Before his team’s game against Avangard, Torpedo general director Andrei Osipenko presented new defenseman Anton Volchenkovto the assembled journalists, a day after the NHL man’s arrival at the Nizhny Novgorod club.
“I’m very glad to be able to help Torpedo and I’m grateful to the club for showing faith in me. I know a lot of the guys here. I’ve met some while with the national team, and I played with Petr Schastlivy in the NHL. It was my first season over there and he helped me settled in.”
Do you know who you’ll be playing alongside yet?
“Not yet, but I don’t think I’ll have problems playing with any partner.”
Were there any offers from other teams in the KHL? If yes, then why choose Torpedo?
“Of course there were other offers. I chose Torpedo for a number of factors. There’s the playing style, which I think suits me, and the fact that I know a lot of the players also played a part.”
How do you rate your readiness to play, considering the KHL is already a month into the season?
“In fact, I’ve been preparing for the season since August and if it hadn’t been for the lockout, the NHL would be starting now. I can’t say I’m in peak condition, but all the same I’ve been trying to get fit enough. I understand the season is well underway and I’ll try to catch up with everyone else as fast as I can.”
Many NHL players headed here as soon as the lockout was made official. What kept you?
“As there were still some uncertainties over my contract I was in no hurry, but the minute full agreement was reached with Torpedo I was on my way.”
One player recently turned down a contract with Avangard for family reasons. Did you not have any similar problems?
“That was a Canadian player facing a move to a foreign country, whereas I’m from Russia so for me it’s a lot easier.”
How is the acclimatization going?
“I’m over most of it because I’ve been here a few days, but at the start it wasn’t easy. I had to undergo a full medical on my very first day, and that was a difficult experience.”
How has the welcome been from your new team?
“It’s a fine team, and the guys are friendly. In training everyone gets stuck in, and I found my first session yesterday pretty tough, but feel much better now. I think I’ll be fully prepared in time for my first match on Wednesday.”
Does the Torpedo coach have any specific demands of his players?
“So far I haven’t noticed anything specific, no. He demands full commitment from his players in training, just like pretty much every other coach.”
Sergei Litvak in Nizhny Novgorod, special to khl.ru