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“Before the legionnaires played in the KHL because of the salary plan.” Interview with the goalkeeper “Salavat”

Date: May 20, 2024 Time: 02:49:48

Salavat Yulaev finished the 2023 playoffs in an unconventional way: elimination in the first round is clearly not about the Ufa team. The “Championship” spoke with Yulaevites’ main goalkeeper last season and part-time with one of the oldest goalkeepers in the league. Ilya Yezhov spoke about Juha Metsola’s stick, goalkeeper rivalry, new rules, problems with the Russian language and the positive impact of cap reduction in the KHL on the school of Russian goalkeepers.

“My strongest language is French, then English”

– Does your personal preseason take place in Canada? – I have a family, children live there, so yes. Trying to spend all my vacations in Canada, at home.

So there are no additional charges? The preseason is still here. There are trainings, but there it is a way of life. When the season ends, in Russia it is a little different: here they leave the youngsters to train with the clubs, and there they themselves, alone. If you are members of any agency, you all train and practice together. I had a camp for young goalkeepers, I started it for the future, so I spent a lot of time on the ice.

Have you drawn any conclusions after the long season in the KHL? – No. The preseason hasn’t changed. The hours are basically the same. Added some games. To be honest, not much has changed for us.

— Do you really forget Russian because of your life in Canada? The first weeks are a bit difficult. My strongest language is French, then English. She spent her entire childhood at school in French and English. And the Russian needs to warm up a bit. A couple of weeks, maybe a month.

How long does acclimatization take? – Three or four days, depending on the flight, the loads, they gave me a couple of days to get used to it. Therefore, I am grateful that I was not immediately sent into battle.

– Aren’t you coming to the training ground before the others? – He always came. There was just a situation with the equipment – there were delays and delays with everything at once. With helmet coloring: the artist requested a deadline of July 24 to send the helmet. And for other teams – skates, for example, just in time for this period, all the form came and I immediately went. I needed two days for the flight. I left on the 25th and arrived on the 27th. That’s why it happened.

But I think I didn’t miss much, I got hooked on the last week of intensive training. Still I am 36 years old, I understand my body, my body. I take care of myself, that’s why I quickly return to a good physical peak.

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“My clubs arrived, only there was a small error in the name”

– Part of last season you played with a Metsola club. Until what time? Until they changed my last name. My clubs arrived, only there was a small mistake in the name.

“Keep Yuuhi’s staff?” – No. I have no Juha clubs left, only with my misspelled last name. Added an additional letter. But before I left, I handed over her cane to the fan, she was very supportive of Yuha.

“Why didn’t you bring the sticks right away?” – I already have a very big overload. In fact, I placed an order for clubs, but they forgot to fulfill it. But when the time came and I was running out of Juhi’s discos, I called to find out where my order was, they apologized and said they forgot to make. Small nuances, but you get used to it.

– Is all the protection ready? – Almost yes. The clubs are not ready, they have already been ordered, but they will arrive in three or four months. I will play from last year. But there are sticks, I’m not complaining, here with the form, with the equipment, everything, in principle, is almost normal.

Ilya Yezhov

Photo: hcsalavat.ru

– Together with Proskuryakov and Sudnitsyn, you are the oldest goalkeeper in the KHL. Is there a secret? – You follow the food on vacation: you don’t want to lose shape. I also arrived at the right weight, quickly lost 6 kg and also gained muscle mass during this time. In fact, you just need to keep moving. Don’t sit on the sofa. I was lucky that my son was also a goalkeeper, he spent a lot of time on the ice. This is the best way to keep fit. Larionov said in an interview many years ago: “If you want to play for a long time, you should immediately come to training.” In Canada everything is created for it. There are leagues where you can get together with friends and play hockey. Goalie camps. Just enough. Therefore, this was enough for me not to lose shape.

– How old is your son? – Six. He started playing at the same time as us: I played the first match of the Bashkortostan Republic Cup tournament, and he played the first tournament of his career. It was great that we played at the same time. He had two matches: he lost the first, but won the second. Final impressions are positive.

– Was the increase in the championship more difficult for you? – It depends on physics, on past injuries. The defense helped me last season, the team took on a lot of workload. Sudnitsyn was in Nizhnekamsk, Proskuryakov was in Traktor, so they had a little more load on games. This is a big difference. I also played in Togliatti, I played in SKA – these are different games when you make 30 shots or about 20. I was lucky that the guys helped me and I somehow endured it well.

– Do you have any idea about ending your career? – Yes I have. She would be lying if she said no. He would physically play until he was 40, like Koshechkin. Maybe even more. But psychologically I still miss my family, it’s hard. The older the children are, the harder it is not to be in their life. There are thoughts, I’m still not 100% sure what will happen. But I would still like to be closer to them.

– Did Russian hockey lose a lot with the end of Vasily Koshechkin’s career? – Certainly. She is a Russian hockey legend. Holder of all goalkeeper records. It was very nice to play against him, to see him become champion. It was unusual, even in Canada this summer players said Koshechkin is the best goaltender to ever play in the NHL. Who played in Russia. We will miss him, but his story will live on for a long time. I don’t think anyone can even get close to his records.

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“At my age I’m already used to maintaining a positive rivalry with the goalkeepers”

– Last season you played more matches than Andrey Kareev. But some consider him a stronger goalkeeper. What is your opinion? – There are many small nuances in the goalkeeper’s plan. You cannot simply say that the goalkeeper is stronger or weaker. He must be placed in different situations. That’s why I’m satisfied with myself. I will not judge others. If someone talks, let them talk.

– Didn’t it seem that Andrei was underestimated? — He had a good season. In fact, his score was pretty big, he was an All-Star. Therefore, he was rated based on his stats. I wish you good luck.

