Severstal hockey team director Anatoly Tenitsky exclusively talked to AllHockey.ru correspondent Sergei Savrasov regarding Viktor Tikhonov (Phoenix Coyotes)ís departure to the Phoneix Coyotes.
20 year old Severstal forward will spend the next season in North America. The NHL club, which is headed by legendary Wayne Gretzky, drafted the promising young forward in the first round with the 28th pick. During the past season with Severstal, Viktor Tikhonov, the grandson of the legendary coach, was able to become a favorite of the Cherepovets fans Ė and this was according to the survey of the fans themselves, which was published on the clubís official website. Tikhonov was also one of the top three forwards with the club, leaving behind even the teamís captain Yuri Trubachev. In 59 games of the 2007-08 season, he scored seven goals and also made the same number of assists.
We asked clubís director Anatoly Tenitsky regarding the conditions of the playerís departures and the possibility of his return. As he explained, while Viktor is in North America, he is a Coyote, but as soon as the blades of his skates touch in Russia, he again becomes a member of Severstal.
A. Tenitsky: Tikhonov was selected by an NHL team in the draft and he will try his fortune there this coming season. But in Russia his rights belong to HC Severstal .
Does Viktor currently have a contract with the team?
A. Tenitsky: No, he did not sign a contract with Seversta, but he was offered one, which he declined. However, he did not get offers from other Russian clubs, and according to the regulations of the new league, his rights will remain with us for at least the next two seasons. That is, of course, if he returns to Russia. If he doesnít, he has the full right to play in North America.
At the end of last season, Viktor himself and his father, who manages his sonís affairs, said in an interview with AllHockey.ru that they wanted to delay the move to America and spend another couple of seasons in Russia with Severstal. Did the Tikhonovsí perspective change?
A. Tenitsky: They always wanted for him to get drafted and to try his abilities in North America. If to talk about Russia, Viktor himself said that he liked everything in Severstal and that he wanted to play here some more if he decides to return to Russia. This is especially the case since it canít really be any other way if he returns.
This reminds a bit of the situation with another Severstalís forward, Nikolai Lemtyugov (St. Louis Blues), who was released by the club a year ago to try his abilities in the NHL.
A. Tenitsky: Yes, the situations are quite similar. You must understand, we donít have an agreement with the NHL, so any player can just purchase a plane ticket and fly over there at any time. And we would not be able to do anything in such a situation.
How are things with Lemtyugov by the way? Do you keep in touch with him?
A. Tenitsky: Yes, of course. In May we met twice, and definitely kept in touch. He regards us well and told us that he will make another attempt to break into the NHL. Last season he did not skate a single game with the main team, and constantly played for the farm-club. He has grown up and has become smarter, and I think, the potential of his return to Severstal in the future is not out of the question.
Written By: Sergei Savrasov (AllHockey.Ru)
Translated By: Eugene Belashchenko