Andrey Kostitsyn: all I’m thinking about for now is Traktor

There’s no way you got your suntan during winter in Chelyabinsk!
Where else could I get it if not under ferocious Chelyabinsk sun? I’m just kidding; of course I went to a sun parlor several times.

You could have gotten the same suntan under scorching Florida sun since Panthers are interested in you. Or is it just a rumor?
No, they were and they still are. Problem is someone there must have thought I had a lockout release clause in my contract with Traktor.

Having learned that, did they contact Traktor at all?
Yes, they did; together we worked out an agreement that I finish my season in Traktor and then join Panthers.

It seemed as if you were upset to see the NHL comers get back to North America without you…
I think NHL is the next stage of my career. All I’m thinking about for now is Traktor and how I can contribute to team’s success.

Have you already gotten accustomed to Chelyabinsk?
Yes, I know the city well enough to get around by car.

Did you buy it yourself or was it club’s gift?
Neither; I bought this car back when I was in Novopolotsk.

How long did it take you to drive it from there to Chelyabinsk?
It’s about two and a half thousand kilometers. It wasn’t me, however; in the beginning of the season my parents drove it to Chelyabinsk to see me and then returned to Belarus on a

Speaking of the beginning of the season – it was much more auspicious than the winter for you as a forward.
Agreed. Sometimes I don’t use the goal-scoring chances properly; sometimes I try to outplay my opponent instead of just going for a shot. Besides that, now I’m playing in the third line with different partners; that may also be a factor.

How’s your injured arm that did not allow you to go to national team’s training camp back in December?
It’s healed now, but a month ago I could not even hold a stick.

Considering team Belarus’ failure at Arosa Challenge, do you think that maybe it’s a good thing that you didn’t make it?
No; I wanted to be in the national team in December. However, when you think about it, there’s no reason for aggravating an injury; you’d better recover from it to be in good shape for a much more important tournament like Olympics qualifying challenge.

Do you realize that fans are going to see you as one of the leaders, especially in absence of your brother Sergey and Mikhail Grabovsky?
I’m sure that each and every one of us, including me, will do everything to make sure team Belarus will be in the next year’s Olympics.

What if the coaching staff chooses you as team captain?
Of course it would be flattering, but I don’t think this would be the best choice. Team captain should possess certain skills like the ability to lead by example; I am not sure whether I have such qualities. Besides that, there are those who deserve to captain the team more than me; like Aleksey Kalyuzhny, for example.

Did you happen to play at Minsk Arena?
Not yet. I was at the arena, but as a spectator. I never knew its skating rink had two hockey surfaces.

Was the team satisfied with the fact that they had to have a training session outside the main arena?
Of course we were. We had no problems with this at all; ice surface and conditions were fine.

Are you eager to overcome your goal drought?
Of course, I’ve been eager to do it for quite some time, and I want this to happen as soon as possible irrespective of the opponent.

lot Traktor fans at Minsk Arena?
Yes, we have a bunch of devoted fans that follow us on every away game.

I didn’t mean exactly that; I was talking about at least two personal fans of Andrey Kostitsyn from Novopolotsk.
Now I see; I think there’s going to be more than two of them.