Evgeny Malkin answers questions to the readers of Sports.ru...
The Q&A is very long and very interesting, here are some excerpts...
Sports.ru, June 27, 2011:
How old were you when you first tried [to smoke] a cigarette?
I've never smoked, honestly. I smoked hookahs, cigars a couple times, but never tried a cigarette. Now in general the trend is that more women are smoking, not men. If I meet a girl, one of the first conditions, perhaps, not very serious, so she doesn't smoke. I think when a girl smokes, it looks ugly just in general.
What do you expect from [new coach of team Russia] Bilyaletdinov?
You can't say, here he is, now we are going to win everything. I would expect from him, as from a good professional, an understanding. I wish that he would do his job professionally and only the best hockey players would play for the national team.
Tell us about HBO's «24/7: the road to the Winter Classic."
At first it was unusual, because when you go into the dressing room or to the hotel, there were cameras everywhere. Not too many, 3-4 cameras, but the Americans know how to shoot. The first few days it was uncomfortable, and then you get used to and do not pay attention.
How long it took you to get used to the famous gentleman in suits, Don Cherry?
I don't know him personally and never met him. I've seen him on TV occasionally, funny, like when Don Cherry criticizes the Russians, one of whom is Ovechkin. Perhaps he does not like Russians, always defends his people. But this is his show, Don Cherry is popular in Canada as a showman. As a hockey analyst, I don't think he is as strong as others, he simply advertised himself with his jackets, candid interviews. Can I see myself in one of his jacket? Nooo, I can not.
Can you name the most beautiful goal in someone else's performance?
This got to be Ovechkin's goal to Phoenix when he falls. Nobody will be able repeat it in the near future. Everything came together as he fell, and the puck was on the hook, the other player wouldn't even try, but Sasha did, and succeeded. I've never seen more beautiful goal.
Have you seen an interview with Alexander Semin, which he gave to American journalists six years after his arrival to Washington? Were there situations when you wanted to answer the same?
(Malkin watches the video, laughing out loud and even going down under the table. [In other words, 'rolling on the floor laughing out loud'.])
Of course, it happens. When you get such a question, you are standing there and everybody is waiting on your quick response. You start to twitch a little, pick up words. The same probably happened with Sasha. But it's fun.
[Here's what happened...
Mike Vogel: What would it mean to you to win the Stanley Cup with this team?
Semin: Exactly with this team? (pause) I don't even know... (pause) How to explain them... To say that... [To interpreter:] Say something for me... Shit... How the fuck do I know... (pause) I think Stanley Cup is Stanley Cup, the reason why we are playing.. I came to this team and I want to stay with this team... -tj]
Ovechkin said about his home in Washington, DC, "you are resting at night and then the doorbell rings; the boy in the Capitals jersey asks for an autograph." Have you faced such problems?
Ovechkin told me this story, that's why he wants to sell his house. I am lucky that I live in a closed private area, 20 minutes from downtown. His house, as I understand it, is in the city. So I haven't had such problems and I hope I won't.
Do you have a pet?
In America I have a cat, and in Russia I have a dog for the last five years. The cat appeared from the street, my girlfriend saw an abandon kitten in the doorway. The usual non-pedigree cat.
What are you surprised the most when you return to Russia?
I don't know if others noticed it, but here the drivers atarted to treat each other better, at least I thought so. You leave from the parking lot, they'll let you in, help you. It is a surprise for me. When I myself was driving four years ago, everything was different: shooting, swearing. It is good that now is different.
Who are the best players and goalkeeper in hockey today?
The best goalkeeper would be Tim Thomas, he had a fantastic season. On defense, Lidstrom and Chara. Niklas, what can you say, won "Norris Trophy" for the 7th time. Chara has improved in recent years, he can play 30 minutes and won't get tired. And in the offense: Ovechkin, Crosby and Datsyuk. Pasha and Sydney are center-forwards, but someone on this occasion, I think, can take place on the wing.