As everyone knows, Artemi Panarin is having a strong rookie season, playing side to side with Patrick Kane and Artem Anisimov. He’s not only a great player, but also a great character, especially when he can express himself in his native Russian. In this translated interview, originally appearing on the popular Russian website Sovsport.ru, Artemi Panarin replied to questions gathered from the Russian hockey fans group Hockey Bro.
* For the original Sovsport.ru article by Leonid Varshavsky, click here.
– Did you follow the WJC?
– Yes I did. To speak the truth I only watched the highlights of the gold medal game. I lost $300. But in the semifinals I correctly predicted Team Russia to defeat Team USA. And I won $300 to Patrick Kane.
– So you ended up even?
– That’s it. I didn’t always had the time to follow the team in Finland. But the guys played very well. I’m glad for them. Of course we have a great coach in Valeri Bragin. He knows how to create a good team. The guys fought very hard.
– Another fan asks: everyone sees that sometimes you argue with Kane on the bench. Why?
– It happens when we don’t play well. Sometimes we simply bark at each other. But the worst thing is that because of English language I can’t say anything interesting to him (laughs). Seriously speaking, we don’t argue often.
– What did you learn from Patrick in all this time?
– I don’t know how good of a learner I am. Everyone knows that Patrick is one of the best players in the league.
– You have a great understanding.
– We talk the same language. In the sense that we play the same kind of hockey. We started understanding each other since the start. I knew about him already while playing in Russia and I understood right away that he is a great player.
– Don’t you think that you pass the puck to him too much?
– Maybe (laughs). Although he always says that I never pass the puck.
– Are yourself surprised to have this kind of success in the NHL?
– This is a provocatory question! (laughs) I haven’t really thought about it.
– What places do you like to eat in?
– I don’t have a single dish I like. I eat a steak before the games. In days off I like pasta or fish. I also try to eat some meat the night before a game. I started going to a restaurant near my place, “Three wilkies”, something like that, I don’t remember the exact name.
– Do they recognize you while on the street?
– Yeah, sometimes it happens.
– Do you miss your hometown Korkino?
– Yes, I do. I even dream about it on nights. I miss Korkino, but also generally I miss Russia. It’s hard to be far from your motherland.
– How are you preparing yourself for your first Stanley Cup playoffs?
– I don’t think about it yet. I want to focus on playing a strong regular season. The playoffs are in April only.
– A young player asks: what should I do to become like you?
– Oh, is there anyone who wants to become like Panarin? (Laughs.)
– A lot of people!
– That’s a very hard question. I can’t explain what should one do to become a good player. You simply have to want it. But as I seen myself in the NHL, you don’t have to want it too much either.
– Can you explain a bit more?
– When you want things too much, nothing good will come. I had such a period in the NHL. You have to want it inside. And of course you have to work hard. You won’t achieve a thing without hard working.
– What do you do after games?
– If some friends come, then I’ll go to a restaurant. If we play in Chicago, then I just go home. I get some food down the road and I’ll eat it at home. Maybe I play a game at the console. Or I go to YouTube to watch a couple of videos about knifes or guns. Then I go to sleep.
– Who was your childhood idol?
– I didn’t have one in early childhood. I was just playing hockey and I was loving it. But not in the way to follow stars. I didn’t even have a TV in my room. Just a general one. No hockey there, everyone was watching movies. When I got a bit bigger then I started liking Pavel Datsyuk. Generally speaking, I like following top-level players. Watching the way they play, trying to get something new. But I also understood that everyone follows his own path. You can’t simply copy what others do, like sleeping seven hours or eating meat before a game. It’s not a given thing that it will work for you either.
– Do you like Chicago’s red jersey?
– Of course I do! I played in Vityaz, we had a red jersey too there. It was a bit strange with a different jersey only in the first few games. It was even a bit curious. Half a season passed now, the sense of novelty isn’t there anymore.
– Another question from a young player: what exercises should I do to get stronger hands when I hold the stick?
– I don’t have strong hands myself. If they are too strong, it will be harder to maneuver the puck. You need to know the limits. And work hard since the childhood. I had a small ball, and I was throwing it against the wall all around my home. It was my main entertainment. I could play with that ball for the whole day. I broke all the furniture. My grandma always yelled at me: “Stop!”, but my grandpa would reply: “Let him play!” It looks like grandpa was right.
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A professional hockey writer and translator. Loves Russian culture, language, and hockey. Reachable on twitter @AlexSerenRosso