In this translated interview, originally appearing on SovSport.ru, Flyers’ blueliner Yevgeni Medvedev talked about his adaptation to North America, declared that he needs to work on his stamina and shed some light on his ties with the rest of the Flyers locker room.
* For the original SovSport.ru article by Natalia Bragilevskaya, click here.
– Is it hard to play in the NHL after so many seasons in the KHL?
– The hardest thing is playing back-to-back games, where you have to play two games in two nights. You have it in the KHL, too. But I’m trying to adapt to the new pace, everything looks smaller, but faster. I hope that I’ll get used to it. I feel that I’m playing better with each game. But we are followed by our conditioning coach and everything is under control. I don’t feel any problem here.
– Now you’re taking part in preseason games, many rosters still have a lot of prospects. The true test for you will be to play the whole NHL season. How do you plan to save energy not to get to the playoffs short of gas?
– In the last four or five seasons, I played about 100 games a season, counting the KHL regular season, the playoffs, and the games with the national team. Yes, it was hard and it also meant ups and downs. But I’ll try to minimize them. I don’t know how it will be in the NHL. Time will tell. But I’ll work as hard as possible to improve and resolve my conditioning problems.
– What do you need to work on the most?
– I need to work on my stamina. But it’s just a matter of time, nothing terrible.
– Only on that?
– I’ll be frank, in the first few games I felt uncomfortable. I was kind of lost for the first 10 minutes, I couldn’t find my way. Everything was that fast. Even faster than with the national team. I talked with the guys and they explained to me that during preseason games, there are many young players, and they are faster. But I managed to get used to it, I think that in the second and third period of the first game I did what I had to do.
– Were you familiar with the NHL before getting to North America?
– Of course I was, I watched many games.
– Hockey in the NHL is tougher and physically more demanding.
– I’m not ready to talk about how I’ll look in the NHL yet. The season will show everything. But I’ll do everything that’s up to me. I’ll try to play as long as possible in this league. I have only the best impressions from the NHL, even better than what I thought.
– Do you regret not being here sooner?
– There’s no point to thinking that way.
– Well, anyway…
– Yes, sometimes I have this thought.
– What language do you talk in the locker room?
– In English, of course. I try to talk the best I can. I talk on the phone through a translator. I’m not the first nor the last guy to feel the language barrier. I knew what I was up against when I decided to move here. I intentionally got out of my comfort zone to grow and improve as a player.
– What did you know about the Flyers?
– I knew that Sergei Bobrovsky, Nikolai Zherdev (and) Ilya Bryzgalov played here. I spent a lot of time with Ilya at the 2013 IIHF WC talking about Philadelphia, when I was invited there. I asked him: “What can you tell me about Philadelphia?” and I heard from Bryzgalov only good things.
– Do you have a nickname already?
– Medi, Mets.
– Have you explained to your teammates what your surname means in Russian?
– Yes, they know that I’m a bear.
– In the Flyers locker room, do they know some Russian words?
– Do you mean swearing?
– Bryzgalov always talked with his teammates in a colorful way.
– They keep on swearing in Russian. (laughs)
– How is your everyday stuff going? Have you managed to settle down?
– I came here half a month before the start of the training camp and I rented a place near the practice rink, where many other guys are living. I’m getting settled now. Soon I’ll be joined by my family.
– Who is helping you do all the little things like paying the bills or getting a car?
– I got a car with the help of [Flyers skating coach] Vyacheslav Kuznetsov. He helps me with translations and introduced me to my teacher Svetlana, who helped me find a place and many other things. I’m very grateful to them for such support. Also, I’ve already made some American friends. I visited them and their family, and they help me. I gradually got into this rhythm and I don’t have any problem.
Yevgeni Medvedev statistics:
[Related: Yevgeni Medvedev: The Flyers X-Factor]
A professional hockey writer and translator. Loves Russian culture, language, and hockey. Reachable on twitter @AlexSerenRosso