Penguins rookie Sergei Plotnikov is still adapting to the NHL and is yet to score his first goal. After a good KHL career and some national team appearances, the 25-years-old Russian forward decided to try himself at a new level. After 11 regular season games, Plotnikov had two assists and 10 PIMs, logging an average of less than ten minutes a night. He still needs some time to find his best game on the small ice surface, then the coaches will give him more chances, but also expect him to produce more. In this translated interview, originally appearing on the popular Russian website championat.ru, Penguins forward Sergei Plotnikov talked about his progress as an NHL player, coach Sergei Gonchar, and being a healthy scratch. Sergei Plotnikov won a gold medal with Team Russia at the 2014 IIHF World Championship and a silver medal one year later.
* For the original championat.ru article by Alexander Govorov, click here.
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Plotnikov isn’t new to pro hockey, but now he is in a new league, in a new environment, and the Penguins staff and fans have to be patient with him. It took some time even to Evgeny Kuznetsov to climb up to the Caps first line. While Plotnikov probably doesn’t have the same sheer talent of the Caps young star, he may follow a similar path during his NHL career.
– How is your adaptation to the NHL going?
– Basically everything is going well. I hope that I’m going in the right direction (smiles).
– What do you need to work on to further progress as an NHL player?
– I need to work on everything, on any component of my game. The truth is that if you don’t work hard, you’re going nowhere in the NHL.
– Earlier in the season you were a healthy scratch for a couple of games. Did the coaches explain you anything about it?
– Yes, I missed two games, then I got back in the lineup for the game against the Maple Leafs. Me and the coaches had a few discussions about some things of my game, but this of course will stay within the locker room. I can’t really reveal this kind of things (smiles). As I said, these things always stay within the team.
– Recently Sergei Gonchar became a coach for the Pittsburgh Penguins. Does he help you? Did he give you some advice?
– Yes, without any doubt, Gonchar helps me a lot. Especially he helps me in some little things that are really helpful in this league. As a result I can understand and do these little things more efficiently. Sergei is always showing me these things and he is always telling me how to act in this or that situation. This is truly helpful. The same can be said for Evgeni Malkin, he is always around ready to support me.
– Did you already manage to notice some differences between Russian and American mentality? Are you already adapted to everyday life?
– Regarding everyday life, I can say that I fully adapted to it. Regarding the difference in mindset, well, it’s hard for me to talk about it as I don’t talk very well in English yet (laughs). Of course those differences exist, but I can’t explain them right now.
– During an interview with championat.ru, former Red Wings Daniil Markov said that the most important thing is not to fall into despair, keep working hard, and everything will be good. Do you agree?
– I completely agree with him, I’ll keep on working hard without having anything influence on my work.
[Related: Sergei Plotnikov Ready For NHL Debut]
A professional hockey writer and translator. Loves Russian culture, language, and hockey. Reachable on twitter @AlexSerenRosso