– Did you become friends with Alexander Samonov? – I knew him. We played with him in Vityaz. He is a very good person, a good teammate, I think we will do a good tandem with him this season. I am very happy to have a new partner.

Alexander Samonov

Photo: Svetlana Sadykova, photo.khl.ru

– Or maybe it will force you to leave the role of number one? — I think they hired him for the first role. We are still trying to give the team a chance to win. And knowing Alexander, he is a very good person, a team person. We have a task – to give the team a chance to win every game. For me personally, it doesn’t matter who plays. At my age I was already used to positive rivalry between goalkeepers. It only benefits when there are two goalies who can support each other and get to the next level.

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– Do you communicate with the young goalkeepers of Salavat Yulaev? – Of course, I communicate. The season is long, my children are in Canada, I try to communicate with young people as much as possible. I suggest, I’m trying to move something.

– There are fewer and fewer legionnaires-goalkeepers. Does this help the Russian goalkeepers? Serebryakov and Demchenko in their teams played a huge number of matches last season. – A couple of years ago, almost all the big clubs had a foreign goalkeeper and I experienced it at SKA. There are a lot of good Russian goalkeepers who have always been behind the scenes. Shesterkin was second and third in SKA, went to America and beat Vezina, now he is considered one of the best. And here in the playoffs he did not even get into the team first, the Swedes and Finns played. They always kicked him out.

The limit gave way to the Russian goalkeepers. We saw it last year. This is good for Russian goalie hockey. In the NHL now Russian goalies dominate. That period has begun. There were a lot of Finns, Swedes, Canadians, now there are a lot of strong Russian goalkeepers. I think this is a good example for young people who are here for the next generation. I think it’s okay.

Ilya Yezhov

Photo: hcsalavat.ru

— Is there any explanation why there was a breakthrough? – It can be assumed that when a Russian goalkeeper dominates, say, in the NHL, everyone looks at him. Bobrovsky was a good example: he beat Vezina, followed immediately by Vasilevsky. These goalkeepers have laid a very solid foundation. Both Shesterkin and Sorokin aspired to be like Bobrovsky. These goalkeepers led the way, it is very important to see it live. They made camps, Bobrovsky made schools in Novokuznetsk. It gives the impression, the motivation for young goalkeepers, to see physically and imagine that they can do it too.

This new generation of Shesterkin, Sorokin, Kochetkov, Prosvetov is the future. The time will come to transfer his experience to new goalkeepers, so that they too aspire to play in the NHL.

– Some teams give Russian passports to foreigners. Do you think this is unfair to others? – Well, if they do it with an honest heart, why not? On the other hand, it is not entirely fair. But if I had such a choice – to play somewhere in the Olympics – I would choose it. The race is very short, I believe that every opportunity should be taken, and these opportunities sometimes come very rarely. Therefore, a person cannot be judged for taking the opportunity to play hockey to give their family a different future, a different life financially. Therefore, I do not judge.

– Do you feel that there are fewer teachers in the league? There have always been teachers. I think even the Russian players had fewer chances. Now, in fact, in the same positions they give chances to the Russians and get the same points. I said a long time ago that many times they sign foreign players without knowing who they are, what their position is, where they played in the past.

They just look at the statistics and sign, although at the club there are guys who can and now they are showing that they can play at the same level, if not stronger. I had an example in Togliatti – Guryanov. Being a young player, he didn’t have any opportunity to show himself. As soon as he left for America, he revealed himself: they gave him the opportunity to play, and he showed that he has a very powerful pitch, he has everything. And here the legionnaire trainer simply put the legionnaire in this position. Stupid because of the salary plan: the club pays the player, he must justify that salary. Sometimes you have to see who really deserves this position.

Do you remember the last playoffs? – I have forgotten. If she had remembered what happened five months ago, she would not have played 14 years in a row. A goalkeeper must have a short memory. Now I’m trying to look to the future, we have a new season. And all that’s left in the past is trying to forget it and see what you can do new in training.

– Salavat Yulaev was famous for the fact that the players liked to be behind the goal. How will the three second rule affect the team?– Faster hockey. We had a meeting with the judges and they explained to us that they want to speed up hockey. Hockey is developing – it is already very fast, so we will get used to it. These are new rules, we have to adapt to this. This is not the first rule that is a bit unusual for players. But we keep going, hockey moves on. We will try to keep up.

Ilya Yezhov

Photo: hcsalavat.ru

– Another important change is the throw-in in the attack zone with broken expulsion. How does it feel from a goalkeeper’s point of view? – From the outside, if our team has the majority, then it is very profitable.

And if you are a minority? “I turned this around a bit in my head. In terms of attack, where hockey is headed, they want more goals, more chances. This is a very interesting solution. It will be a bit unusual for both fans and players to start the period in their zone. But I also repeat: get used to it. This is not the first rule to change. So I think we’ll see how it goes.

I have more questions for the goalie knob. That only white should be played. Now in Russia there are still a lot of sanctions and it is difficult for each club to order these special soft tapes. I don’t understand why the knob can’t be green or red. Black understands: it looks like a disk, but green or red…

Will the new rule increase performance? I think it will increase. When at the end of the removal and pieces of time remain, you try to fight until the end of the period. And for the 10-15 seconds of the next period, it’s very difficult to get into the zone after a throw-in in the middle. If you’re in the zone, then every second counts. Hockey is a very fast sport, the last playoffs showed that you can give away the whole game, stay focused, but in hockey a split second decides everything. I think it will be interesting. We will see more goals, that’s for sure.

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Puck Henry
Puck Henry
Puck Henry is an editor for ePrimefeed covering all types of news.

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