Forgot that I’m a Champion of the World already…

This Eurotour Zinetula Bilyaletdinov expects more from you and Vladimir Tarasenko. Do you have enough motivation?

Sure I do! This is National team we’re talking about! It’s a great honor, the whole country is watching! I haven’t had enough of it yet! I like it very much and I have so much fun. We’ve got plenty of talented players here and it’s a bit different in terms of tactics.

How do you feel yourself playing with Kirill Petrov and Vadim Shipachev? Was it hard to get used to each other?

We are all young and we know the way we play. I think we’ll get along pretty easy. The most important thing is to play the way coaches want us to play and stick to that. And we need to communicate on the ice a lot, of course.

Have you given it a thought what was the missing ingredient during the last World Championship to become one of the team’s leader?

Yes, I have, but I’ll keep that for myself and will work on it. It’s not important, how we performed, what’s really important is that we won! I think everybody knows what was done wrong and we’ll get something out of it as well!Actually, I’ve already forgotten that I became the Champion of the World, it was long time ago. We’ve got new goals and new targets. I need to make it to the team to begin with… We were given three days off, but I didn’t want to rest. I love being here, getting positive emotions and keeping my body in shape.

Do you have any rivals to deal with at this coming Eurotour?

Yes, my teammate Petri Kontiola. (loughs) Seriously, we don’t. All opponents are equally strong. All we want is to make fewer mistakes and is to win by scoring as many goals as possible. And it’s not important who’s going to do it – myself or someone else.

You said once that there’s not so much pressure on you in the media since the NHLers are here and you are very happy about it.

Well, it’s not just on me, it’s on everybody in the League. We all stay here and will play for a while, and the NHLers might be gone by the end of lock-out (God forbid)… That seems to be the situation with this lock-out thing.

Weren’t you surprised by not getting invited to the Caps’ training camp this summer?

No, I wasn’t. I just wanted to go there because they give jerseys away for free (loughs) and socks too… Well, if we talk about new regulations for rookies, I think it’s too early for me yet. I’m planning to play in the NHL for five years or so. For the time being I’m happy to play in the KHL. I better stay here and play in Eurotour tournaments till the Olympics.

The All-Star Week-end is taking place in Chelyabinsk. Are you going to surprise us with anything?

First off I need to make it out there. I also think that we would have our Ice-arena packed if our National team will play in Chelyabinsk in any tournament. That’s because our fans are just so great and they pay some serious money for tickets which is almost impossible to get. It would be just great for our fans to see our National team performing in Chelyabinsk.

“Zenit” midfielder Igor Denisov has recently refused to go out on the pitch till he’ll get a raise. Some of the players in the League make more money then you. Can you possibly imagine yourself boycotting the game until you’ll have your financial appetites completely satisfied?

I never count someone else’s money. It takes blood, sweat and tears for everybody. I don’t think anybody gets overpaid in our team, but it’s still a subject for people to talk about. It’s better to count your own money..

You’re usually taking it really seriously when your interviews are torn apart on quotes, aren’t you?

I am. I was surprised by the fuss my picture from Khabarovsk has made with a folding bed on it. So I just must stay off line and keep my mouth shut?! No one told me not to do this. I just did it so people could laugh and smile about it. And it’s always interesting for the fans to know what’s going on in players’ lives off the ice. From now on I take pictures and share it with my wife only.