Michael Garnett. Traktor’s homefront soldier

My remote ancestors were from Ukraine

Michael, let’s talk about the last road trp, especially about the game against Spartak. Before you were substituted, you made a tremendous pad save; then bang! – rebound, goal, Mezin replaces you. Don’t you think Spartak’s forwards had too much breathing room that night?

First two periods were okay, but as the third period came along, we just gave up playing, and I don’t know why.

Do you blame yourself for those goals?

Goalies are always partly to blame when their team allows a goal. You always think you could have done something better. The match against Spartak was difficult in terms of shots I had to turn away. Besides, it seemed as if the whole team was moving in slow-motion; good thing we were able to turn that game around.

Andrey Mezin substituted you, making his first season appearance…

…and making one heck of an appearance! He did not have that many shots to deal with, but maybe his confidence woke the team up, and we rushed forward to save the game. I think it was great decision of our coaching staff; plus, Andrey did great in penalty shootouts.

The comeback thing is Traktor’s trademark in this season. Other teams’ fans watch Traktor’s games because they know they are in for a treat. Has the team been working on the solution to this problem?

Yes, of course we have. Still, I don’t know why this happens, but it drives me nuts. When the game starts, I think to myself how great it would be to score a couple of early goals, but boom! – next thing you know, we are behind. I really don’t have an explanation for that.

The next game was in Riga…

Oh, I love Riga, what a beautiful city! I used to spend some time in Riga. I really liked Elizabeth hotel, a magnificent building in the city center not far from a huge park. The Older City was just a ten-minute walk away from hotel. The Older City, by the way, is also a stunningly beautiful place – a lot of cathedrals, squares and small streets with shops, bars and restaurants. Everything reminds me of Europe in Riga. The atmosphere in the arena resembles that of a European soccer stadium. I was very impressed.

After Dinamo Traktor played against Donbass. Was it your first trip to Ukraine?

Yes, and a very special one. You see, my remote ancestors were from Ukraine. My grandparents were born in Canada, but their parents moved there from Ukraine in the end of the 19th century. Some of my relatives have always wanted to visit Ukraine, but it was only me who managed to do it so far.

Pizza after the game makes wonders for your body

Do you know what city your ancestors were from?

No, it was a very long time ago. But if we talk about Donetsk, I was also very impressed with city. The hotel we stayed in was one of the most magnificent hotels I’ve ever seen. Everything around the city was shining and sparkling like it’s been polished. We also passed by the soccer stadium, and boy, wasn’t it marvelous! It resembled a spacecraft from the distance!

Do you know how all of this appeared?

Sure, Donetsk was one of Euro-2012 host cities. Anyways, I was very impressed with Donetsk.

Do you know what Ukraine is also famous for?

No. What is it?

Beautiful women. During the broadcasts from Donetsk the cameras rather showed the lovely Ukrainian ladies than replays.

Maybe the match was lame (laughs)?

Apparently it was. By the way, I’ve wanted to ask you about the goal scored by Lokomotiv. You also did not have any idea there was six Loko’s players on the ice, did you?

No, of course I didn’t. I was focused on the attack, and I did not see the sixth man. Hell, nobody saw him! Unfortunately, the game is over, and the result stands.

Closing the topic of away matches, what do you do when on away series?

We either spend time in the hotel or walking around the city. I also like being alone though; you know, have a sleep, watch TV, and relax a bit.

What do you do before the game?

First breakfast in the morning, then a skating session, then back to the hotel, lunch, then the game.

Do you eat a lot before matches?
Hell yeah I eat a lot before matches (laughs)! Lunch is at noon, and the game usually is at 7 p.m., so it’s necessary to eat well and have a good sleep before the match.

Why a lot of players order pizza in the locker room after the match? Why not chicken or pelmenies?
Pizza is a kind of food that makes wonders for your body when you lose a lot of energy. Plus, pizza is good for your digestion.

I prefer soft pads

KHL All-Star Game is almost around the corner. What do you think about it?

It is a great concept, and I would love to participate if I get voted into it. I already have been a part of such events, and I would be grateful for each and every vote if I happen to get into the All-Star Game. I also hope that Chelyabinsk faithful will actively participate in the voting.

Any ideas on how to make the contests even more exciting?

Wow, I don’t know… I remember some ten years ago in the NHL goalies’ helmets were equipped with microphones and cameras so that they could communicate with commentators live. It was very fun. I've got such camera at home. It is usually used in extreme sports, but will also do the trick in hockey. At least I will agree if they decide to equip my helmet with it.

Speaking of goaltender’s equipment, which one do you use and what piece of advice could you give to the young goaltenders out there?

The most important thing is the dimensions. For instance, the pads; they should be fairly wide. When you take a lower stand, there should be no space between the pads for the puck to come through.

Aren’t there any restrictions as to the size and dimensions of the pads?

Actually there are, but they only take length into consideration; the width is up to everyone. I myself prefer soft pads. Each goaltender has his unique bodily constitution, so the sizes and dimensions should be chosen carefully. As far as equipment manufacturers go, I prefer Vaughn’s gloves, blockers, chest protector and pads; and Bauer’s helmets, sticks and skates.

Do you pick your stick’s curve yourself?

Yes, I do, because it is also a very important thing.

Do you have a contract with any of the companies you mentioned?

No, I just set the size and dimensions, and they send everything to me. I pay for it myself, and then the club covers my expenses.