Top players of JHC Dynamo St. Petersburg Anton Vasiliev and Anton Nazarevich spoke about Junior Hockey League jubilee season, playoffs, dressing-room banter, Dynamo St. Petersburg best players and much more.
Anton Vasiliev: Regular season turned out to be decent but we were expecting more from the playoffs. We expected to win a medal, at least. But that’s what hockey is like. It just so happened that we lost. We couldn’t find the strength and something else.
Anton Nazarevich: Our team led the league in scoring, which is a good result. As the matter of fact, we had a great group of guys here. There were a lot of great games, we pulled off a few comebacks, everyone improved their game and gained experience.
Series against Loko
AV: Obviously, we had a chance to beat them. You always do. Although, the opposition was better.
AN: It’s frustrating. It seemed that we were just as good as them and yet it was Yaroslavl who won the championship title.
Pressure on top players
AV: I didn’t feel the pressure because that’s the way things were from the beginning of the season. It wasn’t anything new in the playoffs either. We battled and worked hard just as always.
AN: It’s the team that matters in the playoffs. It doesn’t matter who was the leader before. If everyone plays team hockey, it’s going to bring result.
AV: In KHL there are players who don’t score many points in the regular season but then they get just as much in the first two playoff rounds. Those are cup players and they establish themselves in the spring.
AV: I didn’t have any specific individual goals in JHL, I just wanted to try myself in professional hockey. We understood our role in junior hockey, so we didn’t get cocky and did our best to help our team win.
AN: Yes, we wanted to show what we were capable of to get a chance to play in the VHL. Our goal was to develop. At a certain point we really got into it and did everything we could to help our team.
Best JHL teammates
AV: I enjoyed playing with Alexander Zhabreyev. We’ve always had great chemistry.
AN: I would name Yegor Anisimov. He really elevated his game this year. If he’s going to play in the JHL, I’m definitely going to follow him. And, of course, I would point out our defensemen – Veniamin Baranov and Ivan Vasin. They’re good guys and can really pass the puck.
Playing on different lines
AN: The season is long. Anything can happen. Sometimes you’re just out of sync. Besides, we had four lines and you want all of them to be equal. So coaches would put us on different lines every now and then.
AV: I think our teammates don’t understand us, we’re a bit of a different breed. We moved out from our parents’ a long time ago. So we are, so to speak, gangsters (laughs).
AN: Real players (laughs).
AV: Sometimes the boys didn’t get our jokes. Sometimes they would even get offended, especially at first. Although, it grew on them after a while. We were just goofing around. Our coaches know that we were touched in the head, too (laughs). So they let it slip.
AV: It’s always great. If the fans like you, you must be doing something right. Fans always like to see their team win. We’ve always had tremendous support and it gives you even more strength to keep going. We’ve always wanted to skate to the glass after games and thank the fans for their support with a smile, instead of just going back to the dressing-room with a long face.
AN: At the end of the season they even gave us a tasty cake. It was great.
AV: To be honest with you, I didn’t have any special feeling about that. It’s a good achievement. I was pleased when they told me about it but I don’t think it’s something extraordinary.
Competing with Mikhail Shalagin in scoring
AN: I didn’t even think about it. I just played hockey.
AV: He would come to the dressing-room and say, “If you don’t pass it to me, don’t even come to me after the game” (laughs).
AN: Sometimes it’s great to see my teammates pass the puck to me. Sometimes I even call for the pass and even yell at them. After all, I’m a pretty impulsive person. But I think it’s an upside. Every line should have a playmaker, a goal-scorer and someone who does the dirty work. I have nothing against playing the passing game and doing dirty work, but if I need to take a shot, it’s my pleasure. Although, I didn’t really follow the goal-scoring race. My mom told my only towards the end of the season that Shalagin was catching up to me. In the end, he scored more than I did but it didn’t frustrate me. Actually, my mom is a very active person. She follows how we’re doing. I’m grateful to her for her support. None of this would have been possible if it weren’t for hockey. Moms rule!
