[If you blinked, you may have missed the fact that two heavyweights from Russian hockey, Vyacheslav (Slava) Bykov and Igor Zakharin, were in town the other day. They were on a whirlwind tour of North America to talk to potential members for the Russian national team for the upcoming World Championship. Slava Malamud from Sport Express reported on this in his guest column for Capitals Insider, and the following is a translation of a brief interview Slava had with Alexander Semin following the meetings, which appeared in todays issue of Sport Express.]
Alexander Semin: "Fedorov said we will go to the national team together"
Russian national team coaches Vyacheslav Bykov and Igor Zakharin were in Washington D.C. Saturday for the Washington-Tampa Bay game. Alexander Semin, who has been under the weather lately, was the first to meet with the coaches and spent more time than anyone else talking with them, and not just about the world championship. Indeed, the author of two goals in the finals has no reason to worry about his place on the team. But Alexander's health -- unfortunately a theme this year -- is vital.
"I didn't run a fever" the Russian said to your SE correspondent Slava Malamud. "True, I did have the chills a little bit, and my nose was running and I had a cough. But I haven't had that for several days now. I'm really tired of this."
Did you get a virus on the road trip or did you just catch a cold?
"I think I got a virus. How could you catch a cold in Tampa? Maybe from the air conditioning? Today I felt a little bit weak and they told me "It's best to get better and come back 100% ready."
How were your talks with the national team coaches?
"Okay. There's nothing secret about them. They talked a lot about the KHL and I found that interesting. There really wasn't a lot of talk about the national team, since right now all our thoughts are on the playoffs. It was understood that if we're free, then we'll come."
Are you already looking forward to Vancouver? Could you say that you've already staked out a place on the Olympic team?
"If I don't get injured and can keep playing like I've been playing. I know they're satisfied with my game right now."
And if you get knocked out of the playoffs is there a chance that the Washington troika of Ovechkin-Fedorov-Semin will be reunited?
"Sergei said that he'll go. ‘You can't go without me', he said."
Are you not worried, however, that you've had a lot of injuries the last two seasons? In America they could say that you are "predisposed to injuries".
"Yeah, I really didn't have injuries before this! I played well all season, didn't get injured, and then...it happens. Out of the blue I tore a muscle, and then I hurt my back."
Is the team finishing the season on autopilot? It seems you don't have the same eagerness that you had before.
"To tell the truth, the playoffs can't start soon enough. Everything is different then. Although, of course, it is better to go into them not having lost five in a row."