His four goals and two assists led the New York Rangers in scoring during the preseason, but 21-year old rookie Artem Anisimov wasn't one hundred percent sure he'd start the season with the big club until he stepped on the ice in Pittsburgh last Friday night. Before he did, the native of Yaroslavl, Russia spoke to hometown sports web site Yaroslavl Sport about his preseason success, his highlight reel goal against the Boston Bruins, scoring on his friend and former teammate, Washington Capitals goaltender Semyon Varlamov, and what lies ahead.
The first three games of the regular season haven't been quite as successful as the preseason was for Anisimov, but in his two years with the Hartford Wolf Pack the lanky center has shown a willingness to work hard, adapt to the situation in front of him, and take the lessons he's taught to heart. It'll only be a matter of time before he joins fellow rookies Michael Del Zotto and Matt Gilroy in scoring his first NHL goal.
- Artem, may I congratulate you: Your fate has been decided — you’re on the Rangers’ roster!
- Thanks, of course. But, I wouldn’t put it so categorically. How has it been decided? It can change any minute. For now I’m on the team, and I’ll most likely play in the first road game against Pittsburgh. But then — we’ll see what happens.
- Recount in detail how you managed to create that masterpiece in the exhibition game against Boston. Was it a move you worked on or an improvisation? Did that goal give you confidence? Or has it become routine for you?
- What is there to say! And is it really possible to call it a masterpiece? I simply beat the defenseman and acted according to the situation. Even though it’s a move I worked on in practice, in games it doesn’t always work. In the game with Boston, it worked. I’m just glad for that goal, glad that I scored, and that my team won!
- It seems that you were happier when you upset Varlamov in the exhibition game with Washington. Didn’t Semyon resent the goal you scored? If you had not opened the scoring for your team in the third period, it’s possible his shutout would have stood up. Do you know a weak spot of Semyon’s — your former teammate on Lokomotiv — that helped you score this goal? By the way, was it possible to talk to him after the game?
- I didn’t talk to him after the game, but I was very glad that I scored on him in the NHL — even though it wasn’t the regular season, it was still nice. As for his weak spots, I’ve already forgotten how he played, and where his weak spots are!
- Four goals in four games — even if they’re practice games — is that regular work for you?
- I set out in every game to score or at least set-up a goal, or to do everything so that a goal is scored. In general, I do everything so that my team wins!
- Ok… but goal-scoring streaks — what’s your record? Do you generally track such statistics?
- Honestly, I don’t remember! But, I think in Hartford I scored goals in five games in a row.
- Let’s get back to the start of the regular season. With what sense are you preparing for the first game of the season? Did the coach say anything to you about the results of camp before including you in the line-up?
- No, the coach didn’t say anything, he simply put me in the line-up in the exhibition games, and now in the first game of the regular season. So I’m preparing as usual — as I do for every game.
- But preseason is one thing, the regular season is another… is there really no difference? Aren’t you nervous? Or are you so confident in your strengths, so perfectly prepared, that you have no doubts?
- A game is a game. It’s the same game whether it’s in the regular season, in the Stanley Cup finals, or in exhibition games — everyone gives their all: someone’s better, someone’s worse. My debut game for the Rangers was last season, so no, I’m not nervous. Though, to be honest… the nervousness is always there, you can’t get rid of it.
For more from the interview, visit Beyond the Blueshirts.