International Ice Hockey Federation

Boost from Chicago

Boost from Chicago

Q&A with Russian forward Artemi Panarin

Published 12.04.2023 16:34 GMT+3 | Author Pavel Lysenkov
Boost from Chicago
Russian forward Artemi Panarin. Photo: Richard Wolowicz / HHOF-IIHF Images
The Calder Trophy candidate arrived in Russia for the World Championship and immediately gave us a very funny interview.

The season with the Chicago Blackhawks was hard. Are you not tired?
To be honest, we were given plenty of rest. I don't know how much the other teams work. For Chicago the schedule was rather light. There was only one training session for the whole last month. Generally it is: game – rest – game – rest.
And I just arrived from Russia. I got outraged. “Where are the practices guys?!” And then I got brazen when we had no rest and started saying: “What the hell?”

After the seventh game in the series with St. Louis you hugged your friend Vladimir Tarasenko. What did you tell each other in the ear?
Simple words. “Great! Well done!” We often talk with Volodya on the phone. Before the seventh game he told me: “Artemi, you should order the apparel of the correct size for the national team.” We can joke about it, but I actually ordered the apparel.

What do the NHL playoffs mean for you?
In the first two games St. Louis was strong. They ran around full of energy with their eyes wide opened. They gave no space, constantly hit with the stick and shoved under the knee. All sorts of unpleasant things. When the opponent has the will and power, he is a meat grinder. And then the Blues got tired. We were told that in Chicago that in the next round the game will be normal.

Is it true that Artem Anisimov told you to: “Just play your hockey”?
Yes. That's all. And then I go out on the ice, they yell something at me from the bench. I am panic-stricken. I do not know where to run. I was told to play hockey. What can I do? In general, our unit has only been improvising. I was told some tactics, but I could not understand anything. Anisimov did not translate it. And we had our own hockey. That is why it is more difficult for the opponent. We think outside the box. We do whatever comes to mind.

How much did the rookie dinner in Chicago cost you?
$5,000. By the way I have still not returned them to Tikhonov. My card did not work then. I asked Viktor: “Do you have money by chance?” And I’ve been paying my debt for half a year. At least now I have some bonuses – I’ll give it all back.

Which bonuses?
I had to be in the top-10 of the league of forwards. I did not think about the bonuses then. A journalist told me about them. And I lost my peace of mind. I asked a friend: send me the list of top-10 scorers. I studied it and started to think. I did not sleep the whole night. I had such a chance! I had to put it together... And I got three points in the first period! And Tarasenko was just behind me on the list. I would have deleted his phone number had he overpassed me! I even told him: “Vladdy, end this!”

Are you sure that you will win the Calder Trophy as the best rookie of the NHL?
I would love to! I will actually be displeased I do not win.

Have you gotten used to your new nickname “Bread Man”, which the Chicago fans gave you?
It is pleasant as it is from a kind heart. Even the Russian guys know about my nickname and write messages on social networks: “How are you loaf?” or “How are you baton?” I love it.

You played several games without Kane or Anisimov. What is the difference?
When you play with Kane, who has already proved a lot, the game still goes through him. When I was taken from him, I was my own artist and owner. It is great to play with him. But when I remember that I actually can do something on the ice and get pleasure from it – it is good too.

It is always interesting to see your Instagram account.
I upload pictures there once every two weeks. In the beginning I used to post a lot, I have many pictures in my album. But now if you take a picture of yourself in the mirror in Chicago – your friends immediately write: “What are you doing?”

Once you recorded a video of how Patrick Kane was greeting everyone for New Year in Russian.
I also wanted to record how Duncan Keith sang a Russian hit “A glass of vodka on the table” after the season. I tried but he could not sing already.

Who brought who to the next level afterall. Did you bring Patrick Kane up or did he bring up your level?
Anisimov brought us both up. He ran on defence first when we lost the puck. He works hard for both of us. The fans need to make a picture in Photoshop where Artyom is standing with a shovel and a pot.

Is Chicago ready to give you a long-term contract?
I am open for negotiations from 1st July. But Chicago has problems with salary cap, which I do not like. And you cannot earn more from bonuses. They are only meant for rookies.

What do you remember from the 2000 and 2007 World Championships, which were also held in Russia?
That I was resting somewhere in Turkey. You cannot get hockey on TV there. You cannot save any emotion. I am already happy by simply being on the national team. It is unusual when people speak Russian behind you. I shudder and turn around. Then I understand that I am home.

Who will support you from your hometown Korkino?
Nobody. My grandfather wanted to but there is no one to take care of him here. He will get lost in Moscow. Where will I look for him then?

Will you take your grandfather to Las Vegas for the Calder Trophy?
I am scared of getting lost there myself! What is the point of travelling half the world for a few days only? It is better if grandfather flies to Chicago for a few months next season. I have to rent a bigger flat and solve the problems with the visa.

You have beaten many club records and have had a great season. Can you now say that you are a star?
Not long ago, I remembered a term from junior hockey – do what you have to. That is, you are already a member of the KHL, you are playing for the men. I was already three years in with Vityaz, but was still scared to tell myself that I had done what I had to. What if something went wrong? And now I can say that I have done what I had to. But nothing more. I am not a star.


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