Nikolay Goldobin is one of those players that seems so good when you watch them, but then somehow doesn’t get the expected status. Often seen as too soft for the NHL, Goldobin managed to score some highlight reel goals, but also post very negative numbers in the plus-minus column, and since he’s not very young anymore, his future NHL career is in danger.
In this translated interview, originally appearing on the Russian website SovSport.ru, Goldobin talked about his potential return to Russia, his situation with the Vancouver Canucks and former Russian players in Vancouver.
* You can read the original Russian language article by Lina Trunina here. *
Goldobin in his Second NHL Season
Lina Trunina: You’re (in) your second NHL season. Is (there) anything worrying you?
Nikolay Goldobin: Nothing like that. Last year I played two games for San Jose and another 12 with the Canucks. I also played a lot of games in the AHL to gather experience. When I get called up to the NHL, I am not scared. I was very happy when I played against Toronto. A very technique-sound team. It was interesting to play against such a team, especially so considering that we don’t meet that often during the season.
LT: Did you want something for you for Christmas and the New Year?
NG: I never do such things. Why should one propose such things like scoring more goals? They will get (them) on their own if (they) try hard enough.
LT: In Vancouver, you are a rookie. Is it hard to climb the depth chart?
NG: There is no hazing on our team. All of the guys are very good. We have some veteran players, but they act very well with us younger players. They give us great advice. Everyone supports each other, there’s a lot of respect.
LT: Who are your friends among other Russian NHL players?
NG: I am friends with pretty much everyone, except for the older players. For example, Alex Ovechkin, I don’t know him in person. He was “just” my idol in my childhood. My best friends here are Ivan Provorov, Ivan Barbashev, (and) Maxim Mamin.
LT: Was Pavel Bure also one of your idols?
NG: Of course he was. And in Vancouver he’s an idol even today. Malkin, Datsyuk… I also try to take the example from them.
Goldobin and the WJC
LT: Do you remember your World Junior Championship?
NG: Playing for our national team was already a great thing for me. They gathered all the best players from our country from the 1995 and 1996 years of birth. We played well the whole tournament, we defeated Team Denmark, true, with some difficulties, only 3-2, and then we got to the finals against Team Canada. We allowed two fast goals, then managed to tie it up. It was an incredible game, but in the end, we lost. It was hard on us, some of our players were crying. But we were a united team, we tried to fight for Russia.
A silver medal is not the best outcome, but it was good to win a medal. We did our best, and didn’t throw the medal to the crowd like that Swedish player [Lias Andersson] did. This year I really cheered for Team Russia, like hard, very hard. I even found myself shouting at the TV at home. I really wanted that the guys would win the gold medal. You know, we couldn’t do it. But it didn’t happen… I hope that Team Russia will play well next year; the WJC will be in my city, Vancouver, I’m ready to support the guys and bring them to the best restaurant in town. Maybe this will help them?
LT: This offseason, Nikita Tryamkin left Vancouver. And then, (Alex) Burmistrov. What’s happening?
NG: Everyone has his own reasons. I don’t know them in person, so I don’t know. But of course it’s bad that we lose Russian players. What’s the problem? Lack of ice time. Some patience is needed, sometimes.
Goldobin Back to Russia?
LT: Didn’t you think about the KHL yet?
NG: I can’t exclude this option. But no team called me yet.
LT: What can you tell us about your coach?
NG: Generally speaking, in Vancouver I have my hardest practices ever. I never practiced that much. But the system is a bit different. Always running and hustling. How is it different from San Jose? Just by the game play. But well, also, in California the city was beautiful, always hot. In Vancouver it often rains.
— Sportsnet 650 (@Sportsnet650) January 13, 2018
LT: Your agent Igor Larionov also played for the Canucks. What does he tell you?
NG: “Do everything you are asked to. And never forget about your technique. Otherwise you won’t be playing and you’ll be sent down to the AHL.”
LT: What’s your teammate Brock Boeser’s secret?
NG: He’s got a big shot. He knows where to go, he gets good passes and he scores. He’s got a great hockey IQ.
A professional hockey writer and translator. Loves Russian culture, language, and hockey. Reachable on twitter @AlexSerenRosso