Mikhail Suslikov has followed Pavel Datsyuk since he was little and even has attended his camp.
This Sunday Tyumensky Legion forward Mikhail Suslikov kicked off the shootout against Sibirskie Snaipery with some style as he pulled off a Datsyukian move.
It’s difficult to tell Suslikov’s attempt from the original, which incidentally accrued over five million views on KHL YouTube channel. The forward opened up about his additional practices, unexpected popularity and other details about the shootout attempt. He also shared his thoughts on Tyumensky Legion missing the playoffs.
— Is the shootout move something you’ve worked on at practices or was it an improvisation?
- It’s something I’ve worked on at practices. I rehearsed it at several practices. I would stay on the ice after practice and would take about 20 shots on net. I worked on the move so that the puck would get elevated. I asked our goaltender Stas Pylayev what would be the best way to draw a goalie out. And, obviously, I used Pavel Datsyuk’s shootout attempt as a template. I watched it several times to get it right. The game against Sibirskie Snaipery went to the shootout and I decided to go for it. Actually, I always try new and exciting things at practices.
- The shootout attempt blew up on social and regular media. How did you react to getting popular?
- Obviously, it’s great to see many people repost my shootout attempt. To be honest with you, I was blown away by it! And, of course, my family supported me. Everyone was very happy for me. As for myself, I’m grateful to my family for giving me the opportunity to play hockey.
- How frustrating is the fact that despite your effort the team still lost to Sibirskie Snaipery?
- It was frustrating, obviously. We really wanted to win but the opposition went on to prevail in the shootout. [Sibirskie Snaipery goaltender] Tabatchikov did a great job. He stopped two of my last attempts and won the game. As for crashing into the boards after scoring on that shootout attempt, it’s nothing to worry about. That’s what hockey is about.
- Some go as far as saying that your attempt was even more beautiful than that of Datsyuk’s. Should we rename the move to Suslikovian?
- I think, it should stay named after Pavel Valerievich. I saw Datsyuk go for it and then just copied it at practices. I also went to his camp a few times in Kurganov [at Pavel Datsyuk hockey school near Yekaterinburg]. He showed me his skills. It’s pure magic. Pavel Datsyuk is a legend. I’m nothing compared to him.
- What do you find the inspiration for these ideas?
- I watch KHL and NHL games. I have always admired Datsyuk’s skill. I have followed him ever since I was kid. In KHL it’s Vadim Shipachyov who plays awesome hockey. I also like Evgeny Kuznetsov but he’s always been amazing.
- What did Tyumensky Legion lack to make the playoffs this year?
- I believe we lacked experience. We had a lot of rookies on the team this year. Will and effort were there but we could have used more experience and skill. And that showed. We’re going to do our best to move forward every year. Hopefully, next season the boys will make the playoffs.