Saturday, May 21, 2011

More on the Zherdev incident

Russian news channel Life News reports the following on the incident between Nikolay Zherdev and his wife:

The incident occurred at around 4 pm in front of the restaurant Osteria di Campagna.

According to Zherdev's wife, Evgenia Chernova, 33, she was not with her husband at the restaurant. Nikolay was at the restaurant and called his wife to come and pick him up. He also told his wife to hurry up and that he didn't want to wait for long. Evgenia describes Nikolay being in a bad mood that day.

Evgenia drove to the restaurant, parked the car and waited for Nikolay to come to the car. Nikolay went to the car, but couldn't get in as Evgenia had locked the doors. Apparently meant as a joke, but it only angered Nikolay.

"He grabbed the first thing he found - a metal object - and started pounding on the car", Evgenia told the police. "At the same time he yelled at me that he was going to kill me."

An eyewitness of the incident, a security guard of the restaurant, Vyacheslav, told his own version of the story, noting that it was Chernova who provoked the incident.

"When she arrived, especially in the beginning, she kept going back and forth, teasing him. That's when the man lost his nerves. He grabbed a road triangle and hit the car twice."

Interestingly, according to Vyacheslav, Zherdev never shouted 'I will kill you', but 'I love you'.

Nonetheless, Chernova hurried away and left the scene. After an hour she returned, accompanied by police officers.

According to preliminary estimates, the damage Zherdev caused to the car is worth around $35 000.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Leino earning ice time

Ville Leino is happy with the way his line has kept playing.

"We’ve played well most of the time and you don’t want to fix something that isn’t broken. The coach seems to trust us a lot and that’s a good thing. Our line has been kept together and things have gone well overall."

Leino laughs when he tells that even their team mates haven’t been able to name their line.

"I haven’t heard any suggestions. It’s been a pretty tough job to find a name for us. I haven’t even heard anyone [on the team] making fun of us, and usually they don’t go that easy on you."

"Everyone on the team has been happy with the way our line has worked."

Leino says the competition for roster spots in the lineup is enjoyable, but tough.

"It does motivate you, but it isn’t always that easy either. I’d gladly play more."

"Of course winning is nice, but you have to earn your ice time. It’s not easy to get into the lineup."

At the same time, Leino says it’s not easy to be the coach on a stacked team like the Flyers. He thinks Peter Laviolette has done a good job at it.

"It’s not easy for the coach to play his players when you have lots of good players. Laviolette has been fair with the way he hands out ice time. Nothing comes free and I’m sure it’s the only way to play a good team. It’s hard to keep everybody happy when there are many good players, but I think he’s done a good job at it."

After losing in the Stanley Cup finals twice in a row, it’s no surprise if winning the Cup is the main goal for Leino this season.

"It is the ultimate goal. I know how hard it is to win it. It’s the main goal for this season."

To reach that goal, the Flyers must have success in the playoffs and for that to happen, the team must keep working hard right now. There is no room to loosen up.

"When you’re playing this time of the season and it looks like you’re clearly in the playoffs, you have to remember to keep working hard. If you let things go a bit and lose focus, you can get stuck with that mindset in the playoffs."

"Everything is possible, but I don’t see huge problems for us as long as we keep working at 100%."

Source: Yle

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Get to know Joacim Eriksson

Joacim Eriksson talks about goaltending, his junior career, his relationship with his ex-team Brynäs and ex-team mate, Panthers prospect Jacob Markström, coaches, dogs, last season, national team, how he ended up in Skellefteå, his talks with the Flyers and you name it what else.

Let's start with how he became a goaltender.

"When I was a kid I played every other game as a goalie and as a skater in Hedesunda. When I was seven I was given the chance to be a full time goalie. It went well for me and I thought it was cool to make saves."

It still feels cool today.

"Yeah. It's such a special challenge; the pressure you have for your goalie. He's the last guy who can do something about the puck going in or not."

Eriksson started his junior career with Brynäs, but it wasn't his first option.

"I applied in hockey colleges in some bigger places, but I didn't get in. I was a third goalie on the Gästriksland team at the TV-Puck tournament. But I kept working and had a good time all the time. I never felt any pressure about hockey. It wasn't a must for me. I just wanted to go forward all the time."

"One summer I went to try on the Brynäs U18 junior team. We had five goalies and I kept thinking: 'Will I make it?' and 'Do I have to go to another team?' But it went really well for me and me and one of the other guys got to play."

That one other guy was Jacob Markström, the biggest goalie talent in Sweden.

"Yeah. Me and Jacob played together on the U20 team. He got to play a little more than I did and I felt that in the most important games it was him who got to play."

"Most of all, Jacob has a winner's mentality."

By "winner's mentality" Eriksson means...

"If I was really good at some practice, he was bitter. Then he kept working and was amazing at the next practice."

