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Author: Alessandro Seren Rosso ( Exclusive)Date: 04/02/2008
Evgeni Kurbatov (2008 NHL Entry Draft): A bad victory is better than a good defeat

2008 Super League


Russian Prospects: Hello Evgeni. Tell us a little about your self.† Where were you born and why did you choose hockey?
Evgeny Kurbatov: Hello. I was born in Ekaterinburg. I started playing hockey because my father was a hockey player. He played for Amurstal Konsomolsk-na-Amure.

Russian Prospects: Who got you into hockey and what was your first team?
Evgeny Kurbatov: My father brought me into hockey when I was 9. He simply told me: "Just try! If you don't like it then no worry". I liked it very much and decided I would devote my life to hockey.

Russian Prospects: Were you already a defender?
Evgeny Kurbatov: I have been a defenseman since the very first practice. My father was a defenseman too and I decided that I wanted to be the same! My father always helped and supported me. That's why it was easier for me than for the other guys. I started in the hockey school "Spartakovec". By the way such great players as Yashin, Malakhov and Khabibulin also started their careers there!

Russian Prospects: Is there any player playing in your position that you like, both in NHL or in the Superleague?
Evgeny Kurbatov: I like very much the way Anton Volchenkov (Ottawa Senators) from Ottawa plays. Also Dion Phaneuf, Sergei Gonchar (Pittsburgh Penguins) and Bryan McCabe. And of course Niklas Lidstrom!

Russian Prospects: How would you describe your game to the readers who know little about you?
Evgeny Kurbatov: Iím supposed to be a more defensive than attack-oriented player. But I also can be used on the PP, in the quarterback position. By the way I also like to play in penalty killing situations. I love playing tough hockey.

Russian Prospects: What aspects of your game do you think you need to improve?
Evgeny Kurbatov: I think I should work on my skating. I want to skate much better because skating is probably one of the most important fundamentals in hockey.

Russian Prospects: Who is the toughest forward to face that you played against?
Evgeny Kurbatov: I would say Alexei Morozov (Pittsburgh Penguins) and Danis Zaripov from Ak Bars, and Alexander Korolyuk from Vityaz. These guys are real leaders in the RSL.


Russian Prospects: How many years have you been in Avangardís system and how do you like at the club?
Evgeny Kurbatov: It's the second season in Avangard for me. I was welcomed very well. The experienced players have always given me advices about game situations.

Russian Prospects: How do you like the environment in Avangard? How is the coaching staff, the equipment, the accommodations?
Evgeny Kurbatov: There are many new players on the team this year. But the friendly atmosphere hasn't changed. We have a good group of players. We are a real team! The relationships with coaches are okay as well as the accommodations.

Russian Prospects: What is the biggest moment you had while wearing the Avangard jersey?
Evgeny Kurbatov: I think that the most pleasant moment while playing for Avangard was when I scored for the first time! You will never forget that.

Russian Prospects: You beaten Salavat and then you lost to Vityaz at home. What's the problem? Is it psychological?
Evgeny Kurbatov: I don't think it's about psychology. We are going forward at a steady gait and our loss to Vityaz is just a little blotch on our way to the playoff matches.

Russian Prospects: What is changed in the team with Sergei Gersonskiy?
Evgeny Kurbatov: After the arrival of Sergei Gersonskiy, we have started playing simpler. We are more competent defensively now.

Russian Prospects: What goals did Valeri Belousov place prior to games? What does Sergei Gersonskiy do now?
Evgeny Kurbatov: Valeriy Belousov urged us to play our game no matter what happens. He chooses our tactics independent of the opponents, but for the opponents to play depending on us. With Sergei Gersonsky we analyze carefully our previous games. Before every game we watch highlights of our opponents to decide how weíll have to play on defence against them. Sergey Gersonsky asks us to play not better but play correctly!

Russian Prospects: Have you ever had any disagreement with mister Belousov?
Evgeny Kurbatov: Valeriy Konstantinovich (Belousov) is a very good person and coach. I've never had any disagreement with him. I always relied on his experience.

Russian Prospects: What line do you play on and with whom?
Evgeny Kurbatov: In the last few games I played on the third line with such good partners as Alexander Svitov (Columbus Blue Jackets), Aleksey Tertyshniy, Alexander Golovin (Chicago Blackhawks) and Nikita Nikitin (St. Louis Blues).

Russian Prospects: On the ice, what do you like to do more?
Evgeny Kurbatov: I love to play during powerplay stretches. I like to hit too.

