Nikita Tryamkin Makes NHL Debut

After being signed to an entry-level contract by the Vancouver Canucks last week, Russian defenseman Nikita Tryamkin finally had his NHL debut during the game against the Colorado Avalanche. The Canucks lost the game 3-1, but Tryamkin had his first NHL point with a shot from the blue-line that spurred a good combination for the Sedins that eventually finished in Vancouver’s lone goal. In this translated interview, originally appearing on the Russian website, Canucks defenseman Nikita Tryamkin talked about his NHL debut, his first NHL point, and the atmosphere inside Vancouver’s Rogers Arena.

* For the original article by Alexander Govorov, click here.

– What did you feel when you hit the ice for your first NHL shift? Did your dream come true?

– Yes, we can say that I fulfilled my dream. It was a bit strange that my first shift lasted only 12 seconds. We dumped the puck, then changed, and I tried not to overdue things, without inventing anything. Of course such a short shift wasn’t planned, but we dumped the puck in and skated back. Maybe it was enough for my first shift! Generally speaking I’m satisfied about my first game, but the biggest minus is that the team lost.

– At first you were iced with your country mate Andrey Pedan. Did you know him earlier?

– No, not really. I got to know him only the morning before the game. He’s a good guy, he helped me with translations and understands the situation. You could easily see that he has been playing in North America for several years. He has experience playing on the small ice surface, therefore he gives me good advice on how to play correctly. It’s great to have a Russian defensive pair. In Vancouver there were no Russians for many years, and now two at once.

– How did you like the atmosphere at the Rogers Arena?

– I liked it a lot, the atmosphere was a bomb, many fans… I heard how loud they were when I hit the ice for my first shift. The stands literally exploded, so I have to thank the fans for the support. I understood quite fast that here [in Vancouver] they love the team and they have great ties with it. It’s great that the fans keep on supporting the team, even if it isn’t the best season for the Canucks.

– What did you think about when you got your first point in the NHL?

– I didn’t understand right away that I got an assist. Henrik Sedin got close to me and told me to keep the puck. I thought that two passages followed my shot, therefore I asked him what should I do with that puck (laughs). After the game they gifted me the puck confirming that it was my first NHL point.

– It’s not too common to get a point in the first NHL game. Do you feel like it was special?

– Sure, but you can also wonder how not to get points playing with such great players. It was a good game. The opposition got the best of our mistakes, but that’s hockey. Only people who do nothing are the ones who don’t make mistakes. We’ll try to learn from them and play better.

– When the opposition scored their third goal you were on ice. Do you think you could have played differently?

– I was covering the center and it was hard to imagine that the puck would end up in the back of the net from such an angle. I couldn’t put the stick in the shooting lane at the very last moment. The coach told me that I played correctly in that situation. I could have helped the team, but I wasn’t lucky.

– Did you discuss the game with [Canucks head coach] Willie Desjardins?

– Yes, we did, and he told me that I played well. I simply tried not to overplay, trying to make my decisions as fast as possible. If compared to the KHL, here [in the NHL] you have 2-3 seconds less. If you are unsure and start thinking, then you’re gonna get hit hard. There was some moments with hits… here the ice is smaller and it’s easier to give/receive them. Mikhail Grigorenko told me that I had a good hit on [Matt] Duchene. He asked me why I tried to break his teammate [laughs]. Of course it was just my first game, it will be better in the future. Also our defensive coach told me that I played well. I will try to take this experience and keep on growing.

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