After moving to the NHL this summer, Evgeny Medvedev had an up-and-down season withe Philadelphia Flyers. The KHL veteran showed many good things in the NHL, and struggled in other areas. In this translated interview, originally appearing on the popular Russian website SovSport.ru, Evgeny Medvedev blamed himself for his unsuccessful season, declared that he wants to stay in Philadelphia, and discussed Ilya Kovalchuk.
* For the original SovSport.ru interview by Natalia Bragilevskaya, click here.
– Why are you missing all these game lately? Health problems? Coaches’ decisions?
– Little injuries mostly. This year I am missing a lot of games, and I spend a lot of times trying to heal. There are some cases where I am not finding game practice even for one or two weeks.
– Is it because you didn’t heal to the 100%?
– I healed everytime. But sometimes I miss some conditioning. I try to compensate it during the off-days, I take extra practices. But I’ve been told that his is some kind of a “firs NHL season syndrome”.
– It hits mostly European players.
– Yes, it looks like that. And I am no exception.
– You have a one-year contract. Did you already started negotiating for the next season?
– I can’t say anything about my future NHL career. This isn’t a yes, and isn’t a no. When there will be something concrete, and when I’ll sign a contract, then I will be able to talk about it. But so far no negotiations.
– Do you want to remain in the NHL?
– Of course! I truly want to keep on playing here [in the NHL].
– You weren’t included in the Team Russia preliminary roster for the World Cup. Do you think you’d have more chances if you kept on playing in the KHL?
– No, I don’t agree. In any case this is just my first [NHL] season. And it was a step forward for me. Yes, I had some injuries, some conditioning problems. But now I know the way I should get ready. I think that the next season for me will be completely different.
– Did you talk with Team Russia staff regarding the IIHF WC?
– I recently talked with [Team Russia head coach] Oleg Znarok. He said that he is waiting for me. I am ready to play for the national team, just as I always was. I’ll try to show my level.
– Did you follow the situation around Ilya Kovalchuk?
– I don’t really know what the problem was. But they reached a compromise and now Ilya is playing in the series against Dynamo Moscow. Such situations never help teams, but SKA won the first playoffs series against Lokomotiv Yaroslavl. Journalists write that all SKA’s problems were tied with Kovalchuk. I don’t think that it was like that. Ilya is always an important part of his teams. He can inspire other players and is a true leader. He’s yet to have said his last word this year.
– When things don’t go well for Kovalchuk, NHL rumors appear right away.
– I don’t know what I’d do if I were him. He played many years in the NHL and was a big star. I don’t know what he wants to do. He still has one year of contract with SKA. But if I were in his shoes, I’d take the risk and get back to the NHL if I had the chance.
– How do you get alont in the United States?
– My family likes the conditions here. The rhythm of life. All is very quiet. There are no unpleasant moments. My daughter goes to the kindergarten, where there are both Russian and American children. She is already teaching me to talk in English. Sometimes he suggests me some words.
– Does your wife talk in English?
– She talks better than me. She studied English for three years in Russia. Unfortunately, I did not have time for this.
– Many Russian hockey wives complain that it’s boring for them in America as they don’t have the same entertainment they have in Russia.
– Why is that? We attended the opera in New York. It was great. Of course we miss our friends and also the language a bit. But we don’t complain. But once you grasped the language, everything will fade away.
– What are your plans for the summer?
– We’ll go to Russia for a month, a month and a half. All depends on my future career. If I’ll sign a contract here [in Philadelphia] or with another team. But I really want to stay.
– I like Philadelphia, the team itself. The guy accepted me very well in the team and they supported me every time. I understand myself that my season hasn’t been that good. I’m not satisfied myself. I am really thankful to the coaches and the management for their patience with me and because they gave me a chance to play in the NHL at 33 years of age. You need time to get all this, and they gave it to me.
– Do you talk with the coaches?
– Yes, and more and more often without a translator. The fact that I’m not playing now it’s just my fault.
– Maybe they’re just giving you a break, and this is why you’re not playing now?
– I don’t think so. I really didn’t play well in February. I think everyone noticed that. Not even the coach, even I understood that my conditioning wasn’t enough. But every player has this periods. Slowly they fade away. I think that everything will be alright.
– What did you prepare to last summer when you got to the NHL?
– I was ready to everything, even for this kind of events. I knew where I was going. Giving the fault to someone else doesn’t make sense. And my experience is helping me in surviving to this moment. Believe me, I had worse in my life…
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* Featured image provided by Amy Irvin.
A professional hockey writer and translator. Loves Russian culture, language, and hockey. Reachable on twitter @AlexSerenRosso