Sergei Zubov: “NHL and KHL are almost the same” (Photo © khl.ru)
Former NHL defenceman Sergei Zubov, currently playing for SKA St. Petersburgh of the KHL, answered to fans’ questions on Russian site sportbox.ru.
He talked about his moving from Dallas to St. Petersburg, differences between NHL and KHL, what would his dream team look like and his chances to play on the Olympics in Vancouver.
RussianHockeyFans.com offers you a translation of the most interesting questions and answers.
– You returned to Russia after living in America for so many years. Do you see any changes here?
– Not many. Of course such cities as Moscow or St. Petersburg have improved a lot. But that’s just superficial changes, a lot remains the same.
– Why did you move from the Dallas Stars to SKA?
– My contract with Dallas expired on the 1st of July and I became a free agent. Dallas had serious financial problems and they couldn’t offer me a new contract. I had several offers from the NHL and one from the KHL. I looked at pros and cons and decided to move to St. Petersburg. One of the main criteria was that there are less game in a season in the KHL than in the NHL. It means smaller physical load. You know, I’m not a very young player, I do understand that my hockey career is about to end. But what really made me return to Russia is my wish to play in front of Russian fans for the next two years.
– Are practices in the KHL any different to practices in the NHL?
– Not really, I don’t see many differences. I have to give our coach Barry Smith his due. His practices are very productive, he doesn’t lose time. After his practices I feel like I played a real game.
– Is hockey level in the NHL really that much better than in the KHL?
– No, the level is almost the same. Players in the KHL are as good as the NHL players. There are very skilled players in every Russian team. And our juniors are better than the Americans. However, also there are Canadiens, but I think that our players aren’t worse.
– Why then Russian youngsters want to play in the NHL?
– Well, despite everything, NHL is the best league in the world right now. And every player who thinks he is talented enough wants to try his luck there.
– If you were asked to name your dream team, who would be your partners?
– Marin Brodeur would be the goalie. I would play defence with Brian Leetch. Mario Lemieux would be our center and Jaromir Jagr our right winger. The left winger is hard to choose but I’d say Brett Hull. He can shoot well, he scored more than 700 goals during his career. Great player.
– Do you visit social networks in the Internet?
– I spent like 2 months on one of such sites but then deleted the page. My wife however spends much time there.
– Do you think of yourself as an American or a Russian?
– I’d say I’m 50% Russian and 50% American. My children are Americans. And it’s not just citizenship.
– How would you rate your chances to go the Olympics in Vancouver?
– I’m not the coach to do that. It’s up to him to decided whether I should go there or not. But I hope to get invited.