The summer of 2015 has been a busy one for Russian players as many of them decided to move from the KHL to the NHL. Amongst this group of players there was Sergey Kalinin. The New Jersey Devils forward recently scored his first NHL goal during the Devils – Canucks matchup on November 8th.
The Russian forward got the puck on his stick on the right circle, then had a quick 90-degree turn and fired the puck past Canucks goalie Ryan Miller. In this translated interview, originally appearing on the Russian website Russia-hockey.ru, Devils forward Sergey Kalinin talked about his first NHL goal, his adaptation to a new league, and how the season is going for him and the team.
* For the original Russia-hockey.ru article, click here.
– Sergey, recently you scored your first NHL goal.
– After the game I was very happy and I thought “finally!” This is an important goal, even if I was even more happy as the Devils won the game. It’s not that I felt myself stuck in a goalless series, but of course I truly wanted to score my first goal. Naturally, this will is common within our whole team.
– What were the hardest things in the adaptation from the KHL to the NHL? Anything that you noticed right away?
– The most notable thing here [in the NHL] is the struggle for the puck in each square feet of the rink. Here you don’t have time to think and take a decision. Also I noticed that there is a lot of difference between the pre-season and the regular season games in the NHL. Speed and intensity are very different.
– Recently you are getting more and more ice time. Is this a good scenario for you?
– Sure it is! The more I play, the better it is. When you get into game practice, it’s like you have fresh forces.
– Who are your linemates?
– There is always quite a rotation in our lines, therefore I don’t have constant linemates. I don’t see anything terrible on this, each player of our team should be able to play with any other player of the team.
– The Devils had a rocky start of the season, with four straight defeats, but then things changed for the better. Did your rookie head coach John Hynes give you other indications?
– No, simply on ice I have to do what I can do best. Do what the coach asks for and support the game plan our coach gives us. I can’t tell you more, in the NHL these things must stay within the locker room. But we have to believe in our system and play every game as it’s the last one.
– What’s the difference between coaches in the KHL and in the NHL?
– There are no big differences. Our coach loves to win and does everything to achieve his goal. But here there is a little bit different approach to the games: every game is very important and any single point is worth as much as gold. And everyone understands that.
– Are you in touch with other Russian players who left the KHL in 2015 summer? Who is playing best in your opinion? Who isn’t getting enough of a chance?
– I try to be in touch with all other Russian guys in the NHL. After the game we have two minutes to talk, to ask how things are doing and to know at what point they are. And regarding the question about who’s playing best and who needs a chance, I’m sure that our fans know the reply themselves.
– Did you manage to follow the Karjala Cup from North America? The Russian national team finished the competition only at the third position.
– I didn’t have a chance to watch the actual games, therefore I can’t give any commentary on this matter. I read the interviews, and it was evident that our guys wanted to win the cup, and I do know that they have all the potential to win in such tournaments. I’m sure that they’ll have their revenge at the Channel One Cup in Moscow next December.
A professional hockey writer and translator. Loves Russian culture, language, and hockey. Reachable on twitter @AlexSerenRosso