On Tuesday a group chat took place among several NHL players from Russia: Dmitry Orlov of the Washington Capitals, Evgeny Malkin of the Pittsburgh Penguins, and Mikhail Sergachev of the Tampa Bay Lightning. Vladimir Tarasenko of the St Louis Blues was also supposed to take part, but bowed out due to severe springtime allergies. The chat was moderated by Pavel Strizhevsky and transcribed by Artyom Agapov of Sports Express. Subjects discussed included the quarantine, training while in isolation, favorite activities, and top Russian League players.
Players’ Quarantine Location
Malkin, the oldest of the group, reported he was at home in Miami. He was tested for coronavirus and it came back negative. Walks at the beach are still allowed and the pool was open, the latter being good for his child for something to do. Restaurants, gyms, and everything else are closed. He trains on his balcony and in the street.
Orlov, the next eldest, was prompted to speak, “I am in Moscow and flew there on March 20 to be with my family. As a rule, we do not leave home and try to isolate ourselves. When I got there, I was in quarantine. They took a sample from me, tested for coronavirus and the results were negative. I work out on the entry way and almost never go outside. The only plus, is I can stay with my child and see how he grows since. In the season, there is no such opportunity. In general, everything is good. People just go out in small groups and abide by the rules.” Malkin then remarked that a quarantine would not stop Orlov as the latter trains both day and night.
Sergachev reported he was at his apartment in Tampa Bay. He takes his dog for a walk. He also had a cat, too. He has no children, which makes his life easier.
How Players Are Training
Orlov replied, “I train three times a week. I try not to over-train. It is not known what will happen with the rest of the season, if it will even take place or when it will restart. So, I keep myself in shape, try not to have extra fat.
How Long to Get Back in Game Shape
Malkin indicated that May 1 is when the NHL would decide on whether quarantine would be extended, or if players can return to their teams’ city. Being the oldest, Malkin admits it would take him longer to get back into shape than it would for either Orlov or Sergachev. With not having skated for a month and a half and with no definite end date for their current hiatus, Malkin admits it will be a long time. He feels players would need two to three weeks to get back in game shape and then another 2-3 days. Plus, practices are one thing, but games are another thing. Malkin cannot imagine going from a long period of no practice straight to the playoffs. It would not be realistic. Exhibition games would be needed.
Orlov answered, “There is not enough ice, of course. And the quality of our game would go down. And the situation is only getting worse.”
Sergachev cracked that it would take just a day and half for Orlov to get back in shape.
Best Russian Player This Season
There was discussion on who was the best player in the NHL. Malkin had suggested leaving both Ovechkin and Kucherov out of consideration, i.e. not including teammates. Their consensus is that Panarin was the best.
Funniest Guy in Russian Hockey
Malkin said the funniest guys among Russian hockey players were Ilya Kovalchuk and Nikita Gusev, and expected that Sergachev would choose Nikita Zadorov, whom he has played with in the past at the IIHF World Championships. Sergachev countered and said he considered Kovalchuk and Andrei Vasilevskiy the funniest.
Orlov answered, “One Chelyabinsk thug plays with me on the team.” [He referred to Evgeny Kuznetsov]
Malkin agreed with that and the entire group smiled.
Teammates With Whom You Would or Would Not Want to Be Quarantined
When the question was to agree to do this for a week, Orlov answered, “I would not want to be with anyone. I get enough time with teammates. I need a break.”
Malkin himself said he would not want to quarantine with the head coach but admits players are missing each other and video calls have begun. The discussion shifted to the fact that Sergachev was already in touch with teammate Nikita Kucherov. He sees many of his other teammates while around in Tampa. Malkin remarks that Tampa Bay is a rather friendly team.
Which Two Hockey Greats Would You Like to Talk Hockey With
The question was prompted by the fact that Alex Ovechkin and Wayne Gretzky were competing in NHL 2020 to raise money for charity.
Orlov’s answer was, “Gretzky and Ray Bourque. Gretzky is one of the greatest players. Bourque is an offensive defenseman, mobile. I saw highlight clips of his. It would be interesting to talk.”
Sergachev said, “Gretzky.” At that point, Orlov jumped in and suggested, “Kucherov” and all three players started laughing. Sergachev continued his reply, saying Bourque and Paul Coffey and also mentioned he had breakfast with Bobby Orr. That was when he was a prospect in a Canadian Junior hockey league and Orr was coaching one of the teams. Malkin admitted liking Peter Forsberg and Joe Sakic and admitted that he owned Avalanche gear as a kid.
