2018 YEARBOOK. DANILA KVARTALNOV

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24.06.2018 в 11:22

2018 YEARBOOK. DANILA KVARTALNOV

In his final Kharlamov Cup playoff run SKA-1946 St. Petersburg forward Danila Kvartalnov played just one game – it was the final game of the 2017-18 Junior Hockey League season as ‘army men’ lost to Loko Yaroslavl and received their second JHL silver medals in franchise history. In this interview to Junior Hockey League media relations department Kvartalnov looks back at his junior career, working with his famous uncle, unexpected move from CSKA to SKA, winning Kharlamov Cup and his most unfortunate loss yet.

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- After graduating from Khimik Voskresensk junior hockey school you joined Sibirskie Snaipery right away. How did that happen?

- Alexei Dementyev was my agent and he has close ties with Novosibirsk. With his guidance Sibir agents watched my play throughout the season in Voskresensk. I think, my uncle, Dmitry Kvartalnov, player some role in that, too, because he worked for Sibir back then. I liked Novosibirsk right away. First of all, the people are simpler over there. I was impressed with the local fans as well. When I heard for the first time how the whole arena was singing Russian national anthem, and they replaced the words ‘Glory to Russia’ to ‘Glory to Sibir’, it kind of shook me. The arena is packed for every game. I had never seen people bribing security just to watch the game from the stairs. After every game the fans wait for the players and stand for hours in freezing cold.

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- Your cousin Nikita Kvartalnov played for Sibirskie Snaipery in the 2013-14 season as well.

- We played on the same line with Nikita for just a few games, because he was often called up to KHL. We see the game very similarly so it was easy to set on the way we were going to play. Interestingly enough, he is now under indirect command of his uncle in Voskresensk.

- Konstantin Okulov also played for Sibirskie Snaipery back then. Sibir called him up a few times as well.

- When I just joined Sibirskie Snaipery, my stall in the dressing-room was right next to his. Kostya helped me to adapt on the team. He gave me the impression of a simple guy who never boasted about his KHL experience.

- In 2014 you were drafted by Sibir.

- Actually, I was drafted not by Sibir but by Avtomobilist – Sibir just had a right to protect me in the draft. The rules said that after I had been selected Sibir had five seconds to opt for their right to protect me. I was nervous in those five seconds that I would have to leave to Yekaterinburg. That draft ceremony was held in St. Petersburg. We had a scrimmage game first and then we watch the draft unfold in the hall. A lot of my 1997 year born players whom I knew were drafted – Denis Guryanov, Kirill Kaprizov, Ilya Samsonov, etc.

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- In 2015 you joined CSKA Moscow. How did that happen?

- That year Zvezda Chekhov was founded. I live in Voskresensk and Chekhov is less than an hour away from there. I talked to me parents and agent and decided that I should play closer to home.

 

- Dmitry Vyachaslavovich Kvartalnov was the head-coach of CSKA back then. Did you talk to your uncle more often since the trade?

- We started talking more often a year later when I was invited to the pre-season camp with CSKA first team for the first time. But we still talked mostly about what I should focus on at practices. After the games and practices he never talked to me more than to anyone else, he still kept his distance. Even we talk at home I see Dmitry Vyacheslavovich, first of all, as my coach and only then as my relative.

- In 2017 you won the Kharlamov Cup. How did you like the experience?

- It was interesting. I spent all of the regular season on Zvezda and because of that I played my first game for Krasnaya Armiya already in the playoffs – it was a game against JHC Dynamo St. Petersburg.

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- Nevertheless, in 15 Kharlamov Cup games you scored 20 points.

- 15 of them were assist and I got all of them either on Andrei Kuzmenko or Semyon Koshelev’s goals. They have great goal-scorer senses. Sometimes they scored from positions it’s impossible to score from. Sometimes I thought to myself, ‘Why would he shoot from there, he should have skated to a better position!’. But then the puck would go in. Sometimes I would make some great passes. For example, in one of the final series games against Reaktor Nizhnekamsk I picked up four assists like that. It was a running joke at the time. I would tell the guys, ‘All you have to do is make yourself available and I will find you.’ One way or another I led the playoffs in assists that year. Unfortunately, there is no nomination for those who get the most assists. After the season they give the awards only to those who get the most goals and points.

