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Author:  (
Translated By: Alessandro Seren Rosso
Date: 01/12/2012
Vladimir Tarasenko: Kuznetsov is Russia's top young player

2012 National Hockey League (NHL)

Most likely Vladimir Tarasenko (St. Louis Blues) will be traded to Dynamo Moscow before the KHL Trade Deadline, then he will go to the St. Louis Blues this summer. In the meantime offers you the most recent interview pubblished in Russia, appeared on the website. In this interview, Tarasenko talks about the WJC, the NHL Entry Draft and his ties with his father.

— Did you store your lucky stick, the one with which you won the WJC gold medal last year?

— I can’t even remember. I think I gave it to someone. I stored just the stick I used when I scored my very first goal, it’s on my balcony. If the WJC was on the season’s end, then maybe I would have stored it somewhere to save the memories, but after a couple of days after the final game I was already playing for Sibir and I didn’t have a chance even to think about it...

— Someone asked Evgeny Kuznetsov (Washington Capitals) who is the best young player in Russia, and he said that everyone would say his own name.

— It’s like that. I’ve heard that before the draft during the tests that everyone says his own name!

—But you didn’t?

— I replied Evgeny Kuznetsov (Washington Capitals). The ones who were interviewing me were shocked. But I can say it once again: Evgeny Kuznetsov (Washington Capitals) is the best young player in Russia. I am a Russian, how can I name myself the best?

— What does he have which you don’t?

— Kuznetsov has got everything. I don’t know any weak point on his game. And I wish him a great family life, he recently married.

— Last year many KHL teams tried to get Kuznetsov for the playoffs, but Traktor didn’t want to trade him. Did you get any offer?

— I don’t know. Maybe they didn’t tell me. But I can say this: in Russia I won’t play for any other team then Sibir. I feel good in this city and in our situation.

— When did you realize that you could defeat Canada?

— Right after our second goal. Until that moment it was a lot different, you can understand, we were down 3-0 after two periods. The most interesting part is that we didn’t do anything extraordinary, we simply played our game.

— And then there was the airport stuff.

— Yes. I was surprised by a detail.

— Which one?

— After ten minutes we get out the plane we had cameras all around us. Maybe they planned all this beforehand?

— What was the best greetings you had?

— I was amazed to see how many people waited for us at [Moscow airport] Sheremetyevo. And then it was the same in Novosibirsk. I never seen anything like that in my whole life. And how many cameras, and flashes. And it was 6 AM!

— Your mother lives in Yaroslavl. In Novosibirsk do you live with your father’s family?

— I’ve got my own flat. For now I live alone, but soon I’ll be joined by my girlfriend.

— Do people recognize you on the streets?

— In Novosibirsk it happens all the time. They recognize every player just looking at their face, and after the WJC it happened a lot more often.

— Now it looks like you’re ready to fight if needed.

— Well it’s not that I fight a lot. I remember against Team USA it happened once, we were still playing with full face covers, then we dropped helmet and gloves, it was a “true” thing. And I didn’t lose. In normal life sometimes I get angry, but I learned how to restrain myself. There are a lot of unpleasant persons. And what, should you fight with all of them? As I understood now, it’s better to live without conflicts. Of course, if they aren’t important. It’s not a tragedy if someone feels like you’re a coward.

— They say that once on the face-off dots opponents can spit on you or tell you something bad...

— Well, yes, but it never happened to me. Usually there are known players there, usually we tap each other’s equipment and say “good luck”. I remember when I had an injured shoulder, they could have hit my shoulder and get me injured again, and I thought they know, but they don’t hit me. Thanks a lot.

— When you saw again your injury during the WJC finals, it hurts you again?

— No, I don’t. I don’t understand why people see somewhat heroism in that moment. It was nothing special.

— What do you remember about the always-feared pre-draft questions?

— People didn’t believe I could go to the NHL. They would ask me: “Do you want to play in the NHL?”, and I: “Sure, I do want”. I always watched the NHL since my childhood, and this convinced me that the NHL is the best league. But there isn’t a better country than Russia for me, and I will get back and live here. They also asked me a lot about my contract. But the hardest question was: “What do you want to win more: Olympic Games or Stanley Cup?”

— And?

— I knew they wouldn’t like my reply, and it was like that. I replied like a normal Russian man: “Of course, Olympic games”. Americans don’t seem to care a lot about Olympic Games...

— Playing on what rink are you more comfortable?

— I’m more used to play on the big rink. But on the small one I’m more comfortable.

— Do you collect materials about you?

— My grandfather collects everything they write. And the same about my father. I go to my grandfather and then I get to know what they write about me.

— Who’s the best defenseman you ever faced?

— Nikita Zaytsev, he is my team mate. Great talent.

— Kuznetsov drives through Chelyabinsk with a white Porsche Cayenne. What about you?

— I don’t have a car.

— So you travel only by metro?

— I already picked my car, ordered too. BMW Series 5. But now I don’t have time for these things. Moreover, I’m not really a car fan. It’s not my favorite topic. By the way, once I told my father: “I’ll grow up and will buy you a BMW”.

— Once Kuznetsov walked in a restaurant in Chelyabinsk and people standed up and started clapping him. Did you experience something similar?

— Once it happened to me on the street, when I was walking, people started yelling: “Bravo! Congrats”.

— Did you introduce your girlfriend to your father?

— Not yet. I never introduced any girlfriend to my father. I always thought it was early, but now I feel like it’s time to do it.

Related Player Profiles: . E.Kuznetsov V.Tarasenko
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