How Did You Survive the Pause of Hockey Season
Orlov’s reply was the following, “That I was able to stay at home with my son, to see how he grows and changes. He will soon be 10 months old. He’s already expert in crawling and will probably start walking soon. All this is good to see. Plus, I started to cook a little. Usually, my wife cooks.
Malkin talked about how he caught up on sleep and spent time with his family. He has also been on roller blades and is teaching his son roller blading, too. He wants to be ready when the season restarts.
Kucherov admits that he spent time reading and also cooked a couple of times. Now he has to get ready for when the season starts up again. He knows that he still has to grow as a player. He alluded to the fact that Malkin and Orlov had won everything [i.e. Stanley Cup].
Why Did Orlov Not Remain in Washington
Orlov answered, “My family was in Moscow. It was a choice of who would fly. I did not want to risk the health of the child, so I risked myself.
How Psychologically Difficult is Quarantine
When that question was asked, Sergachev cracked, “Why are we not asking Orlov to answer. Is he okay or what?” Malkin then added, “He’s in Moscow and he’s doing well.”
Malkin had compared it to getting injured. He had injured his knee earlier and was out for two months. This is another case of where it is difficult to come back after an extended absence from the ice. He said he was fine, psychologically. He was at home with his family and said his child took up a lot of time. The most difficult factor is that the time for coming back was still unknown.
Orlov answered, “Plus, you’re with your family. But you still miss the game. The game is our job, which is nice to do. It will be hard to return to the ice when you haven’t skated for a long time. I know about myself and my injuries. The first month of hockey, I think, will be terrible. People will not understand what is going on. It will take time.”
What Might You Miss About Quarantine
Orlov answered, “I try not to think about this. I spend time with my family. During the season, we have a lot of roadtrips and often we do not see each other. I try to be useful at home and rejoice that I am with my family.”
What the craziest story you will tell about quarantine to children and grandchildren
Orlov: – Arrived in Moscow, they did not immediately leave the plane. People came in suits, everyone measured the temperature and congratulated everyone that no one had an increased temperature and that everyone could go. And then, including at the passport control, a lot of people in such suits. But we had no queues and delays. This is usually only seen in a movie, but in reality, in real life. Strange feeling. Because of the virus, many people have already died. It’s great that in Russia they quickly reacted to the situation.
Malkin: – I have no exciting stories. Constantly at home. But the situation itself – probably there are no countries in the world where quarantine has not been introduced. The whole story is scary and wild. I don’t know, I would like to tell my grandchildren about this. I hope this does not happen again.
Sergachev: – The fact that all countries have closed and you cannot be flown anywhere. They returned to the Middle Ages. Everything is closed, except for shops. I don’t think that I would also talk about this to my grandchildren. This is a sad time.
Malkin: – Who would have imagined that it would be impossible to find masks or sanitizers in stores.
Sergachev: – And toilet paper.
Malkin: – Yes. This is the funniest thing when people buy toilet paper with trucks.
Malkin: – There was not a single pandemic in history. People somehow managed. But it’s hard for me to imagine a modern world without means of communication and Instagram. I would walk more, get pets, play with them, learn to cook.
Orlov: – I agree that little can be invented. Just isolate yourself and sit at home. At least somehow work on yourself, read books and do something useful.
What’s in the fridge
Malkin: – It’s full. But this problem is not I, but my wife. There are many children. Surely soup. Yogurts, soup, eggs, milk, water.
Orlov: – When I arrived, there was a full refrigerator. If something is necessary, the wife writes a list, I’m going to the store.
Sergachev: – We also have everything.
Malkin: – Black caviar? Oysters
Sergachev: – I’m not in that order yet. The girl is cooking. Yesterday – Tatar pie. Easter, eggs, everything is there.
Malkin: – And you say, you follow the weight.
Sergachev: – I did not say that I monitor weight. Said I’m training. ( General laughter .)
About video games and rating in NHL 20
Sergachev: – I play Fortnite with Nikita Kucherov. ( With emphasis on e, looks at the laughing Malkin .)
Malkin: – It was possible not to speak.
Sergachev: – I do not play NHL 20, I have not seen my rating. And so – Fortnite, all sorts of shooting games.
Malkin: – I have a computer in Pittsburgh. And here is no computer, no set-top boxes. Therefore, I do not play in Miami. I would be in Pittsburgh, played Counter-Strike.
Orlov: – I do not play.
Sergachev (after thanking for the conversation on the offer to say goodbye): – And what is our rating?
Malkin: – Well, Kuch has more than yours. ( Everyone is smiling .)
By Diane Doyle