Alexander Radulov answering questions at the NHL Entry Draft after being selected by the Nashville Predators (Photo is a RussianProspects exclusive)
Alexander Radulov’s transfer to Salavat and the resulting “cold war” between the KHL and the NHL – is one of the main topics of this offseason. Championat.ru listened to the opinion of Ufa’s new player regarding his own transfer and found out why he did push ups after failing to score on a penalty shot.
In the beginning of July Alexander Radulov (Nashville Predators) became one of the main subjects of both media centers on both sides of the ocean. In the US, meaning in the NHL, they were discussing his sudden departure from Nashville, explaining it simply as: “More money”. In Russia the media was proud of Alexander’s decision, also explaining it without much creativity: the KHL’s level is growing and great players are joining us. Tens of articles were written regarding Radulov each day, discussing the legality of his possible suspension. Even more interesting is the opinion of Alexander himself…
A. Radulov: I am very glad to skate for Salavat Yulayev during this coming season. I hope to repeat as part of the club its championship achievement from last year. First and foremost I hope to win in the Champions League – for me this is the most important goal. From my side I promise to do everything possible to achieve this goal. I will only be playing to win!
Some of the official sounds of Radulov’s response is understandable – the words are from a press conference that was focused on Salavat Yulayev’s preparation for the upco ming KHL season during which him and Czech player Leoch Chermack were officially presented to the media. Sitting side by side with head coach Mikhalev, putting on Salavat’s jersey with the 47th number under which he earned gold in Canada, he also answered another couple of questions.
Alexander, when did HC Salavat first contact you?
A. Radulov:Way back two years ago. Last summer my agent also got a notice regarding the club’s interest in my services . And this year I carefully weighed my options and decided to sign with Ufa.
When did you sign the contract?
A. Radulov:The initial agreement and all the formalities with Salavat were completed on June 25th, during my vacation. The contract itself I signed on July 8th – as soon as I returned from my time off.
What can you comment regarding the possible suspension?
A. Radulov:I can’t say much regarding the possible disqualification , since I don’t really think about it. I am calmly preparing for the upcoming season. I completely agree with the position of my new club: during the singing of the contract there was no agreement between the NHL and the KHL. If we didn’t violate any rules – what is there to punish for?
In front of dozens of microphones, after the press conference, Radulov was more decisive with his answers:
A. Radulov:I can understand both sides. But the position of the Continental Hockey League has significantly more weight: NHL for 15 years brought young players from Europe, first and foremost from Russia. I think that it is time to end this. Simply put: time to stop robbing us!
Are you interested in what is going to be said about you in the NHL, in that same Nashville?
A. Radulov:No, that does not concern me. Right now I am in Russia and my team is Salavat Yulayev.
There is a lot of talk over there about the Russian millions…
A. Radulov:Let them talk. The financial aspect of my deal have already been released, so there is no need to talk about that.
We place our high hopes on Alexander – said Salavat Yulayev’s press attaché Nikolai Kurapov – he was a favorite in Canadian Quebec and now I am sure he will be a favorite in Ufa. In 2006 when we acquired Antipov, I said that the season for us will be known as Antipov’s. Last season was Perezhogin’s and this one I will call Radulov’s.
We got a chance to talk to Radulov again an hour later after the first game with his new team during the Bashkorstan President’s Cup.
What are your impressions from the first game?
A. Radulov:It was difficult, but I want to thank the goalie – he played very well. The defense was reliable and the offense did not sleep on the job. I do have to note that the ice was not very good though. But this is the preseason – I hope everything will be tuned by September.
What about your impression of Ufa?
A. Radulov:Don’t think that I am just saying things, but really the impressions regarding Ufa, the team and the fans are very positive. I did not expect that so many people would attend a preseason tournament. It’s nice to see that not only in Ufa, but also in other places in Russia the hockey is improving, and that is the most important thing.
How goes your adjustment after the NHL “boxes” to the Russian ice surface?
A. Radulov:I won’t hide it that it has been fairly difficult – there are a few nuances, but I am not giving them much thought. I play hockey and try to get used to larger surfaces. I work at it during pracrices and this work, I am sure, will bare fruit. Besides, when you play with linemates like here, then there won’t be any problems. The guys help me out.
Salavat plays all of its games in this tournament during the evening. Do you watch any of the day matches?
A. Radulov:No. To watch the opponents is to lose your time and your strength. That’s not my style. I prepare for my own game and think only about it.
Why did you do pushups after the penalty shot?
A. Radulov:I had a bet with Alexei Medvedev (smiling) If he did not score then he would do the same. I understand that it did not look all that great in regards to the opponent, but what can you do? I did not score, so I did pushups.
Do you always play with such emotion?
A. Radulov:I try to. There is no other way.
Do you feel that you have swayed over Ufa’s fans after the first game?
A. Radulov:Please, I don’t feel anything like that. The most important thing is the team and the fans love the team, not individual players.
In any case, even if Alexander Radulov (Nashville Predators) did not want to sway the public in his direction, after the second game for Salavat, he probably accomplished this with his two goals against HC Skalitsa.
Championat.ru article by Andrei Lopata (translated by Eugene Belashchenko)