Valery Nichushkin: All I’m now thinking about is Traktor

Have you received a lot on phone calls already?
, a lot. My phone is exploding with calls and text messages. But it is very nice to have this support; in fact my mother and my godson were at Ufa Arena and cheered for me as well. I think I would not have scored without their support. I also know that a lot of Chelyabinsk fans have lent their support for the national team. It is very pleasant and hard at the same time because you know you can’t let all these people down.

You could not get the puck that you threw in Subban’s net, but what about the lucky #15 jersey?
Yes, I have it. Maybe one day it will be in some hockey museum or something (smiles).

Looking at your performance at the championships, it seemed as if you were trying not to, let’s say, botch anything. Do
you agree?
Of course we tried not to do anything stupid, and I can’t say that we failed; my line did not allow a single goal while we were on the ice. But on the other hand there are situations when one has to take matters into their own hands, so…

…so you did just that in the overtime. Seemingly you noticed that Canada’s defenseman chose an incorrect position and thus you saw the opening.
I’m not sure. Canadians do lose their grip on the ice at times. By the way, personally it was not the most difficult match of the tournament; there was an intense moment when the game was tied at five, but we regained composure and managed to capture the win.

There have been a lot of talks in regards of this team’s orientation. Is it a coach-oriented team or more a constellation of players, so to speak?
I’d say it is more coach-oriented with a strong team spirit.

In essence: did we win bronze or lose the chance at capturing the gold?
(after a hesitant pause) The latter. During your lifetime as a hockey player you can get two or three chances at U-20 World Cup gold. Hockey is an even game now, there’s no weak teams left in the world; look at team Switzerland! These guys have not lost a single match in regulation time. Anyways, we lost the chance at gold, that’s for sure.

Can you compare the U-20 World Cup level with KHL, MHL or Major Hockey League?
It’s closer to KHL, I guess, even though I haven’t played in a whole lot of KHL matches.

What’s on your mind now?
For now, Traktor and Traktor only. We have a 6 a.m. flight to Moscow where we will join Traktor on the away series.

If Valery Belousov chooses to include you on the line-up against CSKA, will you be able play twice in two days?
If he does, I will only be glad to help Traktor and try to secure my place on the line-up. For now it all depends on coachs decision.