At the World Junior Championship, Detroit Red Wings prospect Evgeny Svechnikov was one of the most-awaited players. Team Russia got back home with a silver medal, but Svechnikov had a disappointing output in the tournament, with a hard-to-believe zero points in seven games.
In this translated interview, originally appearing on the Russian website sportbo.ru, Detroit prospect Evgeny Svechnikov re-lived the WJC, tried to explain his play at the tournament, and also talked about the Red Wings.
* For the original sportbo.ru article by Ruslan Vasiliev and Marsel Magizov, click here.
– Evgeny, are you satisfied about the World Juniors, where Team Russia grabbed a silver medal?
– Yes, of course I am satisfied. Everyone was. It was a little success, but still a success.
– Many were a little bit buzzed about your stats.
– Yes, I can understand that, you should always score more points and show your level of play. My stats weren’t great at the tournament, luck wasn’t on my side. I tried not paying attention to it and playing for the team. I can say that I managed to do it.
– Did you feel any pressure from the North American press?
– I didn’t read anything during the WJC. I simply underwent the practices and tried playing hard. I didn’t give any attention to the media.
– After the final game Bragin got the whole team next to the bench and had a little talk. What did he say?
– He simply told us to accept the medals, to wear them and to stay for the national anthems. Just to avoid any case like with the senior national team.
– Did you want to leave the rink?
– No, everything happened quite fast and after five or six minutes we were in the locker room already. The Finns didn’t celebrate too much and they didn’t provoke us.
– The game-winning goal also was a bit lucky.
– Yes, a bit of luck. Once again, we weren’t lucky in that episode.
– On ice you were all very upset, but then it looked like in the locker room you realized that the silver medal isn’t a bad result.
– Yes, something like that. On ice we were all upset, we really wanted to win. But then in the locker room appeared [former Soviet legend] Boris Mayorov, he told us that we should find positive things in these games, that we did all we could. Then, [RIHF president Vladislav] Tretiak and [RIHF vice-president Roman] Rotenberg told us the same. We understood that we did whatever we could, we relaxed a bit and found the positive.
– Objectively speaking, was Team Finland better than Team Russia?
– I can’t say that. They had a good team, two of their best players were ’98-born if I recall correctly [Svechnikov refers to Patrik Laine and Jesse Puljujarvi]. I don’t know, maybe they had a little more skill, but I think that as a team we looked better.
– What were your impressions about the tournament? Last year you could play as well, if it wasn’t for an injury.
– Yes, but I already forget the other year. I have only positive emotions about it, each similar tournament brings you a lot of good experience. I’ll remember the emotions and the team for my whole life. We were a big family.
– [Flyers prospect] Radel Fazleev told that he was followed by scouts during the tournament.
– Yes, I was followed too, just I usually don’t talk about it. I was visited by a person from Detroit, he had some practices with me and he told me a lot of good things.
– Differently from Fazleev you decided to stay a bit more in Russia and you had a chance to play for Ak Bars Kazan in the KHL.
– What does it mean “differently from Fazleev”? He simply chose his own path, I decided to stay at home and try my luck there.
– But in the end you crossed the Atlantic too.
– Yes, I wanted to try playing in North America. I don’t regret anything, I like playing here [in Canada], everything is great. Of course, home is home.
– What emotions did you feel during the draft?
– That day was probably the best in my life. It’s impossible to reflect the emotions with words, you need to be there and live it. Emotions roll you over, that incredible moment when you get to the scene, wear the team’s jersey, the goosebumps… An exciting moment, where you have the chance to see in your mind everything you passed through to get to it.
– Did you have a chance to meet Pavel Datsyuk?
– Yes, I had a couple of dinners with him. A great person, very quite and even a bit silent. We didn’t talk a lot, but he explained me a lot of things.
– When Detroit will wait for you in the NHL?
– When I’ll be ready. I don’t know. I want to get there as soon as possible. Everyone dreams about playing at that level.
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A professional hockey writer and translator. Loves Russian culture, language, and hockey. Reachable on twitter @AlexSerenRosso