20.12.2023 в 16:00

“When on the ice, one should strive to be a better version of himself instead of chasing someone.” Artyom Kudashov talks Dynamo, changing position and his teammates’ rituals

The young defenseman continues family dynasty in a top KHL club.
Artyom Kudashov started playing hockey with Moscow Dynamo school, then he was with CSKA, Lokomotiv (where he changed his position) and SKA, but after seven years he returned to the Blue-and-Whites. In his first JHL season, the 16-year-old defenseman played 25 games, scored 8 (2+6) points and earned the trust of team head coach Anton Korredor. The following season, Artyom was a leader of his team and in the summer of 2023, he took part in KHL training camp. Four 2005-born players receive callups to Dynamo, one of whom is Kudashov Jr. with 20 KHL games to his credit.

In an interview with the official JHL website, Artyom Kudashov talked about getting adjusted to the KHL, Dynamo’s internal competition and Igor Ozhiganov’s esports skills.


“Playing on the road against Sibir and Torpedo was tough”

In the 2023/24 season, four 2005-born Dynamo players are playing in the KHL: Mario Patalakha, Igor Chernyshov, Yegor Rimashevsky and you. What helped you all make such an impressive leap?
– Of course, here credit goes to coaches. Anton Antonovich Korredor has been doing his best to ensure that we keep progressing ever since we joined the JHL, he gave us many pointers and raised us to a certain level. We have been coached by him since childhood – Yegor Rimashevsky since he was 11 years old, and I joined them a little later.

Do young players try to stick together?
– Well, yes, when you join a new team, you try to stick with those you know. At the start of the season, we were told not to split into groups, though. We always share rooms, stay together, but still try to communicate with everyone, so as not to come in clusters.

Did the fact that you had gained a competitive edge on other young Dynamo players in the summer give you an added boost of confidence at the start of the season?
Mario Patalakha and I are dressed for games by turns, so that we play similar number of games. Dynamo calls up strong JHLers, some of them just practice with us. It would be wrong to call up too many young players and have them warming the bench, so some guys stay with the junior team and play leading roles there.

After one of the games, Alexei Kudashov said the following about you and Patalakha: “These guys will become the core players of the team in a few years, we are to acquaint them with men’s hockey.” How were you acquainted with the KHL?
– Preseason training camp was the main thing that allowed us to get the taste of men’s hockey – we started to get used to speeds. The games in the season and in the preseason were much different, the speeds were completely different, and full stands were also bringing extra pressure to bear. In our first KHL game, we didn’t skate at all, we were just sitting on the bench to get a feel for the level of hockey. Then the following five or six games we played like three shifts, and then we were given to play the entire period.

Did it take you long to get used to the KHL level and playing in front of full stands?
– We did feel the difference and were a bit jittery. Playing on the road against Sibir and Torpedo was tough. You look around during pregame skate, see full stands and can’t help but start feeling jittery. But when the game begins, you forget all about it.

Does seeing the star teammates in the Dynamo locker room turn your head?
– I learn a lot from them, I see them practice, prepare for games, and do things after games. If I see someone take a tricky shot or make a nice move on the ice, I can approach him and ask how or why he did it. It’s cool that I have an opportunity to take an inside look at good players doing their thing. Think, for instance, of Cedric Paquette, he is a Stanley Cup winner, what could be better? I try to follow him and adopt some things.

Have you noticed any unusual things, such as rituals or superstitions?
– The way Nikita Gusev tapes his stick can be mentioned here, but it already comes as no surprise to anyone (smiles). Jordan Weal also has a good-luck habit: before games, he visualizes certain things, takes a stick and a puck, sits on a chair and starts to act as if he is already on the ice.


“Playing the game against Ak Bars, I knew that I would not be able to outmuscle Dmitrij Jaskin, while throwing a check and then gaining possession of the puck would be within my powers”

You started getting more ice time during the road trip to the Far East. Will you long remember the flights and playing games early in the day?
– Yes, it was physically draining, but hearing that you are to play the entire game gives an incredible feeling. Knowing that coaches have faith in you gives a boost of energy and adds to your strength. The decision on my ice time was spontaneous because some of the guys came down with cold. I was happy to have an opportunity to skate that many minutes.

In the summer you mentioned that you needed to gain more muscle mass, did you manage to do it?
– The coaches put in a lot of effort to working with me during the preseason training camp, I paid special attention to my muscle mass. Unlike JHLers, some of whom are really young, KHLers are mature and fully grown men, so the level of physicality is way different here. For example, playing the game against Ak Bars, I knew that I would not be able to outmuscle Dmitrij Jaskin, while throwing a check and then gaining possession of the puck would be within my powers.

“I am no match for Igor Ozhiganov in CS:GO, it is simply impossible”

How did you become a defenseman?
– I was with Lokomotiv back then. Some of the guys caught cold and I had to play a couple of games as a D-man. I did quite a good job and coaches decided I would continue playing defense. That’s about it.

Tell us about your hobbies.
– The last two years were devoted to studies, because the Unified State Exams were around the corner, so I was having extra classes with tutors. This summer, I entered a university, and now I have some spare time that I try to spend with my brother.

Can playing video games be considered you hobby?
– No, I don’t get to play video games too often during the season. In the summertime, Igor Chernyshov, Yegor Rimashevsky and I used to get together and play some video games.

One of the KHL’s main eSports athletes plays for Moscow Dynamo. Is Igor Ozhiganov actually as cool as he is described?
– Oh yes, he is! The other day we talked about how much time he devotes to playing video games and what weapon skins he has in CS:GO. Here is an interesting thing. When practicing, we do a warm-up exercise – we have four buttons that light up in different colors, the task is to press the blue ones only, it is a reaction improving drill. Igor Ozhiganov is simply the best at it, no one can match him! We were saying jestingly that it was CS:GO that gave him such a quick reaction.

Would you like to play CS:GO with or against Igor Ozhiganov?
– I am no match for him, it is simply impossible (smiles).

Are you looking forward to be selected at the NHL draft in the summer? Does playing in the KHL enhance prospects for being picked earlier?
– I do check rankings when I come across them, but I haven’t been paying careful attention to them lately. In the 2022/23 season, I worried too much about the draft, I wanted to be picked, wanted to know how it would feel. Getting drafted is what every kid who plays hockey dreams of. I will watch the draft in the summer, but I won’t make such a fuss about it like a year ago.

Do you have a favorite player?
– Yes, it’s Vancouver Canucks defenseman Quinn Hughes. He is about my height and build, I like his skating and vision. I try to pick up some things from him.

If you could meet any person, past or present, who would it be and what would you ask him or her?
– I love basketball and I also play it in the summertime, so I would be happy to chat with Kobe Bryant. There are many interviews that give us an idea of his workout routine, dedication to basketball and commitment. There is a legendary interview, I think many people have seen it. Kobe Bryant after being asked why he’s not happy being up 2-0 in the NBA Finals, said: “What’s there to be happy about? Job is not finished.”

Artyom Kudashov
Born on January 10, 2005 in Moscow
2013-2015 – CSKA, Moscow
2015-2017 – Lokomotiv, Yaroslavl
2018-2019 – CSKA, Moscow
2019-2020 – SKA, Saint Petersburg
From 2020 – Dynamo, Moscow