About the League
20-year-old Severstal Cherepovets forward Igor Geraskin wore the capital ‘C’ on his crest in the game against SKA St. Petersburg, thus becoming one of the youngest captains in KHL history. Geraskin spoke with Junior Hockey League media relations department and shared what it was like to get the unexpected news, other vivid moments of the regular season and his possible return to Almaz to fulfill his dream of winning the Kharlamov Cup.
- Have you ever been named captain until the KHL game against SKA?
- I captained Almaz for two seasons. I also was one of the alternate captains in junior hockey school. Of course, there is a big difference. Everyone is either my peer or younger on JHL team. I could give them advice and say something helpful. But on Severstal everyone is a professional. They’re older players and it wouldn’t be right if I were to say something to them. The idea is that I can learn something from them – not the other way around. After all, I’m just getting my feet wet in men’s hockey.
- Do you think your captaincy had any effect on the team?
- I don’t know if there were any said effect. They told us about it only two hours prior to the game. Obviously, everyone joked about it. It got us in good mood. As for me personally, that captaincy didn’t change much for me. I just wanted to do the best I could. Although, I did feel the pressure. I understood that a captain has to make fewer mistakes. As for other captain responsibilities, I didn’t have to talk to the officials. They did a great job on their part.
- Andrei Razin gives you more ice-time than Alexander Gulyavtsev. Moreover, he named you captain. Would you say there were a lot of changes after the coach swap?
- First of all, we drastically changed our tactics. It took us some time to get used to it. I did my best with both coaches to do as they say, make sure they didn’t trust me in vain and thus gain more ice-time. Obviously, when Andrei Vladimirovich took over, we had to do everything from scratch again. Everybody had to prove themselves at every practice.
- Do you think there were times when you proved yourself a leader and it led to Andrei Razin selecting you as team captain?
- I don’t really know. Everyone always gives advice to others in our dressing-rooms. I have no idea why our coach made the decision. We still haven’t spoken about it with him. I didn’t ask and he didn’t say anything yet.
- It was only earlier that season that you were helping your equipment manager to load hockey bags onto the bus. Is that a duty you were relieved from once named captain?
- Not, why would I be? It’s a common practice that young players load bags onto the bus. That’s something every team does the same. I keep carrying hockey bags after games.
- You spent the entire 2018-19 season with the KHL team. What are memories of the year?
- We won seven games in a row early in 2019 – we set a new franchise record in consecutive wins. It’s something I won’t forget any time soon. Those games spurred us on to battle. We believed that we could made up for some lost time and get closer to the playoffs. Unfortunately, after losing to CSKA [Moscow], we lost our last hope of making the Gagarin Cup Playoffs. Our coach came to the dressing-room after the game and said that from then on we had a new goal – to prove to KHL that we belong in the league. So nothing really changed for us in terms of motivation. It’s still important for us to win in every game.
- You can still continue the season in Junior Hockey League as Almaz have already clinched the playoffs
- I keep following the junior team. I watch every game if I have the time. I know almost everyone on Almaz, even some of the rookies because we all stayed at the club’s baza. So if I’m going to be send down to Almaz, it’s not going to take me long to find my rhythm. Chemistry won’t be an issue.
- It would be your last JHL games…
- Alas, I think I finally realized that it’s going to be my last JHL season. I would like to retire from junior hockey with grace and win the cup. Two years ago we won bronze medals. I want more than that.
- Last year you participated in JHL Challenge Cup and then in KHL All-Star Game. Did you follow the games this year?
- Only on the fly because we had practices. I followed Almaz guys – Gleb Morulyov and Vladislav Fyodorov. As the matter of fact, a lot of my friends partook in the games. For example, Mark Verba and Anton Vasiliev, whom I know from Team Russia.