How do you like that for a title? Just be thankful I didn’t embed footage from its infamous knife fight scene that showcased Vigo Mortensen's junk flailing about. As Brian Wilson would say, you’re fucking welcome.
As it turns out, Dmitri Chesnokov is on a bit of a roll lately for imparting some badly needed Senators news to the masses during these dreadfully monotonous times. First there was his translation of a Russian interview with Alexei Kovalev that threw Cory Clouston and the local media under the bus. Now comes news that Nikita Filatov has been promised certain things by Ottawa management.
According to Puck Daddy’s Russian correspondent (@dchesnokov), “Nikita Filatov tells SovSport he was promised a 1st or a 2nd line spot as well as PP time after a talk with #Sens GM"
Those Russian papers, they always
make up get the best quotes.
I found the SovSport article that Chesnokov was referring to and while there was no mention of Bryan Murray that Chesnokov alluded to. I'm left to believe that the 'alleged' promise is featured within the video interview that accompanies the article. So if you speak Russian, by all means have at it - link
Filatov did however mention that he found out about his trade to Ottawa on the internet and that when he met with the organization, they told him that the trade was influenced by Paul MacLean - who had seen him play in several games against his Red Wings. So there's that... Nikita's admission (via his agent) that the Senators had expressed interest in him prior to the trade is also noteworthy. Whether that interest went back days or years isn't clear - certainly makes you wonder if those Filatov for Brian Lee rumours were legit.
Nonetheless, getting back to Chesnokov's Twitter reference - would it surprise me if some context was lost in translation during Nikita’s exit interview with Bryan?
Nor would it surprise me if some 13-year old girl confused Nikita by posing as Bryan Murray on the young forward's Formspring account.
What’s transparent from this situation is that with a lack of highly skilled forwards amidst Ottawa’s forward ranks, assuming that his work ethic isn't questionable, Filatov should be afforded opportunity to exhaust his options prove that he can be a top six forward in the NHL. Or at the very least, demonstrate that he produce well enough to become a saleable asset - whether it's a one-for-one trade or as part of a bigger trade package - that allows the organization to recoup a better return than it gave up (a third rounder) to bring him into the fold.As Hockey Prospectus' Corey Pronman noted on Twitter (@coreypronman), Paul MacLean and the coaching staff can help insulate whatever defensive shortcomings Filatov has by giving him second line minutes and very soft zone starts/qual comp wise. In other words, at even strength Filatov should receive favorable zone starts by putting him on the ice before faceoffs within the offensive zone. By using him in these in low leverage situations, there's less risk a player like Filatov to get hemmed into the defensive zone.
Your move Sergei. Which line would you place Filatov on to start the season?
I am a native Russian speaker, and listened to the interview. From what I heard, Filatov did not say that he was 'promised' top 6, but made it clear at one point (about 34 min in the interview) that is what he expects. He was asked by B.M. "what can you do?", and answered - scoring and passing ('I thought first about giving a standard answer - will do everything what I am asked to - but decided to give a straight one'). BM said that that is what Ottawa needs now, currently lacking a clear-cut 'attacking forward' or sniper, and that he is expected to fill that gap. The interviewers suggested that implies top six and pp minutes, and Filatov agreed (saying 'of course' and 'naturally'). The interviewers aksed again - did they say you will be on power play? He answered "we did not talk about that yet". He also mentioned that he had a conversation with the new coach about possible partners, the coach had some ideas, but Filatov refused to go into details. He considers himself an attacking player whose game is to score and pass (the order depends on his partners as he said), and seems to be happy that Ottawa looks for that part of his game, rather than wanting to re-cut him into a power-type defensively-minded forward (my loose translation), as Columbus tried to. Filatov also said at one point that he believes he is now much better at defense. He was asked to gain weight at Columbus, and got too much of it in his opinion, and lost his game in part due to that too. E.g. "Started to try to protect the pack with my body rather than use my legs and mobility to get away, and that is not my game" (loose translation). Said that he is now down to 85 kilos (about 187 pounds), and he feels that is how he should stay for his game. Has been training for 8 years with a same conditioning coach who also looks after Kovalchuk, Zherdev and some other Russian NHLers. Saying he is in a good shape physically and much better morally. Looking forward to a fresh start in Ottawa.
The Russian media aren't exactly sticklers for details. They regard interviews the same way the KHL views contracts - with a great deal of flexibility for interpretation.
Speaking of Gonchar, though, I am glad he feels like he is getting a fresh start with Maclean. There is no question that Clouston had a hard time coddling, err, I mean communicating with veteran divas. That's part of life as an NHL coach, though. We are stuck with Gonchar and his brutal contract until at least the trade deadline, so he is happier and more productive, great.
bogus or not, i wasn't at all shocked by those comments. we all know who filatov is - i'm sure he does expect to play on the top 2 lines, and like you said, it's likely that he WILL at least some of the time.
my opinion that it was a worthwhile trade doesn't change either. if he's good - hey, that's great. if he doesn't cut it and fucks off back to russia - oh well, we've got bigger fish to fry anyway, and we probably still got more out of him than we would have from a 3rd rounder.
@AlTag Well done and thank you. I'll use this for another blog post and give you full credit. Thank you.
@Dennis_Prouse Working under the assumption that Gonchar actually has a productive turnaround season, it's going to be interesting to see how Murray manipulates the team's payroll to stay above the cap floor and parlay some expendable veteran talent.
@Nichols6thSens@AlTag Pleased if it helps. I enjoy your posts greatly and am happy to contribute. I wanted to add a note about cultural differences. It is probbaly well known by now that guys from Russia often have problems with staying 'politically correct'; 'pc' is not the norm there, people all the time say things, including on the air, that would be considered improper in North America. Straight answers are expected, and do not cause an uproar even if somewhat controversial. It has pluses and minuses. At least you know to some extent what the guy thinks. Skin gets thicker, critical comment does not sting quite as much. Same appears to be true for Swedes at least to some extent, judging by Lehner's outbursts. I do not think, for example, that Kovalev's comments, which I read in Russian, would cause much uproar there even if they were directed at Russian journalists. Also, nuances are generally lost in translation.
@AlTag Could you send me an email? the6thsens at live dot com. Would like you to be involved whenever something needs translation from a Russian website. Thanks!