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Nikita Zaytsev: “I liked interviews with Flyers and Blackhawks”

Nikita Zaytsev:

Nikita Zaytsev: “I liked interviews with Flyers and Blackhawks” (Photo © Elena Rusko)

2010 eligible Nikita Zaytsev, playing for Sibir Novosibirsk of the KHL, stated that Philadelphia and Chicago were the most interested teams during the recent NHL Draft Combine. In this interview by allhockey.ru he talked about the tests, about the draft itself and stated that he plans to play in the KHL the 2010-11 season.

RussianHockeyFans.com offers you a translation.

Not long ago you underwent the NHL Combine process, traditionally held about one month prior the NHL Draft. When did you know that they invited you there?

Zaytsev: “I was having a holiday in Turkey and my father called me. He told me that they called me for the tests on May 22nd and I had to fly to Toronto.”

Not long ago you underwent the NHL Combine process, traditionally held about one month prior the NHL Draft. When did you know that they invited you there?

Zaytsev: “I was having a holiday in Turkey and my father called me. He told me that they called me for the tests on May 22nd and I had to fly to Toronto.”

The Combine was attended also by your team mate Vladimir Tarasenko. Did you get there on the same flight?

Zaytsev: “Yes, we flew all six on the same flight. Alexander Burmistrov, Maxim Kitsyn, Ivan Telegin, Evgeny Kuznetsov and also Tarasenko and I.”

They say that young players prepare for these tests for the whole season. Were the tests your goal too?

Zaytsev: “I think these tests are probably the most important thing that happened in my life so far. I prepared for them for the whole season and after it finished I worked with my personal trainer. It was a very significant event for me.”

What did surprise you the most when they gave you your timetable?

Zaytsev: “All was clear. The only unusual thing was that after my interview – I had five of them – I served as translator for other players as I don’t have problems with the English language.”

Usually after the tests most players moan about the exercise bike. Maybe you didn’t like it too?

Zaytsev: “Yeah. It’s a tough test, I’d even say the toughest one. Many players almost faint. But it’s planned to be so hard so that it’s not an easy test to take.”

Can you tell how much did you last?

Zaytsev: “With the first bike you had to pass a program, only the second bike was an endurance test. I lasted eleven minutes.”

After this they had you sitting at a computer in which you had to follow the ball in the hand of a man.

Zaytsev: “Yes, even if after the bike I didn’t want to do anything else frankly speaking. But then I had to undergo this logic test so that they can determine how well you think after such a physical work.”

It’s not a secret that after the tests players have to talk with NHL teams. What teams did you talk to?

Zaytsev: “I had interviews with Philadelphia, Carolina, Atlanta, Chicago and New York Islanders. But I talked with a total of 15 teams as I served as translator for other guys.”

What interview did you like the best?

Zaytsev: “My favorite interviews were the ones with Philadelphia and Chicago because these teams were interested in me a lot. But generally speaking all interviews were very interesting. There were a lot of unusual questions, not only hockey-related.”

Usually teams ask players to describe themselves as hockey players. How did you reply to this question?

Zaytsev: “I’ve said that I like playing an offensive style, but that I don’t forget about my duties on defense and that I consider my strongest points my skating and first pass.”

Can you say now that you are satisfied with the tests’ results?

Zaytsev: “I gave the hundred percent there and thus I’m satisfied. I’ve watched the results of the tests while heading to Moscow and I am very satisfied with my results. It was great to talk with people from the NHL and knowing that they are interested in me. I’ve liked it all. It was interesting.”

The draft is coming soon. Do you think you’ll attend it in Los Angeles?

Zaytsev: “I still don’t know. I’ll see with my agent. Now I want to rest and then start the preparation for the next season with Sibir. I really want to get to the playoffs this year.”

Do you have any preference regarding teams that can draft you?

Zaytsev: “No, I don’t. My dream is to play in the NHL and I simply want it to come true.”

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