"It was a huge battle between us."

Eriksson says he's not staying in touch with Markström on a regular basis anymore.

"Not that we'd call each other, but if we meet, we talk."

Eriksson sees a very bright future ahead for his old partner in battle.

"He's big in goal and has such good hockey sense. I believe that he's going to play in Florida already this season."

Eriksson admits that he wants to show Brynäs now that it was a mistake for them not to trust him instead.

"Yeah, I'm definitely going to show them what I can do. With them, I got to sit on the bench in some Elitserien game at best. Before last season they wanted to loan me to some Allsvenskan team or have me continue on their junior team. But I didn't want that at all."

"Skellefteå was interested already then. But I thought that the best for my development would be to spend a year with Leksand."

Eriksson says he's very thankful to Leksand coach Leif Strömberg for his success last season.

"I went there to be the backup. That was the role they wanted me in. But I played better than Timo [Leinonen] and got to play. It gave me a lot of confidence and it meant a lot to me that the coach had faith in me right from the start of the season."

"Strömberg was a special coach. He didn't accept mistakes. I've gotten a lot of crap from him."

"When we had our first on-ice practice I let a couple shots in and he started yelling that we need to replace the goalie coach. It was pretty tough to hear as a new guy..."

Skellefteå coach Anders Forsberg is different type.

"He's special too, but in his own way. I've had him on the junior national team. He shows what he wants, it's easy to understand what he means and he speaks relaxed and understandably. He's not a hot head."

Eriksson isn't a hot head either. Skellefteå goalie coach Krister Holm calls Eriksson a "child of nature". Though Eriksson isn't sure what Holm means by that.

"I don't know. But I haven't had a goalie coach when I was a kid, so maybe it's that I'm pretty self-educated to begin with and I've done a lot of things by just feel."

"Everyone also says that I'm so calm, but I'm not sure if that's true."

The season has barely started, but there's already talk about Eriksson playing for the national team eventually. Team Sweden goalie coach Stefan Lahde is one who said that Eriksson on the national team is not an "if", but a "when".

"National team is definitely a dream for me. Yes, Elitserien has also been a dream. When I was a kid and went to see games in Gävle I thought: 'Oh, I'd like to be there!' and the Brynäs players were my biggest idols."

"But now I'm trying not to look too far ahead. I'm just trying to stop all the pucks every day. That's hard enough. We have many skilled shooters on the team and they also let me hear it extra loud when they score on me in practice."

"Christian Söderström and Jimmie Ericsson do that the most. So those two are the ones I especially don't want to score on me..."

After a successful last season with Leksand, Eriksson says the Flyers decided that it was best for him to play in the Elitserien next. Though there was some hesitation about it at first.

"The Flyers didn't really know if they'd want me to come over, but then they decided that it could be good for me to play some years in the Elitserien."

Eriksson certainly had many takers in the market after his record setting year in the Allsvenskan.

"Leksand wanted to keep me there and I also had many options in the Elitserien. Brynäs was also interested in me, but they wanted a quick decision from me since they thought it was so hard to find goalies in the market. Then things went like they did with their goalies that moved over to North America."

"But I didn't want to decide already before the post-season with Leksand and Skellefteå was willing to wait."

"It was an important matter to me that there was an understanding and that it was easy for me to concentrate on the post-season. It also felt right when I went to Skellefteå to meet with the club. I got a good gut feeling."

"It felt right with the goalie coach and everything else. The club helped me with the apartment and everything. Sometimes they've also arranged a babysitter for my dog when needed."

Talking about dogs, they're close to Eriksson's heart.

"I have a calm German Shepherd named Bianca. I like to train her and take good care of her. I've take her to an exhibition once and she came third."

"I got her last season in Leksand. I had been wanting to get a dog for a long time and eventually I just decided to get one."

But back to hockey. The way the goalies have been played in the preseason and in the first two regular season games in Skellefteå has created a very interesting situation in goal. Both goalies have played an equal amount of games. Eriksson has another battle ahead, similar to what he had with Markström in Brynäs. Now he'll be battling with Andreas Hadelöv who's coming off of the best season in his long career. Hadelöv was also voted as the best player in Skellefteå last season by the team's fans. Sounds like a good challenge.

"It feels like the step between juniors and the Allsvenskan is bigger than the step between the Allsvenskan and Elitserien. I'm going to fight as hard as I can to not sit on the bench. I definitely don't want to sit. I want to play and so does Hadelöv. Neither one wants to sit."

Eriksson doesn't know if the current "every other game" rotation will continue from now on.

"I don't really know. The one who's best is going to play, that's what they say."

"It's been said that we're going to fight for the position, that the best will play, but also that we're going to rotate."

Eriksson says he feels confident and he's ready for the challenge.

