HF’s Interview with Alexander Shinin

By Eugene Belashchenko




DATE: 06/03/02


Alexander Shinin is a
promising offensive defenseman.  He is a complete package with size, hockey
sense and ability.  He spent the past season playing with Traktor Chelyabinsk in
the Russian Upper League.  During the 2001-02 season, Alexander has been
consistently invited to join the ’84 Russian National squad in international
competition.   There, he joined his friend and Traktor Chelyabinsk teammate,
Alexander Semin.  Alexander is a friendly, open guy and gets along very well
with his teammates.  RussianProspects and HF writer Eugene Belashchenko caught
up with Alexander, while he was resting in Chelyabinsk after coming back from a
team (Traktor Chelyabinsk) vacation in Turkey.


What are up to?

Nothing really –I am taking
it easy.


When did the team let you

They let me go after the 24th
[of May].  We went to

together for vacation.


As a whole team?

Yeah, right now I am still
in the city [
– EB], and I want to go to Turkey for another week, and then, well, that’s it. –
Then we are planning to go [to Toronto for the draft  – EB] on the 24th
[of June – EB].

First of all, can you tell me where you were born, how you started to play

I was born in Chelyabinsk. 
At about seven, my father brought me to play hockey. 


Did you start playing as a
defenseman from the beginning?

Yes. It just happened that
way.  At first I was little, and did not think much about it and then I played
as coach placed me. 


Who had the biggest
influence on you becoming a hockey player?

Coach, Alexander Stapanich
Glaskov –
first I played for our neighborhood team and then I moved on to a hockey school.


How would you describe your
playing style to those who are not very familiar with you?

First of all I am a
defenseman. I play defensively first, but my style is of an offensively minded
defenseman.  I shoot a lot on the net and join in [on the offensive – EB].


And how is your shot?

I think it’s pretty good
– back when we were little, I already had the most powerful shot on the team. 


In your opinion, in what
characteristics of your game do you feel you need to work on the most?

Well, first of all, I need
to work on my skating – skating backwards, for example. 


At the beginning of this
past season, while you played in the Upper League with Traktor, did you set any
goals before yourself?  Do you feel you achieved your set goals?

I definitely had the goal to
play in every game, to play on the power play and shorthanded.  And I believe
that yes, I was out there.  I mean, I was trusted on the power play and
shorthanded and I believe that I justified their trust.


How pleased are you with
your past season with Traktor? 

I am 100% pleased with this
past season, as it was my first season playing with men.   It was kind of
difficult, but it went all right.


And who did you play
together with on a defensive pairing? With someone specific or various?

I constanly played with
someone different – because there were injuries, or something else. 


Were you replacing other
guys, or did you constantly have a role on the team?

I always had a constant role
on the team.  This season, I did not spend a single match with the second [farm
– EB] team.


In the April of this year,
you went with the Russian National Team to

How did you like it? What kind of a role did you have?

I believe I played
respectably. Of course there was a slight nervousness, but I believe that
overall, I played well and was dependable. 


There, did you play in
pairing with another one specific defenseman or a number of different ones?

There I played together with
Alexei Stonkus from Lokomotiv. 


And how do you think you
guys played together?

I think we played well – I
only allowed one goal during the Championships.


Did you get a lot of ice
time? What defensive pairing did you play in?

We were on the top pairing. 
We stepped on to the ice with the starting line.  It did vary though —
sometimes we played on the second pairing, sometimes on the third, but most
often were the first on the ice. 


What are your plans for next

Next year I want to play in
the Super League.


Do you have any offers?

Yes, I do have offers – from
Magnitagorsk, but I believe the most realistic one is from Mechel.  Mechel
Chelyabinsk because I will be closer to home.


Have you heard anything
regarding the changes that are taking place in Chelaybinsk hockey – the coaches
are changing…

Yes, yes, the coaches are
changing. Here in the newspaper it was written that Traktor’s new coach is
Makarov.  So, I don’t know if I will be able to leave for Mechel, because they [Traktor
– EB] most likely will not let me go. 


Do you have a contract with

No, I still have a contract
with Traktor.  But that contract was agreed upon while I was under 18 and it is,
well, kind of unofficial.


Is it written in letter?

Yes, it is a written
contract, but my parents signed it.  I believe that after 18 you should sign
your own contracts, and I have not yet signed anything myself, since my parents
signed it.


Do you follow NHL over

NHL, yes of course I follow
it.  Sometimes we go to bars and root.  We have a group here and we constantly
watch matches together. 


Is it a group of players or
a group outside hockey?

No, it’s a group outside of
hockey, but those who love hockey. 


What do you think are the
main differences between hockey in the NHL and in


There, first of all, the
game is fast, while here it is slower. There is also more physical play over
there, more hits. 


And do you think you play a
physical or more of a European style of hockey?

More of a European style,
but when necessary I can play the body.


When do you plan on coming

We plan on leaving on the 17th,
so on the 18th.


What are you going to do
before the draft?

Well, we are going to go
sightseeing around the city’s landmarks.  I am going there with my mom and dad.


On the international arena,
do you plan on continuing to play with the Russian U18 squad?

Of course, and I also hope
to make the Russian U20 squad.


Do you know the coach of the
U18 junior team well? I believe his name is Iskhakov.

I don’t know if after the
World Championships [U18 – EB] the coach was relived or not. 


There was a serious

Yes, there were rumors that
he [Iskhakov – EB] was going to be replaced prior to the World Championships. 


Could you tell us why?

I really don’t know.


[further on the coaching
situation – EB]

At first there was [the
coach of the ’84 squad – EB] Sevidov, then it was the Chelyabinsk coach Ilya
Federovich Shumakov. 


And how was he?

Well he was, how can I say
it, I don’t know.  We went to tournaments and finished third or fourth.  Ravil
Iskhakov is understanding – sets the tone before a game, directs us, explains


Can you share you
impressions regarding the last game? Well, actually can you talk about all the
games, and then why it turned out that way in the last game.

We were determined before
each game.  The level of effort was there, the collective molded well. In he
last game we, most of all, were physically and morally tired.  And the Americans
were more prepared physically.  Finally, we just weren’t fortunate, simply not


You play on the team with
Alexander Semin, he also plays with Traktor.  Are you guys friends?

Yes, of course we are
friends.  When we are in Chelyabinsk we call each other often.  We even rented
an apartment and lived together – without the parents.  We even cooked


 – Eugene Belashchenko