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Igor Zakharkin: “Starting goalie will be known only in February”

Igor Zakharkin:

Igor Zakharkin: “Starting goalie will be known only in February” (Photo ©

After stating that the Olympic starter should be Evgeny Nabokov, team Russia assistant coach Igor Zakharkin makes an u-turn and says that the first goalie will be known in February only.
Russian Hockey Fans offers you a translation of an interview with Sovietskiy Sport interview in with Zakharkin speaks about goalies’ chances and about Ovechkin’s need not to change his style.

– The other morning i turned on the computer and I got shocked when I read the news about Ovechkin’s injury. We are already thinking seriously about the Olympics. At any moment an injury can arrive.
I don’t know which diagnosis Sasha got, but you can’t joke with knees. This is already Ovechkin’s second injury of the season. I understand that it’s related whit his aggressive style. We are anxious for that. We hope in Washington doctors’ professionalism. And we’ll ask the national team’s doctors to get in touch with Ovechkin. We’ll help as much as possible.

– A common opinion is that Ovechkin should play more cautiously. And stay off his risky style not to get the same fate as Eric Lindros…
You can’t say for sure. Alexander plays power hockey and he’s comfortable with that. On ice he acts he follows his feelings, he plays like he’s used to and like he can. If he’ll change, then he wouldn’t be Ovechkin anymore. And also other players might get injuries.
Do you remember what Porthos says in “The three musketeers”? “I am going to fight – because I am going to fight”. He can’t be any different. And there is nothing to fear about his style. Especially considering that fans love his style.

– Getting back to the Olympics, during a radio interview with “Komsomolskaya Pravda” you said that you see Evgeny Nabokov as the first goalie. And what about Ilya Bryzgalov?
– Firstly, I wasn’t asked about Bryzgalov. Secondly, I put the stress on the fact that we a good set of players and a good interchangeability within the roster. But we can’t anticipate in November what is going to happen in February. The core of my speech was that we have a very good group of goalies.
Ilya Bryzgalov has a non-ordinary personality, he’s having a great season. He can play important matches at a very high level, like he showed in the 2009 WC finals against Canada.
Semen Varlamov is a young guy whit a big potential. He plays in Washington with confidence. He’s the future of Russian hockey. Nikolay Khabibulin – unfortunately I don’t know him in person and I only lie on information that they give us from overseas. Alexander Eremenko – you can rely on him, he will make a save when it’s needed the most.
All the named goalies, included Vasily Koshechkin, will skate in the Olympic training camp. Anyone of them has chances to go to Vancouver. And the starter will be known not now, but on mid February. We don’t want to rush on this theme. Let us work quietly.

– Did you already decide what kind of roster you’ll declare on December 25th?
So far we haven’t had a final information from the IIHF. I hope that the Russian Hockey Federation would get a stronger position in negotiations with the people from international federation responsible of the Olympic games’ organization. We are thinking about two solutions. The first one would be forming a list around the New Year with NHL players only. The second solution – claiming NHL players and an expanded list of candidates from the KHL. But they didn’t give us a final response yet.

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