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Author: Alena Shilova ( (
Translated By: Alessandro Seren Rosso
Date: 07/21/2009
Alexander Avtsin (Montreal Canadiens): Ovechkin is Ovechkin, and I have to be Avtsin

2010 Kontinental Hockey League (KHL)

ďLess journalists in hereĒ Ė says Alexander Avtsin (Montreal Canadiens) looking at the LDS CSKAís hall, where he and other three young players (Kirill Kabanov, Alexei Marchenko and Arseny Kardailski - RP) have been featured in the first-ever MHL photosession. But the sessionís main feature was him, Avtsin. ďIn Canada there were not less than two interviews a day. They took three or four guys and then they showed them on the television. Even a French language newspaper had an article on me, I brought it with me at home as souvenir.Ē

What did they write in Canada?

They write that I resemble Alexander Ovechkin (Washington Capitals) and that I try to look like him.

Such a comparison flatters you?

I didnít like it when they wrote that Ovechkin is my idol. I was stunned. Yes, I like his style, but why idol!?!

So you feel like you canít go anywhere with these Ovechkin comparisons. And in Russia in these days only title that Avtsin wants to be like OvechkinÖ

Itís pleasant from a certain point of view. But imagine how much I have to work to get to his level. His level is like that (points a hand to his head), while mine is like that (points the other hand to the ground). And anyway I donít want to be like him. Ovechkin is Ovechkin, and I have to be not Ovechkin, but Avtsin.

But do you know Ovechkin?

Not in person. He trained at Dynamoís headquarter and he knows someone of my friends, but not me.

And how did it feel having such attention from the press? In Russia you had some?

In Russia? (smiles) Yes, in the last two years I had some interviews (smiles). But there I had four in a week. I got out of the training and straight away autographs, photos. It was nice because I never get such attentions in Russia. But I hope that with the launch of the MHL there will be here too such attitude. But do not think that Iím getting carried away. You have to work hard anyway. The press is the press, hockey is hockey. But itís nice to talk with the journalists.

Soon everyone will know thisÖ

They know already in Montreal. (smiles) But, of course, in Montreal they have a very big tradition. In the first day I hit the ice and they knew who I was, but on the second day they were already singing my surname. It was nice!

What do you remember more pleasantly?

In Canada we had some meetings where they asked what we really want to reach. They told us: guys, itís all up to you. We truly want to help out, but itís really up to you. They hosted a meeting for our questions. They told us what to eat before and after the trainings, what we need and what we donít. They said that we should stay off from Mc Donaldís and hamburgers. They assigned what to eat every day.

As far as I know hockey players, both from KHL and NHL, like a lot Mc Donaldís.

Yeah, I do too (smiles). Now I can walk there only on holidays, no more.

And what else did they teach?

We had a very interesting meeting about ties with journalists. They teach us how to work with the camera. And also that journalists usually ask the same questions (pause, sly mow)Ö

Really interestingÖ

That itís better to anticipate questions, never be ashamed, always smile and reply calmly. (smiles) We also had meetings with focus on skating, stick handling, different kinds of shoot. Their methods of training were really interesting. While training our skating we had drills made up for figure skating. I never worked like that. Americans were used to train like that while I looked like a dunderhead (smiles). But I tried hard and the coach praised me because I skate well, even if the he gave me the puck and showed my errors.

You had many?

Well yes. I will have to train at least 15 minutes on ice working separately on them. I didn't know the drills they showed me, either the ones for the agility or for the flexibility. It was truly useful to me.

Never felt like it would be hard to adapt to the NA style of hockey?

I've got double feelings, I played quite well. I didn't score, but I had two assists.

Rinks are smaller...

You simply have to think faster. Shoot, never limit yourself and that's all. In America the game is simpler, just dump the puck in the zone and go. In Russia you get into the zone, there is plenty of room, you can do a pause. There it's simpler, but you have to shoot or you'll get lost.

In an interview with Soviet Sports magazine in America you said that in Canada there is such an organization that in the locker room there is bubble bath and hairspray.

Yes and friends now tease me for that. (smiles) There were also shaving cream and razors.

And you don't have these things with Dynamo?

I think that there is all of this for the first team. But I don't know for sure as I play for the second team. And in the second team you don't have this. In Canada, as far as I know, it's like that even for junior teams. That's all.

Montreal picked you with the 109th overall pick. Was it too low?

Surely I was expecting to be picked earlier, but at the end I fallen down to 109th. I will have to show that I'm better than the other three guys (picked by Montreal earlier than him - RP) and play like a first rounder, not like a fourth.

