The former Washington Capitals forward Chris Bourque, who moved this summer to Atlant Mytischi of the KHL, gave an interview to SportsDaily.ru.
RussianHockeyFans.com offers you a translation.
The story of your signing with Atlant was pretty long. Were you hesitating?
Bourque: "I just wanted to see how it'd turn out with the Capitals. When the situation wasn't clear I had to told Atlant that they'd have to wait."
But then finally the Capitals offered you a contract. Why did you decide to move to Russia?
Bourque: "Things were going the way that I'd not get a spot with the Capitals. I have won everything in the AHL - like the Calder Cup and the playoffs MVP. Besides I was soon to reach the age limit, which would mean I'd have to part ways with the AHL. And since I wasn't completely sure that I'd make the first team, I decided to move to Russia. I got sick of constantly waiting for my chance and then being used to plug holes in the roster."
Quite surprising that the son of Ray Bourque had to ride the pine in the NHL
Bourque: "Nobody in the NHL cares who your parents are. If the coach doesn't like you, you won't get ice time even if you are the President of the USA. And I think they called me to Atlant not because of my father."
As for you father, what was his reaction?
Bourque: "It was good. He wished me good luck and professional growth. He didn't wish me to return soon - I have a two-year contract, and I'm going to spend these two years here. Then, who knows, maybe the KHL experience will help me to attract attention of the NHL. In Russia there is a great school, traditions, strong teams. And it seems to me that I can take a lot from the Russian style."
Why you didn't become a defenceman like your father?
Bourque: "That's due to my frame. In today's NHL defencemen are really strong, and I wasn't big enough. Maybe that's the reason why I didn't get a spot in the NHL. In Russia I'll try to find out what can be improved in my game while not having a big frame."
What can you say about your new partners?
Bourque: "They are really skilled players with great skating and puck control. We are passing a lot here. The team welcomed me really well. I hope to get used to the game style in Atlant as soon as possible and start producing more. By the way, even though I didn't play in the NHL's Atlanta, these consonance gives me comfort. And also they say that the Russian language is something unique."
Do you speak Russian?
Bourque: "Just a few words. Have to master the hockey language first to understand partners better."
Do you have any problems with everyday stuff?
Bourque: "No, not at all. And after these continuous bus trips in the AHL I have just nothing to complain about."
Can you compare KHL and AHL?
Bourque: "Can't go in details yet as I don't have much KHL experience. But in my opinion you can't compare them at all. The KHL is a separate league, the best in Europe. And in the AHL there are farm teams with the purpose of giving experience to youngsters and practice to those not making it in the NHL. The KHL is, of course, a step forward for me."
How ready do you feel for the season?
Bourque: "As for now, I haven't shown even the half of what I'm capable of."
You were already trusted with a shootout in the game against SKA...
Bourque: "Well, shootouts are what I practiced a lot. They are all the same in the NHL, KHL, AHL - come to the ice and shoot. You have just the goalie in front of you, though his level depends on what league you are playing in."
Atlant didn't start the season pretty well. And now you lost to SKA, even though in the shootouts. Are you upset?
Bourque: "I'm actually more upset that Nabokov didn't play against us. I wanted to face him. And going one-on-one in the shootout against such an ace is a special occasion. As for the defeat, I'm sure we will get our points later, I see that we doing better every day. Our coach said that we were doing everything right and that we are progressing from game to game."
Chris Bourque in 6 games this season: 1G, 0A, -2, ATOI 7:31.