One of the league’s finest snipers, Vladimir Tarasenko recently scored his 100th NHL goal. In this translated interview, originally appearing on the popular Russian website Sport Express, Blues forward Vladimir Tarasenko talked about his milestone goal, discussed some other Russian NHL players, and shed some light on his mindset towards the game.
* For the original Sport Express article by Igor Rabiner, click here.
– Did you collect the puck of your 100th NHL goal?
– Yes, but not me directly. My line mates collected it from the refs and gave it to me later.
[pull_quote_right author=”Vladimir Tarasenko”]I think that nothing is impossible. You only need to work hard and believe in yourself[/pull_quote_right]
– How many of these pucks there are in your collections?
– I have the puck of my first goal, and I also have the puck of my 50th.
– It looks like a solid collection already.
– But I definitely need some more pieces.
– Was your 100th goal a big event for you?
– Not bad. Of course I can’t say that it was a goal like all the others, let’s say that it was one of such goals that help you in motivating you further towards new achievements.
– Are you satisfied about your stats? Do you think it’s possible to score 50 goals and fight for the Maurice Richard Trophy against Alex Ovechkin?
– I think that nothing is impossible. You only need to work hard and believe in yourself. Results will come this way.
– What do you think you need to work on?
– On everything. Goals just don’t come down from the skies, each goal is the result of hard work. Both in the practices and in the shift you are in when you score. Every aspect is very important.
– Many regard your wristshot as one of the best in the league, if not the best.
– You always need to work hard. Even if today you are the best, if you stop working, tomorrow you’ll just be like all the others.
– In what aspects of the hockey sniping art do you try to follow Ovechkin’s example?
– Why are you saying that I’m following his example? But on the other hand, if I’ll say that I am not following his example wouldn’t be correct. The most correct thing to say is that I follow all the players who score a lot of goals. In particular, the Russian ones. I’m not saying that I’m taking something from them, but in any case watching at other players is always useful because you have a chance to learn something new. But the most important thing is to focus on your stronger sides and try to be yourself, and not to imitate others.
– By mid-December you were one of the top goal-scorers in the league, but in January you didn’t score as much. Why?
– Simply I wasn’t too lucky in that period. What exactly… I need to analyze it in the off-season so that it won’t happen again.
– Your father in one of the recent interviews said that he doesn’t like the term “star”, he prefers “supermaster”. Then he said that you’re still a “master”.
– Can’t argue your own father. I think that usually in Russia children are grown like that, your father is an inviolable authority. If he said it, then let it be. This stimulates me to work even harder.
– Your father also told that in your childhood you played a lot like Jaromir Jagr. Especially because you usually shot the puck when no one was expecting it. Who was your childhood idol?
– My idol was my father. Having he and my grandfather working on me helped me a lot. They spent a lot of time with me. I think this was what give the most results.
– Recently you said that you talk with Joni Lehtera in Russian. Were you joking?
– Sometimes I do. He kind of understands. And can also talk. He played many years in Russia, he knows the language.
– Was it helpful to have with you a player you played with before?
– Of course. It’s great to play with a guy with whom you already played. And this is the second year already.
– But some say that what you lack to score 50 goals a season is an elite center.
– People talk a lot. You need to find things within yourself, and only then try to find other reasons.
– It looks like your long-term contract didn’t influence your game. Was there no euphoria?
– No, I didn’t feel any euphoria. I was very happy, not because of the money, but because of the stability of playing eight years in the same team.
– Were you expecting that your friends Artemi Panarin and Evgeny Kuznetsov would have such a strong season?
– Of course I am very happy for them. And I am also glad that there are other two guys from the [2011 WJC] gold metal team [in the NHL]: Sergey Kalinin and Dmitry Orlov. I was feeling bad for Dmitry after he had to miss a whole season, we are friends for long time already. I’m glad that they are playing well and I’m sincerely happy for them. I also would like to say one more thing: we, unfortunately, lost two guys [Yury Urychev and Daniil Sobchenko, in the Lokomotiv Yaroslavl airplane crash]. We remember them and we play for them.
– Thank you for these words. Would you like to play with Kuznetsov and Panarin on the same line at the World Cup?
– Yes, of course. We already played together, and even scored a couple of goals at junior level (laughs).
– Do you have any competition between yourself, for example, who scores more goals, or something like that?
– No, we do not. But before the games we always find some time to talk. We know each other for a long time already.
– If the Blues will get out of the playoffs early, are you ready to play for the national team at the IIHF WC in home soil?
– I’m not ready to discuss about it. I am thinking only to the playoffs.
– Are you following what is happening to your former team and line mate Ilya Kovalchuk?
– When we played together for SKA he helped me a lot. Both on and off the ice. And I am such a guy who always cheers for the people who gave me good things. I think there are some problems within the team, I can’t say from here. I just want to give Ilya my support. I hope that all will be good. He is a great player and a great person. I’m sure that all will be ok.
– Overall you’re having a good season. What do you need to achieve in order to consider a season successful?
– Winning everything.
– And scoring how many goals?
– As many as possible!
A professional hockey writer and translator. Loves Russian culture, language, and hockey. Reachable on twitter @AlexSerenRosso