"I feel big in goal, I cover the net a lot and I can use both sides well, the glove and the stick."

The battle between Eriksson and Hadelöv seems even on the ice, but...

"I think it feels pretty even between me and Hadelöv. It's only in squash where it's uneven. He's terrific at squash and beats me really easily..."

Joacim Eriksson Quick Facts

Where does Skellefteå finish in the regular season?


Who will be the biggest positive surprise on the team?
"Joacim Eriksson"

"Train Bianca, fishing, movies, other sports"

Favorite sports teams?
"Anaheim Ducks when I was a kid. Liverpool"

TV show?
"Two and a half men, Simpsons"

"Relaxing music"

"Don't remember when I read a book"


Goal or assist?

Night at home or night out?
"Night at home"

Last thing you do before a game?
"I go to the crease, get in the V position, get up again and check my glove and blocker to get the right feel"

First thing you do after a game?
"Depends on how it went. If we won I dance and jump"

First thing you do in the morning?
"Go out with Bianca. She eats before I do. Then I watch some TV and go to practice"

Last thing you do in the evening?
"Brush my teeth"

Source: VF

Monday, September 20, 2010

Vyacheslav Butsayev sharing Flyers memories

This season there's going to be some Russian players on the Flyers again. It's been a while and the combination hasn't worked out well very often for either the team or the player. Current head coach of Red Army, the junior team for the CSKA Moscow, Vyacheslav Butsayev, 39, shares his memories from the early 1990's.

The starting point for Butsayev's NHL journey wasn't ideal to begin with. Now he admits he wasn't ready for it.

"We lost a lot of more or less experienced players from CSKA before the 1992 season. One was Andrei Kovalenko. I didn't want to be a mentor at the age of 22, so I had to leave."

"I wasn't ready when I went to play in the NHL. This is one of my lessons to the kids today."

Butsayev says it straight; his NHL career was a disappointment.

"It was. I went to Philadelphia and it wasn't the best of times for me."

"Right before I went there, they got Eric Lindros who was supposed to be the successor for Wayne Gretzky. A year before Lindros had already played in the Canada Cup and he hadn't even played in the NHL yet. Eric didn't want to play in Québec that drafted him and demanded a trade. And he got it."

If Butsayev's memories of his NHL career aren't very positive, his memories of Lindros aren't any more positive either.

"He was a self-conscious young man who was allowed to do a lot of things. He could break the rules and it would go unpunished."

"He had talent, but he was far away from Gretzky."

"I also met him in the Canada Cup in 1991. He skated like a rocket and tried to do it all by himself. We weren't afraid of him, we played a 3-3 game with Canada. We then went on to beat him in the Olympics in Albertville in 1992 and at the World Championships in Munich in 1993."

But there was also a man who surprised Butsayev in a positive manner.

"The coach [Bill Dineen]. Old man, a father of one of the team's leaders, Kevin Dineen."

"We had lost a few games in a row and he put up a funny sign in the locker room that had three keys to victory; "Take 50 shots on goal, steal the puck 30 times and don't turn the puck over in the neutral zone more than ten times or you'll lose!"

"He also took the players to the bar at his own expense."

"I couldn't do that with the Red Army."

While Butsayev's visit in Philadelphia didn't go all too well, a move to San Jose didn't turn things any better. He got to play very little in California; a combined 18 games in two seasons.

"I barely played at all! The Sharks coach Kevin Constantine had his prejudices against Russians. There were Sergei Makarov and Igor Larionov, young Sandis Ozolinsh and Andrei Nazarov. My only relief was the period when I was put on the same line with Makarov and Larionov. Getting to play with such team mates felt great right away."

Source: Sovietsky Sport

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Joacim Eriksson in a perfect situation

Elitserien starts today. There's a ton of hype built around the 20 year old Skellefteå goaltender Joacim Eriksson. Not a single game in the season has been played yet, but hockey experts around the nation are already suggesting that Eriksson could start for Team Sweden at the World Championships next spring. He hasn't even started his first career game in the Elitserien yet.

Eriksson keeps his feet on the ground and doesn't think about the hype. He rather moves the focus on the team, away from himself.

"I can't think about just myself", he says. "Now I'm up in the Elitserien with Skellefteå, so it's just about taking the chance and not think too much. I want to show what I can do and focus on what I'm good at; play hockey. I don't think of myself as a talent. I'm just one guy on the team."

But the hype hasn't come out of nowhere. It hasn't come without a reason. Eriksson's career so far has gone up like a rocket.

"I played a lot of junior hockey in Valbo and then I went to Brynäs", Eriksson recalls his career this far. "There me and [Jacob] Markström played every other game a lot. Then things started going really well for him and he got the call up. After that it started going really well for myself, too. We came second place in the league and I was drafted."

Eriksson says that being drafted by the Flyers gave him extra motivation in his young career.

