In his fifth season in North America, Buffalo Sabres goalie Andrey Makarov hasn’t secured himself a spot in the NHL. In the big league he played only one game thus far, and this number isn’t likely to change, at least not this season. Makarov isn’t happy with the situation and he isn’t hiding it. In this translated interview, originally appearing on the popular Russian website sports.ru, Sabres goalie Andrey Makarov talked about the situation with the Rochester Americans, his possible return to Russia, and discussed a couple of Russian goalie colleagues.
* For the original sports.ru article by Dmitry Groshev, click here.
– Andrey, many people were sure that this year you’d finally get the backup role for the Sabres, but once again you’re out. What happened?
– Good question… I don’t know. I played well during the preseason. I healed from injuries and the team wanted to see how I would do. In one of the games at the Prospects Tournament I had a shutout in my portion. I think we won 4-0. And literally a couple of days later they sent me to the AHL.
– Considering your stats, it looks like in Rochester you aren’t playing many games. Is there a lot of competition?
– Yes, I didn’t play much. They don’t let me play, and therefore I don’t play. Why is that? If I knew the answer, I’d be happy to tell you.
– Next June your contract will run out.
– Let it run out… I can’t wait for it to happen!
– What are your plans for the future?
– I don’t know yet. They didn’t allow me to go to the KHL, didn’t allow me to go elsewhere. I don’t really know what they want from me, no one explained anything. I’ll respect the contract until it runs out.
– Did you try asking for a trade? Or maybe you already tried to pull all the levers?
– Yeah, I tried everything. But they didn’t give me an answer. Maybe, I don’t understand myself. Well, for example… It was before [Russian] Christmas. I played two games in a row and we won. Then, the next game, against Utica, 1-3, but I was the second star of the game. And then again I am sitting on the bench and another guy who isn’t doing that well is playing. I am not sure why they signed him. They let him play, he loses, he loses again, but he keeps on playing. I am okay when they bench me after a bad game, it’s a normal process. But he plays game after game, we lose, and I sit there without any chance. I don’t understand this system.
– In the KHL your rights moved from Atlant to SKA, then to Spartak. Does it feel like they’re playing cards?
– I’m okay with this. I’ll think about it and I’ll see where it will be better for me to play next year. I’d say that probably I’m ready to get back to the KHL. And most likely it will be like that. I can’t say anything concrete until the end of the season. Rochester still has chances to get to the playoffs, even if the chances are low.
– Are you following the KHL?
– Of course I do. And I also follow the ruble, how it goes down, and sometimes rises (laughs).
– Do you worry about the ruble’s exchange rate in sight of a possible contract in the KHL?
– I see that many players signed a contract with the rate being one thing, and now it’s a whole other thing. But it’s hard to predict the future. I hope that everything will be good and I’ll be only happy if things will be even better.
– What young KHL goalie is progressing more?
– I’m following CSKA, there are a lot of players I know there. I have to highlight Ilya Sorokin‘s game, even if I don’t know him personally. He’s very young and he achieved a lot for his age.
– Do you think he should report to the Islanders as soon as possible or that he should be patient.
– This is my opinion. The Islanders today have a very good goalie, Jaroslav Halak. I think that Sorokin may well fight for the backup goalie spot. Considering the way he is playing now, I think he can even become the starting goalie. But this is just my opinion, I can’t guess what others are thinking.
– And what about Ilya Samsonov and Washington?
– In Washington it will be very hard. You can’t beat Holtby, he’s on fire right now. I think that he’s now one of the top three NHL goalies. He, [Pekka] Rinne and [Jonathan] Quick. Regarding Washington… You can always go, goalies are like that, today you’re here, and tomorrow you’re in another place. But it will be hard for him in Washington.
– If you’ll get back to Russia, will you have something to remember about the five years you spent in North America?
– There were many pleasant events. I was the MVP of the Memorial Cup when I was playing for Saskatoon. That was such a great time, I broke some league records, I think I won 19 games in a row. The coach trusted me and I was playing well. I don’t regret that I left Russia. And I can only thank my fans for their support. If I get back to Russia, I’ll be closer to them. It will be great!
A professional hockey writer and translator. Loves Russian culture, language, and hockey. Reachable on twitter @AlexSerenRosso