Now, Chesnokov has done it again, this time over at Puck Daddy, where he's conducted a wide-ranging interview with the NHL's next superstar, Alex Ovechkin's teammate, Alexander Semin. Like most Russian hockey writers, Chesnokov seems to have the ability to connect with Russian players in a way that few North American hockey writers seem to be able to connect with their North American counterparts.
Time and time again, reporters like Chesnokov seem able to pry facts and opinions out of Russian players that we hardly ever see in the North American media. Earlier this week, Chesnokov sat down with Semin at a local sushi joint to talk hockey where he unearthed this nuggets from Semin:
Many people believe the Crosby/Malkin/Ovechkin rivalry is now the Crosby/Malkin/Ovechkin/Semin rivalry. Do you believe you're on that level of hockey stardom at this point in your career?Go read the rest of the incredible interview, right now.
What's so special about [Crosby]? I don't see anything special there. Yes, he does skate well, has a good head, good pass. But there's nothing else. Even if you compare him to Patrick Kane from Chicago ... [Kane] is a much more interesting player. The way he moves, his deking abilities, his thinking on the ice and his anticipation of the play is so superb.
I think that if you take any player, even if he is "dead wood," and start promoting him, you'll get a star. Especially if he scores 100 points. No one is going to care about anyone else. No one is going to care whether he possesses great skill. Let's say you put someone in front of the net and let him deflect pucks in, and he scored 50 goals; everyone will say "Wow!" and then hand him a $10 million per year contract. That's what they like here.
UPDATE: Chesnokov tells me that a more complete version of the interview will appear next month in Sovetsky Sport.