and Evgeni Ryasenky

Related Player Profiles: . A.Zubarev
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