14.06.2023 в 14:30

Sergei Murashov – about title of best goalie, KHL debut and readiness to score

Sergei Murashov is one of the most steady and solid goalies in the JHL. Sergei had 11 shutouts in the past regular season and was only two shutouts away from breaking the League’s record. Murashov’s impressive performance in the playoffs helped his team eliminate Mikhailov Academy and Spartak, but they lost to the future champion Nizhny Novgorod Chaika in the semifinals. The successes of the Yaroslavl goalie were duly appreciated by the League – Sergei was nominated for two awards at once: the best goalie of the season and the JHL’s MVP.

In an exclusive interview with the official JHL website, Sergei Murashov talked about the JHL Closing Ceremony, winning bronze medals, shutouts that fell through and psychology.

“When watching the play-in tournament, we were looking forward to absolute hack and slash in the playoffs”

– What can you say summing up the results of the season?
– The season, like all the previous ones, was very eventful and anything but easy. If we speak about the team in general, of course, we aimed to attain better results, Loko had only one goal – the Kharlamov Cup. However, I consider winning bronze medals to be a good result too. We performed well during the season, finished the regular season ranked first, gained valuable experience in the playoffs. As for my individual goals that I had set before the season, I won’t hide it, I didn’t manage to achieve them all. In general, it was a productive season for me, I can recognize it as an asset, because I had a chance to play in the KHL, became the best goalie in the JHL. I played many games for Loko, but it still feels like we left a loose end since we did not manage to win the Cup.

– What did you feel when you were named the JHL’s best goalie?
– It felt great! There are many good goalies in the League who show great potential, so this award is a motivation for me to keep working hard. Any nomination in the JHL is the work for the long run, because it flatters no player to be a leader in the JHL to then melt into the crowd and get forgotten at the adult level. I’m glad that I was recognized as the best goalie. I think I am headed in the right direction. There are new challenges ahead.

– You were also a JHL’s MVP nominee. Were you surprised to see yourself in two categories at once?
– Yes, I was surprised. The title of the best goalie was something I was thinking about, while being JHL’s MVP nominee was completely unexpected. I found out about it when I saw a social media notification, JHL tagged me. It was nice to see myself in another nomination, since being named the most valuable player is also very honorable. It is the award that recognizes not just individual achievements, but the contribution to the team success.

– You have already spent three seasons in the JHL, throughout which the Kharlamov Cup was won by three different teams. What are the reasons for Loko not being an uncontested leader any longer?
– Hard to tell, because I was not with the team when they won the championship. I can’t say that there was something they had that we don’t. The level of the League has increased, there are more teams that play great hockey and battle for the Cup. Loko’s roster changes, some age groups are stronger, some are a little weaker, the coaching staff changes too. The last time Loko won the Kharlamov Cup was back in those days when the team was coached by Dmitry Ivanovich Krasotkin, who now works with the main team. By no means I belittle accomplishments of the guys from Loko who won the Cup before us - they really brought joy to Yaroslavl, it was a big thing for everyone. I am not sure what exactly we lack. Who knows, maybe next year the Kharlamov Cup will be in Yaroslavl, we will work hard and do our best to make it happen.


“If an opportunity to score a goal presents itself, I will be ready to do it”

– You had 11 shutouts in the regular season and were only two shutouts away from breaking the JHL’s record. Were you dissapointed?
– The goal I had set before the season was to have 10 shutouts, it was more important for me. I wasn’t chasing the record, my way of thinking was the following: it would be cool to break the record, but if I don’t manage to do it, it’s okay. Team wins are of top importance. I didn’t actually have time to be upset over it – I had to prepare for the playoffs, think about the Cup and elimination games. Maybe I will be able to break the record next season, maybe someone else will break it. It is not something I am concerned about, I have my own goals, that I pursue in the first turn.

– Can you air your grievances to your teammate if it’s a goal after the puck deflects off him?
– No, I never have any complaints about the players on the ice. We all share a common goal, if we start yelling and swearing at one another, it will do no good. Allowing a goal can make you feel some kind of annoyance, but then players go to the faceoff circle and you turn all your attention there, the following shot is the most important one. I can only give some pointers in the locker room so as such mistakes are not repeated in the future, but I never fight or quarrel. We are all civilized people, we know how to negotiate and solve problems, which is an extremely important skill in a team.

– You once said that you have a desire to score a goal, do you practice shooting the puck into the opponent’s net?
– To be honest, I sometimes do. I can take the ice five minutes before goalies are to skate, place 10-15 pucks behind the net and imagine that a puck is sent around the boards, I stop it, turn around and make a quick shot. You need to understand the fact that you will have little time in a game, especially since you need to figure out the optimum height for a puck to fly at. I sometimes practice shooting the puck into the opponent’s net, it is not time-consuming and does not interfere with the training process. If an opportunity to score a goal presents itself, I will be ready to do it.

– Before the start of the season, you set a goal for yourself to work on rapid change of attention focus and crease movements, what can you say about the work done?
– I did what I wanted to do and it produced results – my brain is now able to react faster to a rebound or tap-in. I think all the components of my game will also need to be improved during the next season, I could do with strengthening the core muscles, working on strength and conditioning. I would also like to work on my decision-making skills, to train my brain, because it is actively used in games - you need to be able to control your body and make right decisions, while keeping time spent on it to a minimum.