"It was very special to get drafted. It really gave me something to push for. You couldn't give up at that point."

Eriksson says he had a choice to make before the start of last season. He had the option to stay in Brynäs, behind highly talented Panthers prospect Markström, or go play for Leksand in the minor league Allsvenskan.

"It was a tough choice, but I chose Leksand. I signed for one year to get to see what would happen next. I took a little risk there since I could've been injured for example. But I'm glad that I took that risk."

Now one of Eriksson's dreams is about to come true as his first Elitserien start is just around the corner.

"It's going to be cool, I've missed having this chance. Elitserien has always been my dream. It reminds me of the time when I was a little kid and got to see Brynäs play. It was awesome."

In Skellefteå Eriksson will battle with veteran goalie Andreas Hadelöv for ice time. The two goalies played every other game in the preseason and the battle is expected to be hard and equal all season. Eriksson calls the situation perfect.

"It's the perfect situation for both of us. We know that we have to work hard, but also that we both get to play. It's tough, but good."

Many consider this goalie tandem to be the best in the league, but if you mention that to Eriksson, he quickly dodges all possible praise again.

"I don't know about that. We don't waste our energy on thinking about things like that. We both just focus on the things that we're good at."

Eriksson says he's overall much more calm and relaxed today compared to how he used to be, on and off the ice.

"It used to be the end of the world to me if I let in one goal. Now I'm more about getting over it as fast as possible and just move on."

Source: Norran

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Simon Bertilsson injured again

Simon Bertilsson's injury woes aren't going away. His last season was ruined by several injuries, including knee and shoulder injuries as well as a concussion. All those problems gave Bertilsson extra motivation to train harder than ever before this summer, but now this season seems to have a nightmare start - again.

Bertilsson suffered a knee injury in the last preseason game. He was able to finish the game, but afterwards it turned out to be worse than expected. He will miss at least two weeks of game action.

"Simon has undergone an orthopedic scan and while there seems to be no big damage, we're talking about at least fourteen days before he can play a game", said medical staff member Glen Hellström.

Elitserien starts already on Thursday, but obviously playing then will not be an option for Bertilsson.

"No, it doesn't look like that", Bertilsson confirms. "Something very special would need to happen for that to work out. It's sad because I've really looked forward to it all summer and preseason."

"Of course it feels fucking bitter."

Right now Bertilsson's knee is too swollen for skating and practicing to work out.

"He's had crutches last weekend, but he can start training in the gym this week", Hellström explains.

The good news for Bertilsson is that at least it wasn't the same knee he blew last season when the injury prevented him from playing at the World Junior Championships.

"Yeah, it was the other knee then."

Despite the latest setback, Bertilsson remains positive overall as he feels he has been playing well and developed a lot from last season.

"I think we've played well in preseason. And that means the whole team, excluding the last game."

Bertilsson has a clear thought on what area specifically he has developed the most in his game.

"Offensively. I join the attack a little more in the offensive zone than what I have done before. I can do more and go on for longer since I've trained better."

Source: Arbetarbladet

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Denis Bodrov back next year?

Denis Bodrov says he's aware of the punishment the KHL gave him last year because of the secret double contract he had with the Lada Togliatti two years ago. Bodrov will be suspended for 10 games at the start of the season.

"Yeah, I know. But I'm still hoping that the league would forgive me and cancel the punishment."

Bodrov says the competition for roster spots is hard on the Moscow Spartak team and he can't expect to get a spot handed to him without a battle.

"I can't be sure about having a spot. The competition for spots is indeed very serious. And the coach demands us to take each game as it was our last. You should see me in the games."

Bodrov confirms his contract with Spartak is for one year.

"I have a contract for one year and I think I will stay the whole year with Spartak."

Bodrov also confirms that the Flyers did offer him a contract this summer.

"Yes, they did. But I started having personal reasons for a return. My wife was pregnant and she was about to deliver the baby, so there was no chance of going to another country. I could've played hockey, but my wife would've been alone with a baby with no grandparents around. She also doesn't speak any English. Could we have moved in such a situation?"

Bodrov says the Flyers understood the situation.

"They were understanding. They said that they would be happy to see me again."

Bodrov admits that the aggressive game in the AHL surprised him.

"There was a lot of battling, aggressive play on special teams. I haven't experienced that in Russia."

"The Togliatti junior system actually prefers physical hockey, but not to the magnitude of the American style. Fortunately I adapted quickly. And I didn't get into fights. If there were concerns that everyone would want to challenge a Russian, it never happened. It was normal hockey and the team treated me well."

Bodrov said buses became familiar in the AHL.

"Yeah, I sat in plenty of buses. But the conditions were quite comfortable. I had Wi-fi access all the time, so I was able to communicate with relatives during the trips. And the roads there are better!"

Source: KHL