JHL Challenge Cup
А.В: It was difficult because we didn’t have a morning skate that day. Jetlag was a factor and the rink was pretty hot, so it was tough with the morning skate. We jogged before the game but overall it was tough playing through first two periods. Neither hands nor feet felt light. We just tried to battle in every shift and not give anybody an inch. It’s good that we won the game. It would have been really frustrating to lose it.
AN: The flight was terrible. We took off at 1am, flew the whole night and checked in to our hotel only at about 1pm. We didn’t sleep at all by the time. Then we napped for a few hours and went to practice in the evening. We went for a jog in the morning but it didn’t help.
KHL All-Star Game
AN: It was a bit of a sad moment because we wanted to be selected together to play there. We spoke about it already back in December. But I was still happy to support Anton. It was a great experience.
AV: I brought gifts to our team staff and administration – caps, hats, pucks. I kept a hat and a jersey as souvenirs.
AV: I got an offer from Dynamo. I’m thinking it over. I will decide soon.
AN: We’ll see how it’s going to pan out. What needs to be done so Anton would stay? There’s nothing to be done. It’s going to be decided soon and you’ll find out.
AN: I remember how Anton scored on Krasnaya Armiya Michigan style last season. That was amazing. I try to do the same but so far I haven’t been successful (laughs).
AV: It’s difficult to pick just one because this guy scores all kinds of goals – long shots, one-handers, divers… His goal on Yaroslavl was absolutely splendid. He scores a lot of beauties. He’s like a machine. I mean, what are you going to do if the guy has McDavid-like hands? (laughs).
First JHL goal
А.В: I scored my first goal on Belye Medvedi [Chelyabinsk] (actually, Vasiliev scored his first JHL goal on Sakhalinskie Akuly). I was on HC MVD back then, under Sergei Yurievich Oreshkin’s command. I scored on a rebound.
AN: It was in the game against Dinamo-Raubichi. It was my first goal but I didn’t feel ecstatic about it. I remember Pasha Novozhilov was joking about it for a long time.
AV: I keep the puck I socred my first goal with back home in Tver.
AN: And I got mine right here in the bag!
Most memorable JHL game
AV: Second round of the playoffs, Game 5 against Almaz [Cherepovets]. We made it to the semifinal after that. We were up 2-0 in the series and then lost two consecutive games. We won Game 5 in overtime. Kuzya [Konstantin Kuznetsov] and Parfyon [Yegor Parfyonov] combined for the game-winning goal. Happy times…
AN: Yeah, one of the managers was so happy, he even cried. It was something else. Absolute happiness. I remember how we barged into the dressing-room and one of the coaches yelled, ‘Yo-ho-ho”. It was so awesome.
Top 5-man unit on JHC Dynamo St. Petersburg
AV: Veniamin Baranov and Ivan Vasin on defense. Alexander Zhabreyev in center, Yegor Anisimov on the left wing and Maxim Mikhailov on the right wing.
А.Н: Nikolai Sulima on defense is just one love. Daniil Paranichev would be paired with him. Timur Faizutdinov in the middle – he would scare the opposition alright. Makar Chufarov in goal, while Danila Agalakov and Ignat Kokhanin on the wings. The latter is a young and promising player. Great kid, too.
Future Dynamo leaders
AV: The team will get a few more players but if I had to pick from those who already are, I think it’s a battle between Yegor Anisimov and Alexander Zhabreyev. Misha Tepikin has a good shot, Sergei Bolshakov… Actaully, it’s going to be a pretty good team with potential. It’s difficult to predict who would stand out the most.
AN: I believe, Maxim Rogozin is going to be a good goal-scorer. Although, sometimes after pre-season ends, many things change and you can’t even recognize certain players. Some improve and some do the opposite.
Junior Hockey League
AV: I would like to thank the league and everyone who works in junior hockey. I’m also very grateful to those, who followed our games.
AN: Yes, thank you all very much. There were a lot of fun moments. We were getting many nice and not-so-nice letters (smiles). All in all, I think that the league is growing and improving. It’s great to see that.