– You have already played more than a hundred games in the JHL, do you still have something to learn here?
– Of course, I would love to take a step forward and play adult hockey. I think the result that I show in the JHL will give me an added boost of confidence. Nevertheless, there are a lot of good skilled guys in this League, who think out of the box, they might lack experience due to their young age, but they are promising and interesting to play against. I think there is still a lot for me to learn in the JHL. The main thing that I can still learn here is how to go through thick and thin and finally win the Cup. The previous season showed up the weaknesses that prevented us from reaching the main goal.


“Body is an athlete’s tool. The way you use it has a direct influence on the result”

– You made your KHL debut in the game against Sochi and gave up one goal. Are you content with yourself?
– I am not completely satisfied with myself in that game, but not because of the goal I gave up. I don’t deny that it was an easy goal, but it is not the main thing to judge by. Even if I kept a clean sheet, there is no guarantee that the game would be representative. I had mixed feelings after the game: I was glad that I had finally played in the KHL, because I had been following the main team since childhood. But I also understood that there were still so many details that I needed to improve.

– What are those details?
– Quickness in the crease, quick decision-making and mentality, which is of top importance. That game was intense and mentally challenging. There is definitely some room for improvement for me here. And, again, athleticism, since body is an athlete’s tool. The way you use it has a direct influence on the result.

– Did you expect to receive another call-up to the main team?
– In fact, there was a plan according to which I was supposed to play against Kunlun in January, but Lokomotiv was suffering a rough patch back then, so it didn’t work out. In February, being called up to the KHL was out of the question, since I was to play for Loko, so we didn’t discuss it. At that time, I wasn’t giving the main team much thought, I had tasks to complete in the JHL.


“Each athlete must first of all ensure development of his or her personality”

– Which active goalie do you look up to?
– I can’t name one, there are a many great goalies, and each of them has his own strengths. It is interesting for me to follow Igor Shestyorkin, Juuse Saros, Sergei Bobrovsky, who performs really well in the NHL. I also like watching Andrei Vasilevsky play, Adin Hill from Vegas, Jake Oettinger from Dallas, the list is as long as your arm.

– Igor Shestyorkin recently offered to send off players for trying to score a lacrosse-style goal, as it is disrespectful of goalies.
– I don’t know what is disrespectful about it. It’s catch-as-catch-can in hockey, if something is not likely to cause any injuries, why not do it? I see no point in forbidding lacrosse-style goals, they are spectacular.

– Lacrosse-style goals and shooting from behind the net have become current trends оver the past couple of years. Are there any new trends in goaltending?
– The area a goalie plays in is two meters square, there are a lot of movements in a small space, one needs to be knowledgeable in goaltending in order to take note of some high point moves. Now there are no trends, but let’s say there are certain nuances of the way goalies play. Igor Shestyorkin, for instance has great stickhandling skills and plays at an average crease depth, everyone chooses the style he is comfortable with.

– You said that you don’t pay much attention to online hate. Can you explain what is the best JHL goalie to be hated for?
– (laughs) For giving up goals. By the way, I saw less negative stuff during the season, maybe I was just spending less time on social media. It happens that people message me after a bad game, call me awful things, ask why I give up so many goals. I just smile at such things, it’s funny to read such messages, they don’t frustrate me. Online hate hurts a hater even more than a person hated.

– You like to immerse yourself in psychology, know body language, how did you become interested in it?
– I became interested in it when I was about 14. I remember I took my sister’s book, read it and I really liked it. I’ve been studying this topic since then, step by step, book by book. There are so many other things in this world beside hockey. I believe that each athlete must first of all ensure development of his or her personality, because all top-level people are in the limelight, regardless of the sport they play. They should know how to show their worth in public. It is important to promote this image of an all-round and civilized person. I’m just interested in psychology, it helps to find a common language and understand other people better. Sometimes there are misunderstandings or conflicts in the team and it is important to know how to navigate them so that everyone is satisfied. Psychology is useful and interesting, I recommend everyone to explore it.

– In the summer you were drafted in Round 4 by Pittsburgh, did Evgeny Malkin message you?
– Unfortunately, Evgeny Malkin didn’t message me. Things were not settled with his contract back then, I think he had no time to follow the draft. I was at my place watching the draft, I didn’t really expect anything. It was interesting to see which Russian guys would be drafted. And then I saw my last name under number 118, I distrusted my own eyes, then my phone started ringing off the hook. I also received a call from Pittsburgh, they were telling me something in English, even though I do speak it, I couldn’t gather my wits and kept saying like mad: “I’m so happy! Thank you!” I keep in touch with Pittsburgh, but now I’m focused on working here, and I have tasks that need to be completed.

– How often did you talk to Pittsburgh during the season?
– I made the acquaintance of Pittsburgh’s goalie development coach and it was him I was mainly in touch with throughout the season. If I had any questions or concerns, I felt free to address him. He had interest in my performance, passed my words on to coaches and their words to me. At the end of the season, I also met the goalie coach of the main team by phone, we had a good talk.