Alexander Radulov: “I never regretted my choice” (Photo © Le Soleil)
After his move from Nashville to Russia, Alexander Radulov has been very discreet with the media. But he decided to give an exclusive interview to Mikaël Lalancette of Le Soleil, in which he talked about his controversial move, about his future and about Quebec City.
RussianHockeyFans.com offers you a translation.
Alexander Radulov moved from Russia to North America in 2004, when he was picked up by the Quebec Remparts of the QMJHL. “At this point we can say that it was the first betrayal of my career. The Remparts drafted me and so I decided to come and play in Quebec. Back at home my relatives and my friends didn’t understand me. They told me that I could keep on playing in Russia and still dreaming about the NHL.”
So Radulov packed his things and moved to Quebec, a francophone city in which he was very comfortable. “People were great. The two years I spent in Quebec were among the best in my life.”
Back in Russia
After stealing the show in the QMJHL, Radulov graduated in the NHL. “My dream came true. Scoring my first NHL goal in my second game was just great. But in my head I always had a call from home…”
But despite the growing interest the NHL had toward Radulov, he decided to slam the door and announce that he was going to play in Russia. And this was another betrayal. The fans which idolized him for moving from Russia to America now labeled him as traitor.
“I can understand their disappointment, but getting back home was good for me. I had good reasons. I wanted to be closer to my family and keep on doing my favorite thing.” Now Radulov lives near St. Petersburg with his family. Maybe he’s annoyed with North America? “Yes and no. It’s so different. Yes, I miss a few people with whom I’m close to, but I’m okay with myself. And I’m at home.”
Recently Radulov ensured that David Pole, Predators’ GM, knows his chances to get back to the USA for the next season and that he accepted the fact that he wants to honor his 3-yr deal with Salavat Yulaev Ufa. But Radulov believes that no links were broken and that he’s ready to welcome Radulov back in the NHL.
“People were nice to me there, they have good fans and I liked the organization. My agent actually talked to them during these years. But I don’t want to play the speculation game. For now I’m a KHL player.”
Even if he refuses to officially state a return, Radulov also said that he was always honest about his desire to play in the NHL. After his departure many pointed the finger at him for having left the Predators just for money.
“People said and written many things about me after my departure from Nashville, but I never lied about my intention to play in the world’s best league. The KHL is a good league, but the NHL is still the best.”
In the 2009-2010, Radulov was his team’s top scorer with 24 goals, 39 assists and 63 points in 54 games. Even if he is satisfied with his personal season, his team’s failure in the playoffs left him disappointed. “My goal has always been to win and we didn’t win the cup this year. For Alexander Radulov this is not satisfactory!”
In spite of such a loud move two years ago, Radulov never crossed out a potential return in the NHL. “I’m going to take the best decision for the moment. I don’t want to say ‘no’ to anyone, but as expected I’ll honor the final year of my contract.”
After his return in Russia many rumors stated that he regretted his decision to leave Nashville, but as he said, many untrue things were said about the process. “I never regretted my choice, but I have to say that at first it wasn’t easy. After my first depart, four years before, many things changed. And I had to deal with some details. The NHL has 100 years of history, the KHL is still at the start and so there were some problems. I was a bit discouraged, but I’ve never regretted being away from Nashville. My goal was to play hockey at home. And I took my decision.”
Radulov also explained once again that the NHL is still on the top. “The KHL has improved a lot, now many cities have modern arenas. But even if the league’s level grow a lot, also due to the North Americans playing there, it’s still not comparable to the NHL.”
The former Rempart also indicated that the NHL should consider returning back to Quebec City, mostly for its supporters. “I’ve spent two fantastic years with them. I’ve never seen a better place to play than the Coliseum. The supporters were truly great when we won the Memorial Cup. Quebec is the best place of the world for hockey. The supporters are unique. Promise me to write this!”