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Author: Anna Chuvochina (Vecherny Novosibirsk)
Translated By: Alessandro Seren Rosso
Date: 08/02/2011
Vladimir Tarasenko: “It’s necessary to go overseas as developed player”

2012 National Hockey League (NHL)

20-years-old Vladimir Tarasenko (St. Louis Blues) recently decided not to move overseas and to spend a further year in Russia for his mother club Sibir Novosibirsk. The young forward explained in this Vecherny Novosibirsk interview the reasons of his decision, about his father and about his beloved Novosibirsk.

— Vladimir, why you decided to refuse the tempting offer to play in the world’s top league with the St. Louis Blues and decided to stay with Sibir? As far as I know, you were offered a spot on the top lines, they usually don’t offer that to young players.

— I talked with my family and my agent and we decided that I have to play at home another year, so to gather more experience and try to become my team’s leader and go overseas as a developed player. And of course I want to play with Team Russia again and to take part to next season’s World Championship.

— What did you feel when you knew that you were drafted?

— We were sitting in a big arena in Los Angeles. Teams’ board members, one after another, told the players they picked. When St. Louis Blues’ spokesman said “Russia, Novosibirsk”, and I easily understood that I was the one from Novosibirsk. I don’t remember anything about that moment, I was so happy. I can’t even remember how everything worked out, emotions were through the roof. The only similar feeling was when we won the WJC Gold Medal. No one remembers what we did after the win. It’s truly interesting to see the emotions in the videos later.

— Do you have any idol in the NHL or the KHL?

— I don’t have any idol, never had one. Of course, I always wanted to be like my father. He is my unique idol. I always had many videos with his games, and I watched them a lot. I can also add that my grandfather is my idol as well, I was given my first name in his honor. Until I was 10 I lived with my grandfather and grandmother, they brought me up. I always wanted to be so open towards all people and culture.

— Your father is your coach. Do you argue with him regarding your game?

— Earlier it was hard, of course. Many disagreement arisen, I can’t hide that. But now we have a different relationship, more professional perhaps. We both understand that work is work, and life is life. And I can’t argue with my coach. My coach is my coach, if you don’t agree, then you will sit on the bench. You have to do what they say because a coach won’t advise you bad things. At home we try not to talk about hockey.

— What were your impressions about your debut for the National team at the World Championship?

— At first I wasn’t worried about my game, but about the team itself. When I went to the locker room for the first time, I didn’t know what to do, shake hands, don’t shake hands, how to behave… And all the guys accepted me very well. No one said me that I was “only a youngster”. There were no differentiations and thus once on ice it was easy and comfortable.

— Do you dream about playing at the Sochi Olympic games?

— Of course! Overseas they think that the Stanley Cup is the most important thing, but for us the most important competition are the Olympic Games. And they are played only once every four years. I don’t want to make plans, but it’s my dream and I will try hard to get there.

— How is Sibir preparing for the new season?

— We are having a camp in Latvia, then we’ll go to Finland, then back in Russia to play in one tournament in Ekaterinburg. And then the season will start.

— Did your father bring you to hockey?

— My grandpa was the director of the kids football team, and so I could choose myself. I come from a sports family, they brought me to both hockey and football. My dad didn’t want me to play hockey, at first, because he had many injuries and he was worried about me. He wanted me to play football. But whatever happened, happened, and I don’t regret my decisions.

— A lot of people recognizes you while on the street. For some of them Vladimir Tarasenko (St. Louis Blues) is an idol. How do you relate with all this attention?

— Yes, it’s like that, especially since the WJC. Of course, it was like that also before, but it wasn’t so often. Now people approach me, asks for photos, they want to shake my hands. Everyone love winners. But even if it’s the fourth year I play for the main team here [in Novosibirsk], sometimes I still shy up with fans.

— Are you from Novosibirsk? Did you spend your whole life in that city?

— No, I was born in Yaroslavl (his father was playing there, RP note), but when I was 3 I moved to Novosibirsk and I lived with my grandfather, because Dad was playing in Togliatti. I had no chances to further move because I was playing already. There were some moments in which I lived six months in Yaroslavl with my mum, then a couple of months in Togliatti with my dad, and so on.

— Do you love Novosibirsk? What’s your favorite place in the city?

— Yes, I love Novosibirsk, probably it’s the best city. I am used to the city, to the guys who play here for much time. Everything is comfortable here. Of course, there are other beautiful cities, Moscow, St. Petersburg, but…
My favorite place in the city is the arena. I have no time for the rest. But well, to speak the truth, sometimes I manage to go to the movies.

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