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Author: Mikhail Kontuev (Komsomolskaya Pravda)
Translated By: Alessandro Seren Rosso
Date: 11/23/2009
Sergei Gaiduchenko (Florida Panthers) (Florida Panthers) (Florida Panthers): I have a chance to move on as Florida drafted me

2010 Kontinental Hockey League (KHL)

Lokomotiv Yaroslavl's goalie Sergei Gaiduchenko (Florida Panthers) talked about his experience as temporary starter replacing the injured number one goalie Georgi Gelashvili and explained his own plans for the future.

Hello Sergei, it has been a lot of time since I want to know a secret: how do hockey players decide their role? Who decides if you will be, for example, a goalkeeper and not a forward?
Well, when I was 7 till I was 9 I practiced karate. And with hockey... well, you won't believe me, but I started accidentally. During the school I was invited into both karate and fight section. But later I started going only to the hockey section. I skated two months without any equipment. It costed a lot, you know. Then they sent some equipment to the school and it was...goalie stuff. So I've became a goalie. You can say it has been the fate.

And weren't you disappointed? Maybe your career would have been easier as forward.

No, I really like the goalkeeper role and I loved it literally since the start. I disliked only one thing: the equipment was heavier and always wet.

And how did you get into the “big” hockey?

Scouts from Yaroslavl called my team “Ldinka” (back in Ukraine – RP) and invited me there for two weeks. I didn't expect too much from this, so I decided to try and after one week they decided to keep me.

In this season Lokomotiv's starting goalie Georgi Gelashvili had to lose some games (he was injured and suspended – RP) and so you had to step up between the pipes. How did it feel?

I haven't played since I was back from the loan spell with Metallurg Novokuznetsk of last year. Yeah I felt emotions. I've got what I was long time waiting for. But also the responsibilities were big, of course, and whatever happened we had to defend till the end.

Was playing those nine matches hard after such a long break?

Physically not. It was hard mentally. The first games went on easily generally speaking as the emotions passed easily. But already after the fourth, fifth match, the physical load loosened the emotional part, but on the other hand you need emotions.

There are goalies who always spring out of the crease as soon as their team gets on attack, while you look quite...

I don't show my emotions, but of course I'm very happy inside when the guys show a good game.

Why are you iced so rarely?

It's all up to the coach. In some teams goalies play one game each, in some others a goalie plays six games and the second two. [Lokomotiv's head coach] Kari Heikkila uses a system in which the first goalie of the team plays 85-90% of the games.

Aren't you sorry for that?

It's impossible to despair in such a situation. This means that you have to play twice as better in the chances they give you.

Is it harder to play at home or on the road?

At home. It's because, like I noticed in the matches I played, you have responsibilities towards the fans.

What are your plans for the future? Where would you like to play?

I'd like to move and I got a chance, as Florida drafted me. But first I want to stay in Russia to consolidate, play one or, better, two seasons playing a bigger quantity of games and then go there, just the same way as Semen Varlamov (Washington Capitals) did.

On your goalie mask there is an uncommon draw. Did you choose it yourself?

Yes, it was made by a known guy in Finland. I asked to put my saint on it – Sergey of Radonezh, on the mask and use Lokomotiv's colors (red and white – RP) as background. And the drop should be golden. This is an hint for the gold which we don't win for two years (Lokomotiv Yaroslav lost two straight finals, in Russia the winner team gets the gold medal).

Your team mates call you with the nickname “Godzilla”. Where does it come from?

It happened when I was just arrived and I was living in the base. The guys started calling me like that as I was only twelve, but already bigger than the “old” guys on the team, who were born in 85 or 86. And I got used to it.

Have you set yourself well in Yaroslavl?

Yeah, I live here for seven years already. I am acclimatized here and I know the city. I like it. I have a girlfriend, Lena, and on evenings we walk along the Volga's banks. Both me and Lena are orthodox and thus we often go to church, try to visit different churches. We both like Yaroslavl as I brought Lena from Novokuznetsk. Like they say, I've came with a present!

What do you do in your free time?

Often with the guys from the team we go to the country, eat meat, or going to the restaurants or go bowling. Sportsmen don't like to stay at home! I like active life: play tennis or ride the bicycle. I also like going to the movies, it relaxes me. I adore Sylvester Stallone, especially as “Rocky”. Another thing I like to do is reading books – Paulo Coelho and Dan Brown. I like when in books there are philosophical matters.

Does Lena share your interests?

Yes, on the whole. Even if there is some problems with the way of spending time, then we get to a compromise and the quarrel is quickly over. We always try to find a way to satisfy us both.

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