 

- But you get to rent the Kharlamov Cup for a day.

- I don’t know why but they didn’t let us take the cup. We celebrated the win in thee dressing-room, took pictures with the cup, then our conditioning coach Hasan Said took the cup for a day and then it was displayed at CSKA Ice Palace the whole time. However, we did put up a commemorative plaque in our dressing-room together. It says – Krasnaya Armiya. 2016-17 Kharlamov Cup champions.

- You played 20 games in the KHL that season. What was it like being sent down to Zvezda and Krasnaya Armiya?

- On the contrary, it was getting more fun each time. First CSKA got eliminated from the playoffs, and then so did Zvezda. So Krasnaya Armiya was my last chance to win something that season.

 

- How did the move from CSKA to SKA go? After all, these teams are arch-rivals.

- That came as a big surprise to me as well. I was told about the trade just a few days after we won the final series. At that moment even my agent didn’t know that SKA were interested in me. And the trade itself was pretty huge – CSKA also gave up in that deal the rights for Nikita Kucherov and Nail Yakupov, but in return they got the rights for Marcus Johanson and David Musil. It’s funny that of the five players involved in the trade, I was the only one who played in Russia.

 

- This season you had a chance to play against your uncle. For example, when SKA faced Lokomotiv in the playoffs.

- I had the opportunity. I was called up to one game in Yaroslavl and I was there even for the warm-up but I still didn’t get to play in the game. Although, I had the chance to talk to my uncle during the series, I decided no to get in his way. Yaroslavl were having a tough playoff run as it already was.

 

- Why did you play so little in Junior Hockey League in your last year of junior hockey? You played in just three regular season and one playoff game.

- Just as last year, I spent the entire season in the VHL. SKA-Neva made it to the finals and that’s why I was able to play in just one JHL playoff game – it was Game 6 of the final series against Loko Yaroslavl. I played on the same line we played on SKA-Neva the whole year. After that exhausting VHL finals against Dynamo St. Petersburg we looked tired, while Loko players were running on all cylinders.

 

- It’s kind of symbolic that the last game of the 2017-18 season was your last in the league.

- At that moment I wasn’t thinking that I was playing in my last JHL game. I thought that we had a chance to tie the series up and then win Kharlamov Cup for the second time. Everybody was upset in the dressing-room after the game, especially our coaches. They told us that we still had a good year, there were a lot of positives and important wins.

 

- Would you say that that loss in the finals was the saddest moment of your career in junior hockey?

- To be honest with you, it was much frustrating to lose at the 2017 World Juniors when we lost to Team USA in the shootout. Before the shootout the referee skated twice to our bench and said that there were going to be five attempts a side, not three. But the arena in Montreal was so loud that it wouldn’t surprise me that the guys at the far side of the bench might have not heard him. Interestingly enough, the Americans also didn’t understand what was going on and why some people jumped off the bench after the third round and some other guys were lying on the boards and banging their sticks on the bench as if celebrating the win, thinking the game was over. Then the ref got confused as well. After America took their fifth shot, he forgot that we still had one left. Valery Nikolayevich Bragin stormed to him right away, demanding that we would take another shot. Unfortunately, that shot didn’t change anything. It’s frustrating that we were in the lead after three rounds and then nothing went our way.

 

- How did you manage to pull yourselves together and win bronze medals after such a devastating loss?

- We were finally physically but absolutely drained emotionally. We knew that it was important to win medals but we didn’t have fire in our eyes in that game against Team Sweden. It showed on the scoreboard as well as we won just 2-1.

 

- You mentioned that you like to read what’s written about you on the Internet. Is it still true?

- It was exciting to see a Wikipedia page on me recently. It was great to see myself mentioned in the public encyclopedia. I’m more interested to read comments about me on social media from adequate people. I’m fine with people who don’t like me but are able to talk about it calmly and adequately. Most often, though, people write horrible stuff in the comments. For example, that I’m someone’s protégé. Sometimes you just get appalled by what people have going on in their heads. It amazes me how people can write multiple angry passages in the comments when they really don’t know anything about you.

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