The legendary Spartak player is deeply concerned about the state of affairs in his favorite game. Sports journalist Alexey Matveev meticulously asked the hockey “star” - especially for the VChK-OGPU telegram channel and Rucriminal.info.
- Your home club “Spartak” is now among the leaders of the regular season. How can we explain the changes? Is everything so rosy?
- Of course, the picture is not as rosy as it seems at first glance. We still need to strengthen the third and fourth links of the team. So that, at a minimum, they do not spoil the overall positive balance created by leading hockey players. But this season I am happy to attend Spartak’s matches; they play brightly and spectacularly in most matches.
A lot of credit goes to the guys from the selection service. Forward Poryadin looked very decent in Neftekhimik, Morozov has a short but very useful experience in the NHL. These and other capable craftsmen were persuaded to join the “red-white” camp.
- Even the opportunistic Kovalchuk got ready to join Spartak. Until recently, the titled striker played anywhere - in Kazan, Omsk. And Spartak, which was close to him, which was then going through hard times, was in no hurry to replenish. Does the team need him now, is it doing well without him?
- During the lockout in the National Hockey League (NHL), I somehow crossed paths with Ilya and reminded him that I had promised to play for Spartak. “Boris Alexandrovich, we only live once,” was the answer. And he signed an agreement with Ak Bars.
Now, at the age of forty, playing at a high professional level is a risk for him. Moreover, I haven’t performed for more than two years. In the case of a not entirely unsuccessful, much less a disastrous game, you can lose your reputation and name. For example, I wouldn't risk it. Although Ilya has enormous authority in the eyes of his future partners - gaming, life. And he has a good relationship with Spartak’s head coach Alexei Zhamnov.
14-YEAR-OLD BOYS ARE BEING TAKEN OVER THE OCEAN
Is it possible to somehow resist the outflow of “hockey brains”?
- It is very, very difficult to break the system. “Bug” agents are the scourge of our hockey. But no less, if not a bigger problem is the parents of boys. Who, with their ears open, listen to the agents with their mouths open. They are happy to “hang a lot of noodles” on these ears. They say that your son in America or Canada will become a millionaire, and you will live differently accordingly. Parents, as a rule, give in to persuasion. That's what's scary. Such prospects seem tempting to them.
Already at the age of 13-14, boys are taken “in batches” to North America. There they live with foster families and receive hockey and other education. I look at the statistics. A maximum of five to seven people have joined NHL clubs, their names mean absolutely nothing to anyone. These are from those dozens, even hundreds of our guys sent overseas as agents. Here you have to be a hardened “bug” to pull off such deals. A normal, decent person would never do something like this. I definitely couldn't.
Which exit? Sign contracts with 14-year-olds here? It’s not legal, they’re minors. With parents? Will the agents be happy?
- What is it?! We keep pointing at the agents, but can’t we send them to hell? After all, there are sensible people among parents.
- And who will send - the parents themselves? No. In the overwhelming majority of cases, they are on the side of the agents; this is still an unbreakable bond. Here it is precisely necessary to develop rules and laws by which one can and should continue to live and work.
- Is it possible to develop hockey under blockade conditions? When will our masters be returned to the international arena – “with a pitchfork across the water”...
- It cannot be developed, I must say frankly. You definitely need to test your capabilities in confrontation with foreign rivals. Compare, analyze. Moreover, this is the last time we became world champions, just imagine! – almost ten years ago. We were suspended at all levels, from the senior team to youth and youth teams. Yes, this hits our hockey players hard.
JUST AS IN FOOTBALL, REFEREES ARE BROUGHT WITH “LEFT” MONEY?
- Let's return to the world of big Russian hockey. How would you rate the level of refereeing in the KHL regular championship?
- I really want the head of the refereeing department, Mr. Anisimov, to be in the place of football referees, at least for a short time, to feel the fire of criticism on his own skin. In the football championship, after each round, merciless criticism pours in on the referees. Often fair.
In hockey there is peace and grace, as if there are no problems at all. Here in front of me is the latest issue of the Sport Express newspaper. No analytics or analysis of refereeing in past matches. But a whole lane is dedicated to the NHL. With a characteristic headline: “Finally McDavid scores!” I really don't care what McDavid scored and who he scored on. Write about current problems in your hockey. No, they don't take this on.
A very average level of arbitrage, at best. Full of mistakes, sometimes gross. Sometimes they influence the outcome of matches. This is what we need to talk about, analyze, and not engage in all sorts of nonsense in the same media.
- Not skIs there bias in the actions of some hockey referees? Maybe they are being brought money from outside for the “needed” result of a particular match for their teams?
- This was only possible during the period of the collapse of the Soviet Union. Here at the very beginning of the Russian championships. Now I don’t believe that this is possible. And you can see from the nature of the mistakes on the site that this is not bias. Just mistakes, I repeat once again, sometimes gross, affecting the result. For example, there are different interpretations of the rules of the same episodes. In general, the level of judging leaves much to be desired...