Friday, July 23, 2010

Bobrovsky ready to conquer America

Sergei Bobrovsky says he didn't consult other NHL players before deciding to sign with the Flyers. Talking with his agent and parents was enough.

He doesn't know when or where the Flyers noticed him.

"They came to talk to me during last season. I had a long thought about it."

Bobrovsky isn't bothered by the fact that he wasn't a drafted junior star like Semyon Varlamov, another young goalie that Bobrovsky is often compared to.

"The junior level is a past level", Bobrovsky explains. "You can shine at that level and then fade. Everyone has their own life. Semyon has simply shown that nothing is impossible. I'm not comparing myself to him."

Bobrovsky isn't afraid of the competition in goal.

"What should I say? Why would I go if I was scared? I repeat: nothing is impossible. I'm going to work and do my best. It's no use to guess how it pans out."

Bobrovsky says he doesn't mind playing in the minor leagues and that he has to adjust to the differences of the North American game.

"It's very rare for European goalies to avoid the AHL. It's a part of your climb to the top. You get used to the rinks and the game. They shoot more and pass less than in Europe. And I have to get used to that. If a goalie makes one mistake there, it's a goal."

"I've signed a two-way contract for three years. So if they send me to the AHL or whatever other league, I'm ready."

Bobrovsky also notes that three years is not a deadline to him.

"I don't set deadlines. The goal is to play in the NHL. I'm going to hunt for my dream."

Bobrovsky says he's not speaking much English yet.

"I'm dealing with it, but I don't feel pressure to communicate. Well, at least now they signed Nikolai Zherdev. So I have someone I can talk with. There's also Oskars Bartulis. On the other hand, when you're with foreigners, you adjust faster to the environment and the language."

Bobrovsky says his first impressions of the Flyers are very good.

"Great organization. It's very comfortable for the players, you just go and play. There's a great atmosphere in the locker room, people are friendly."

Bobrovsky doesn't know where he's going to live yet.

"It depends on which team I'll play on. I'll have a rented apartment first in any case. It wouldn't make sense to buy something now."

Bobrovsky had a financially better offer from SKA that eventually ended up signing Evgeni Nabokov. Money is not important to Bobrovsky.

"You could say that. NHL is the league where the best players are. It's been my childhood dream up to this day to play there. So money wasn't the deciding factor."

Bobrovsky gets philosophical when he talks about goaltending.

"Goaltender is a separate character in the game. There are many skaters, but just one goalie. We definitely need inner peace and psychological balance for the game. Nothing must disturb and distract us."

Sometimes it's not easy when there's heavy traffic in the crease.

"Certainly. But it's human nature to get used to everything. Therefore, over time, all those hits lose their importance. I, for example, concentrate exclusively on the game and the goals. I don't pay attention to the rest."

"I'm very calm in life in general. It's very hard to ruffle me."

Bobrovsky also graduated recently from a Pedagogical Academy. Hockey players aren't known for their high education, but Bobrovsky doesn't see anything special about it.

"It seems natural that after school a man goes for higher education..."

Bobrovsky denies the education being a backup plan for himself.

"I've played for a long time and set the bar high for myself. Education is just education."

Becoming a coach could be an option later.

"Why not... But I also have other ideas. And that's all after my career is over, not now."

But let's come back from the future. Bobrovsky says he's been enjoying his vacation.

"I went to the Maldives and the Emirates after the season, a total of 25 days. Once I came back to Novokuznetsk I started going to the rink again and did some athletic training, then went to the Flyers prospect camp."

"Now I'm waiting for Metallurg to come out of vacation. I rather train with the guys."

"Then I'll be going to the Flyers training camp and conquer America", he finishes with a laugh.

Quotes from today's Sports Daily

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