And what about being picked by Montreal and not, for example, by the Washington Capitals?

Well, yes. I've read on some site that Avtsin should be on Washington with Ovechkin and that it would be cool. No, I like Montreal and it's a better choice than one could have imagined. There work a lot of good people who's ready to help. When I went to Canada I talked with their scouts director Trevor Timmins, who told me: Don't be shy, if you have problems hockey or non-hockey related just call and we'll help you. It was pleasant to hear such words.

Montreal's staff declared that they surely picked up a gem: Avtsin. What do you think about that?

They will call me a steal (smiles). Itís pleasant, I wonít deny it.

What to work on thinking about a transfer?

First of all English, then practice without stopping. I need to mature; therefore, I try to practice all the time, without much rest.

Do you have already a personal trainer?

Yes I do. I usually train with him in the off-season, rarely during the season. At Dynamo's headquarter we train both ice and off ice in the mornings and thus at 5PM I go to him for further work.

Is he a known trainer?

Not yet. (smiles) But I hope he'll become soon.

Ovechkin trains with Dmitri Kapitonov (Dynamo Moscowís physical trainer Ė RP)Ö

Yes, but we have a different physical structure. He weights more and has more muscles. I have to become stronger, while he with Kasatonov can work on agility and endurance.

In the last season you shocked everyone with your stats, 111 points...

I've had good line mates and I had luck with them. But one can always do better. One should always try to break records and I'll surely try next year.

You have ambitious plans for the future. Is it realistic thinking about the KHL?

It's realistic, but really hard. There is a lot of competition. It's all about me and what I'll show during the camps. I'll do my best to be picked up in the first team.

Did you ever talked about this with the coaches or with the staff?

Nothing concrete. Maybe we'll talk about it once I'll arrive in the team's headquarter. It's a bit I don't see anyone from the management.

And what about the national team?

I'll do my best and then we'll see if the coach will call me.

In the last season you weren't called for the WC Under 18. Was it disappointing?

Yes, it wasn't pleasant. The coach felt like I wasn't ready.

But judging your stats this decision seems a bit strange...

Yes it does, but what can I say?

Now Plyuschev heads the junior national team. Aren't you worried that he'll think the same?

No. I prepare myself, I'll work hard on me and I'll play for my team. If he'll call me I'd love to play for the national [junior] team, if not, I'll keep on working for my club side.

You played only one tournament with the national junior team, in Tyumen, and you weren't exactly a top scorer...

I was injured and couldn't count on my full strength. I didn't want to tell it to anyone. The level was rather good, we had a good team and in fact we conquered the first place.

Playing for the junior national team is now your priority?

It would be the icing on the cake! I really want to be called. Once again, I'll do my best and then we'll see.

How do you judge the creation of the MHL? Which prospects there might be for the junior national team?

It's a really interesting project. It promises to get much attention from the press. It will deal with charity too, we will visit hospitals, help children. They will have posters with MHL players. This is why it will be interesting and it won't be worse than America. Maybe it will be even better.

Often people hear that there was a draft and some young players were chosen, but nobody knows who these players are.

Yes, for sure. (smiles)

You declared that you will going to America in one year. Can you confirm it 100%?

No, not 100%. We'll see. For one year I'll play for Dynamo, and I'll give all myself for my team, trying to score as many goals and assists as possible.

But Canadiens' management waits you in one year.

Yes, but maybe they were waiting for me this year already. But I've already agreed with Dynamo that I'd remain here for one year. They understood my choice. We'll talk and we'll see what we want to do.

If you remember Ovechkin, he went to the NHL only after playing some season for Dynamo's first team. Maybe you need too to the establish yourself in the main roster and only by then go to the NHL?

Maybe. I don't want to plan yet. Generally speaking, if they will send me to the AHL I can play there, itís not a problem. Iím all for it. Because I understand that even in a year I wonít be at NHL level. Thatís nothing to be ashamed of. Iíll get used to anything quickly, Iíll learn the language and when Iíll be useful for the first team they will call me.

There are examples of never called players who could not accept thatÖ

Not me! If Iíll go, Iíll go till the end. I have confidence and will. Character. Iím not saying that Iím all like that, I have to grow, to become a man and realize a lot of things. Itís a hard period for youngsters, but you have to pass through it. It will be interesting.

Related Player Profiles: . A.Avtsin K.Kabanov A.Marchenko A.Ovechkin
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