Russian Prospects: Did you ever have to actually "break" a forward?
Evgeny Kurbatov: No, I don't have such a goal as to break somebody. But if there is a chance to hit a forward, I won't miss it. When I played for Avangard's farm club I happened to cause a concussion to an opponent, but everything was ok soon.

Russian Prospects: How does it feel when you lose?
Evgeny Kurbatov: Losing is always unpleasant. Especially I don't like losing in the overtime. A bad victory is better than a good defeat.

Russian Prospects: On Jan 28th, 2008 you scored your first RSL goal. Can you describe it to us?
Evgeny Kurbatov: The opponent was Lokomotiv from Yaroslavl. I went to the ice when we were on a powerplay. We had a protracted attack and I skated to the slot. Somebody made a dangerous shot thru the traffic, searching for a deflection and, while fighting against the defenseman, I managed to deflect the puck into the net. I was very happy! Unfortunately we lost that game in the OT 1-2. This fact darkened a bit my impressions about it. By the way in the recent game against Spartak Moscow I've scored my second goal!


Russian Prospects: In one of our interviews Lada forward Evgeni Bodrov said us that in the WJC we should have won the gold. Do you agree with him?
Evgeny Kurbatov: I think on this championship we could win the gold. I do agree with Evgeniy! But itís happened what is happened and I am proud of the bronze!

Russian Prospects: How pride you were for the "C" on the jersey?
Evgeny Kurbatov: When I was told that I would be the captain, I experienced an incomparable joy. I always wanted to play for the national team and to be the captain, even more. It's a very big honour to lead the team on the most respected junior championship.

Russian Prospects: Do you think you served well as captain of the team?
Evgeny Kurbatov: You better to ask my partners about it. It was easy to be a captain. We got a very good team. All the guys knew that we came there to obtain some good result. Everybody was focused every game and we had no problems. Besides, I am familiar with most of the guys since the childhood.

Russian Prospects: In the game against Sweden our defense did not look during their goals. What do you think?
Evgeny Kurbatov: I don't think we played badly. We played very well in the penalty killing. Unfortunately we made some mistakes in the key moments of the game which lead to that vexing defeat.

Russian Prospects: Sergei Nemchinov's work with the junior national team is often contested. What's your opinion on him?
Evgeny Kurbatov: Sergei Nemchinov is a very good person and he gave me a lot as a coach! I think he is being criticized for nothing.

Russian Prospects: If in Avangard you only scored 1 point this year, with Russia you score way more. Why? Did you play more offensive at WJC or it's simply the difference of level of the opponents?
Evgeny Kurbatov: I think that on the WJC I played more in the powerplay than in Avangard. I had more opportunities to shoot. Besides, my linemates were very remarkable players and they helped me very much!!!


Russian Prospects: Central Scouting Bureau has ranked you as #94 among international skaters. Do you feel yourself better than that?
Evgeny Kurbatov: I don't really know what to say. I thought I would be a bit higher. I will prove with my game that they made a mistake.

Russian Prospects: What part of your game could attract NHL scouts in your opinion?
Evgeny Kurbatov: As I've already said I like physical hockey and I can play it too! If needed, I can drop the gloves. And I can be useful in the special teams.

Russian Prospects: And what kind of chances do you have in the NHL?
Evgeny Kurbatov: It's not easy to estimate own chances. But I work very hard in order to improve my chances.

Russian Prospects: In which team would you like to play? Maybe in the Rangers with Cherepanov?
Evgeny Kurbatov: I like hockey played by Ottawa. I try to watch their matches. Of course I would like to play on any NHL team!!!! With Cherepanov in New York would be cool too!


Russian Prospects: Is hockey for you more work or life?
Evgeny Kurbatov: I would say that hockey is my life! It's great to do the job you've been dreaming since the childhood.

Russian Prospects: What do you like to do in your spare time from hockey?
Evgeny Kurbatov: Mainly I meet with my friends. I like to go to the movies. Actually the place doesn't matter, the good company itís what is important.

Russian Prospects: Do you have a girlfriend?
Evgeny Kurbatov: No, I donít.

Russian Prospects: Do you follow other sports?
Evgeny Kurbatov: I enjoy watching NBA games.

Russian Prospects: And finally, what do you expect from your future, not necessarily hockey-related?
Evgeny Kurbatov: I would like that all my future will be connected with hockey!

Russian Prospects: Can you greet your fans at
Evgeny Kurbatov: Keep watching hockey! Always cheer for your favourite teams and for your favourite players!!!!!

- Alessandro Seren Rosso (

Related Player Profiles: . A.Golovin S.Gonchar A.Morozov N.Nikitin A.Svitov A.Volchenkov D.Zaripov
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