MARSEL SHOLOKHOV: “KRUCHININ MAKES JOKES THAT HE’S LOOKING AFTER KRAVTSOV AND ME”

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02.05.2018 в 10:17

MARSEL SHOLOKHOV: “KRUCHININ MAKES JOKES THAT HE’S LOOKING AFTER KRAVTSOV AND ME”

Last season multiple Junior Hockey League players were called up to their KHL teams. One of the stars of the Gagarin Cup Playoffs was Marsel Sholokhov, who helped Traktor Chelyabinsk defeat Neftekhimik Nizhnekamsk and Salavat Yulaev Ufa. Sholokhov also managed to help Belye Medvedi Chelyabinsk win the only game of the series against SKA-1946 St. Petersburg. ‘Polar Bears’ won the only game Sholokhov was dressed for. After the end of the season Sholokhov shared his thoughts on playing on the same line with Vitaly Kravtsov, winning two bronze medals, his first career KHL goal and broken nose.

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- What brought you to hockey?

- My dad was watching a hockey game on TV one night. I was three years old at the time. I grabbed a stick and started miming what I saw on TV. My parents decided that I should try myself in hockey. When I was a kid, my dad took me to a lot of Traktor games, I still keep the tickets. That was back in Superleague times when Traktor played at Yunost Ice Palace.

- You made your debut in two leagues in the 2015-16 season – KHL and JHL.

- I had good results in my rookie Junior Hockey League season so I was often called up to practice with the KHL team. One time I came to a practice after which the team was supposed to leave to Magnitogorsk. Anvar Rafailovich Gatiyatulin comes up to me and asks why I didn’t bring any of my stuff. And I just stand there and smile. I thought he was joking. I didn’t even think he’d bring me along for the road trip. I had to call my parents and tell them to pack for me really quick. In the end, I watched the game in Magnitogorsk from the stands and made my debut in the next game – I played three shifts in Khanty-Mansiysk. Interestingly, I scored my first career KHL goal also on Ugra but it happened only this season. It was great that I scored right before the playoffs. I felt that I could score in this league and went on to score again in the post-season.

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- Although, the fans mostly remember you because of the fight against Pavel Poryadin from Neftekhimik.

- I had to stand up for my goaltender in that episode because Poryadin bumped into him. I wouldn’t go as far as calling it a fight, though. We just pushed and shoved each other a bit. Nobody taught me how to fight. I think, it’s pretty straightforward. Whoever landed the first hit, whoever grabbed his opponent better, he’s the one who won the fight.


- Starting from last season you play more often in the KHL than JHL.

- Last season I spent the pre-season with KHL team and practiced with them almost all season long. I was dressed as their 13th forward, so I played very rarely. When they had the chance, they would send me down to Chelmet to gain game experience and I played fewer games for Belye Medvedi. That’s how I came to have more KHL games than JHL games.

 

- Vitaly Kravtsov is one year your junior but his statistics are better. Why is that?

- He’s doing a great job, he’s developing really fast. It’s still a mystery to me why he didn’t make Team Russia’s roster for the World Juniors. As for his statistics, I have a slight problem with getting points. I have to get through it and get more productive. We have a great atmosphere in our dressing-room, everyone talks to everyone. We have such a great relationship that sometimes you forget that some guys are 30 years old. Alexei Kruchinin makes jokes that he looks after Kravtsov and me. But, actually, everybody on the team helps us to adapt.

 

- After Traktor got eliminated from Gagarin Cup Playoffs, you competed in Kharlamov Cup Playoffs.

- It was difficult to switch to the series against SKA-1946. Not as much physically, although playing three games in four days is also very difficult, but more emotionally. After Traktor got eliminated, it was difficult to get pumped again and find motivation. I didn’t do much for Belye Medvedi in the only game I played.

 

- And you got badly banged up, too. What happened?

- It was just a hockey play. When I broke my nose, I didn’t even process what had happened. It was painful but manageable. I even managed to get up and skate the other way. It was only later that I noticed that I was pouring blood all over and asked the referee to stop the game. Actually, breaking nose is not that painful. It’s more painful to get it fixed. I had to rest for quite a while after that and get healed.

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- You helped as many as two Chelyabinsk teams win bronze medals.

- Chelyabinsk Region governor Boris Alexandrovich Dubrovsky handed out the medals personally. Everything was very pompous. It was a pleasure to visit the governor twice – when he was giving out the medals to Traktor and then Belye Medvedi. After that I heard a few jokes about myself and my two bronze medals. Guys were saying that a bronze statue can be made out of me.

- Another last season’s achievement in your book is that you participated in the World Juniors.

- At first I was invited to a few camps with 1997 Team Russia but I never made the team. I learned my lesson and made the roster of my peers for the World Juniors. I scored two goals at the tournament but it won’t be remembered for that because we couldn’t even get past the quarterfinal. It was a hard blow for everyone. We all knew that World Juniors come once in a lifetime. Everyone worked very hard to make the team. It was very tough to end up without any medals after all that effort. After the game I was thinking about the quarterfinal for the next few days. I kept thinking where I could have played better. I still believe we were good enough to go further.

 

- Chelyabinsk hosts IIHF U18 World Championship these days.

- Unfortunately, I can’t follow the games because I was called up to Olympic Team Russia. After the season ended I was told that I may be called up to Team Russia, so I had almost no rest and kept practicing. I went fishing just once to relax. I know a lot of guys on that U18 Team Russia, though. U played with Alexander Zhabreyev, Nikita Okhotyuk and Yegor Zamula back in junior hockey school.

 

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