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Author: Alexei Shevchenko (Sport Today Publication)
Translated By: Eugene Belashchenko
Date: 07/27/2007
Vadim Khomitski (Dallas Stars) I am sacrificing money to go to the NHL

2007 Russian Super LeagueDespite the fact that many players have returned from North America, the best are still trying to make it in the NHL. And if it does not work out on the first try, then on the second. For example, Vadim Khomitski (Dallas Stars) in three weeks will once again go to Dallas. During a conversation with Sport Today correspondent he explained why.

Vadim, it seems that a year ago you werenít able to secure a spot in Dallas and you returned to Russia. Why are you going there again?
V. Khomitski: A year ago my situation was different and I had a different contract. I spent very little time in America and I was sent down to the farm club, but I did not want to spend too much time there, so I decided to return to Russia. But right now Dallas offered me a one-way one year contract. I thought about it, discussed it with my family and decided to go.

After the first attempt, were you disappointed? You had a chance and you did not take advantage of it.
V. Khomitski: Absolutely not. On the contrary, I gained a lot of experience that came to good use, for example, in Russia. In any case, I only have positive recollections from my trip to America. Of course, I would have liked to play for Dallas during the regular season, but unfortunately it didnít work out. Still, I do not regret anything. You see - this time I was offered a one year contract.

Why do you think that happened this time? Do you think you proved yourself in Russia or Dallas has a shortage of defensemen?
V. Khomitski: I donít think that the Stars have a problem with defensemen. I am being given a chance to spend an entire season in the NHL, and not how it was last time. I am going there with the full intention to make the NHL club.

You probably spent some time thinking about the first trip. What mistakes will you now avoid during your second attempt?
V. Khomitski: I made certain conclusions. First of all, they are in regards to hockey.

You mean you need to change something in your game?
V. Khomitski: Of course. In America the ice surface is smaller. I was expected to, for example, join the offense and take more of the game onto myself. Overall, I will try to improve on certain shortcomings, so that I would respond differently in various situations.

Have you spoken much to Sergei Zubov, who is currently playing in Dallas, regarding your return?
V. Khomitski: Yes, we constantly talk over the phone. He helped me greatly.

Is he telling you that you have more of a chance to make the NHL squad?
V. Khomitski: Even last time he advised me not to leave, telling me that I will be playing on the main team dspite a two way contract. It was easy for me to play with him over there. Once we were put on the same pairing, and I quickly understood what was expected from me. The only problem was that I did not know English well, but when I played with Sergei, he kept giving me advise and I quickly understood what to do.

In Dallas, did you have a chance to make friends besides Sergei?
V. Khomitski: There are no other Russians there

But there are many EuropeansÖ
V. Khomitski: Yes, there are many Europeans. But even with them I still had the language barrier. We tried to communicate, but it was difficult. I understood a lot, but couldnít say much. But I did work on my English over there. But if I spend the entire season over there, I will definitely improve my English and things will be much easier.

Did you study English in Moscow?
V. Khomitski: I did study a bit, but not constantly. But in Dallas I will start right on the first day Ė parallel to the practices.

Many Russian players did not enjoy success in the NHL because they travelled there alone. Will you take your family with you?
V. Khomitski: At first, I will go by myself. My wife [Maria Butirskaya] has a figure skating school here and she canít leave it. But when possible, she will visit me with our child in America.

Did your wife approve of your decision to go to America?
V. Khomitski: She fully supports me.

Now days you can make a lot of money in Russia - sometimes even more money than in the NHL. Does this mean that money does not motivate you?
V. Khomitski: Right now I am flying over there not for the money, but to try myself in the best league in the world. I want to prove that I can play in it. I am of course sacrificing some money for this. But itís not anything to be concerned about.

You are probably not terribly pleased with your last season in RussiaÖ
V. Khomitski: If you are referring to the regular Super League season, we had a pretty strong team in Mytische [HC Khimik]. But at the Spengler Cup we didnít do so well. Unfortunately we got bounced from the playoffs very quickly, even though we could have done better.

You missed the World Championships and Vyacheslav Bykov did not even consider you as a potential candidate despite a defensemen deficit.
V. Khomitski: That is a coachís decision. I of course want to play on the national team, but I donít understand people who refuse such an honor. Yes, I would have liked to play at the World Championships, butÖ

Did things not work out between you and the coach?
V. Khomitski: We did not have any personal issues, if that is what you are referring to. After my return, Bykov and I talked. I think that in the future, if I play well, I will be invited to play for Team Russia.

And you will come, if, of course, you will be able to?
V. Khomitski: After the first call.

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