IVAN KOLTSOV’S FIRST NORTH
EB: First of all, can you
tell me where you were born, how you started to play hockey?
Koltsov: I started to play
hockey when I was seven in Cherpovets.
EB: Who had the biggest
influence on you becoming a hockey player?
I. Koltsov: Definitely my
father, he is the one who got me to start playing hockey. At first I was
actually a forward, but then I got tired of it and I became a defenseman.
EB: Got tired of it?
Yeah, there seemed too much
hassle with no point, so I decided to be a defenseman.
EB: Where did you start
In Cherpovets – I was born
there as well.
EB: How would you describe
your playing style to those who are not very familiar with you?
Well, I do not join in on
offense. Positionally, I am simply a defenseman and play defense. I play
calmly – without too much unnecessary hassling. I get my guy and stay with him.
EB: In what characteristics
of your game do you feel you need to work on the most?
I need to improve my
physical game. I really need to work on everything, but mainly I need to get
stronger. My skating is also a work in progress and still needs improvement.
EB: Can you tell me a bit
about the last season. Where did you play – where did you start it, where did
you finish it?
Mainly I played for
Severstal’s second team. I did spend a couple of practices with the first team,
but mainly I played for the second team.
EB: Did you playe for the
I did. I played for the National Team in Slovakia last fall. I was also at the
team’s training camp prior to the New Year and the [U18 – EB] World Junior
Championships. There I was one of the last players cut from the team.
EB: You spent the last
season in the 1st League. Did you set any goals before yourself in
the beginning of the season and do you think you achieved them?
Yeah, definitely. I needed
to play well on the second team, so that I could get invited to play for the
first team. And here’s the result – the first [Super League – EB] team invited
me in the preseason to join them. Anyway, I actually transferred to a different
EB: What role did you have
in Severstal 2?
I was the leader of the
team. I played in all kinds of situations – shorthanded, on the power play. I
really like to play on the power play. I don’t like to play shorthanded too
much, but I understand it’s necessary. I played on the first and second
defensive pairings of the team.
EB: What roled did you have
on the Russian National ’84 squad?
I did not play often on the
power play. I did go out there, played and that’s it. Meaning, I wasn’t the
leader, but more of an average defenseman.
EB: Can you talk a bit about
the tournament that you went to last fall in Slovakia?
I. Koltsov: Well, we could
have played better. I think we lost to the Czechs. We weren’t together and
did not play well.
EB: How do you think you
your self did?
Not bad, I think good enough
for a 4 or a 4+ (B or a B+ – EB)
EB: Is this you first visit
to North America?
No, I have already been
about seven times. I have already been to Toronto
three times. I was also in Ottawa, Vancouver. I mainly came here with the
Youth National Team. Also, also went and visited my agent, Don Amine. I think
it’s a beautiful over here. People live well, but then it gets a little tiring
and I want to go back home. I get a little bored – I don’t know English well
and it’s hard for me to say something.
EB: Do you follow North
I constantly watch NHL
games. I watched Toronto vs. Carolina. I like Carolina better – seem more a
European team, but I think they were more lucky then Toronto. Toronto
is a good team.
EB: What do you think are
some of the differences between Russian and North American hockey?
I. Koltsov: There is
more battling over here – the players play with more intensity over here. The
best and the strongest play here. It is very interesting.
EB: This year you were
invited to the annual NHL draft which this year is held in Toronto.
The Central Scouting Bureau ranks you 37th amongst European skaters –
which gives you a very solid chance to get drafted very high in the draft. What
are your feelings regarding this? Did you feel any pressure?
I. Koltsov: I did
not feel much pressure. Draft is a draft – there is nothing horrible about it.
drafted you, what is your opinion about your new team?
I. Koltsov: It’s a
solid NHL team. I was drafted 106th overall. I expected that I
would be drafted somewhere around there.
EB: What are you plans for
I. Koltsov: I am
transferring to Dynamo Moscow. I am not sure if I will make the starting
lineup, but I will try.
EB: Why did you not stay
I. Koltsov: I think
because Dynamo has a better development school. More plays went on to play in
the NHL from there.
EB: Do you have a favorite
hockey player who you follow and try to emulate?
I really like Pronger.
Lidstrom is pretty good. I think they are great defensemen.
EB: Ivan, thanks a lot for
doing this interview.
No, thank you for the
– Eugene Belashchenko