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Alexander Avtsin: “I could have been useful at the WJC”

Alexander Avtsin:

Alexander Avtsin: “I could have been useful at the WJC” (Photo © RIA Novosti/Ilya Pitalev)

Habs’ prospect Alexander Avtsin was surprisingly left off the Russian WJC squad and in this interview appeared on Sports.ru he discussed the WJC outcome, tried examinating the reasons of his exclusion from the team and admitted that he could have been useful for the Russians.

RussianHockeyFans.com offers you a translation of the interview with Avtsin.

On the morning of January 3rd, Team Russia’s fans were shocked as the national junior team just lost to Team Switzerland. Who did tell you about this result?
Avtsin: “We were on our way to Khabarovsk when my mom texted me about the result. We were landing and I read her messages.”

Did this upset you a lot?
Avtsin: (Pause) “Of course this upset me, it can’t be the other way around. In this team there were many players that I faced while playing in the junior leagues. But I “lamented” a bit. We had the match against Amur in front of us. Try to understand me, I wasn’t a player of this team and in my mind there was only Dynamo Moscow and the KHL.”

Didn’t you send a comforting SMS to your friends in Canada?
Avtsin: “No. (grins) The guys would think about it even without my SMS. In such moments, I know by myself, it’s better that others leave you alone. You are one on one with your thoughts. You delve into yourself.”

In the media many experts discussed if Avtsin should have gone to the WJC. What do you think yourself?
Avtsin: “In December I was in good shape, I scored in the KHL against Neftekhimik and SKA. I think that I could have been useful for our team in Canada. I would have give all for the win. But I wasn’t needed and I wasn’t invited.”

It’s evident that Vladimir Plyuschev didn’t consider you part of this team. Maybe there was some conflict with the coach?
Avtsin: “With me? (smiles) What conflict can be there if he’s a coach and I am a player. I was called twice in national team’s camps, when Plyuschev was still working with the U-18 team. I was training in the team’s fourth-fifth lines and thus I was sent back home.”

And didn’t you talk face-to-face with him?
Avtsin: “You know, it seems to me that he talks face-to-face with players from the top two lines only.”

Interesting. Is it normal, in your opinion?
Avtsin: “I can’t reply to this question. My task is to play hockey and not to discuss coaches. Probably it’s what he needed in that moment.”

What do you think team Russia lacked of to get to the semifinals?
Avtsin: “Perhaps just some luck. Yes, the team lost to Switzerland in this one game. But no one could say what happened if the game would be re-played other three or four times. That’s hockey, the better team doesn’t win all the times. And sometimes around the New Year there are sensations.”

Last year’s U-18 team core was made up of the same players from this year’s team. Tarasenko, Burmistrov, Kitsyn, Orlov, Bobkov, Pivtsakin. There were almost no new players. Why?
Avtsin: “We can only try to guess. It’s evident that Plyuschev only trusted the players that played in last year’s U-18 WJC. This is a coach’s choice and we have to live with it.”

Team Russia’s result in this year’s can’t be called anything different from a disaster. If there will be another coach behind the bench and he calls you, will you report?
Avtsin: “I wouldn’t think twice. I’d just pack my things and get to the camp. I say a commonplace, but I will always play for team Russia. But there must also be the desire to see me in the squad from the management.”

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