Dmitry Chesnokov

Chatting with Blackhawks' Patrick Kane about Toews, video game curses, hockey idols and best Russian in NHL

Dmitry Chesnokov
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The Chicago Blackhawks play an intriguing game on Saturday night against the Atlanta Thrashers, in which four members of Chicago's Stanley Cup championship team that are now playing for Atlanta will face their former teammates for the first time.

Of course, the man who scored the game-winning goal for that Stanley Cup was Patrick Kane(notes). He recently had an interview with Leo Varshavsky, a Sovetsky Sport reporter based in Chicago, that touched on several interesting issues.

Varshavsky passed along audio from that interview, in which Kane discusses is size, the Winter Olympics, the Stanley Cup Finals, Jonathan Toews(notes), video game curses, Alex Semin vs. Alex Ovechkin(notes) and what it would take for him to win a Hart Trophy.

Here's their interview:

Q. Does your size give you an advantage? Or would you like to be bigger?

KANE: "No, if I was bigger I might not have had the same skill set as I do, the speed. For me personally, I try to use my size to my advantage where I can either slip by guys or try to create more space for myself. But anytime you're on the ice and you're playing against a lot bigger guys you got to watch out for sure."

Was the loss in the Olympic final tough for you?

"I wasn't on the ice when Crosby scored. I was on the bench. And watching it from the bench was kind of a tough feeling because we came back from a two-nothing deficit, tied it up. I think we had all the momentum going into overtime. It would have been a nice one to pull out, obviously, especially in Canada. But it's in the past now. It was a special Olympics (Ed. Note: Yup.), it was fun to be a part of it. I'd love to do it again in 2014."

It may not be the case if the NHL won't allow players to participate.

"I think we will. I think that's what the players will demand. I think it's something a lot of us really enjoyed. You hear a lot of Russian players come out and say they will play anyway. I think it's the case for most players. I would love to play [in the Olympics] again. It was an unbelievable experience. It's something that doesn't happen every year, and it's just a two-three week period that you put together. It was very special for me to be a part of. A little tough, obviously, losing. But other than that, it was unbelievable to see all these athletes, all the different players you used to watch growing up."

In Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Final you scored a goal that was similar to Crosby's Olympic goal. You were probably the only one who saw it go in right away.

"Yeah. It was a weird goal. I was just trying to beat a defenseman, tried to throw it on the net. Luckily enough it slipped in. That was the goal that won the Stanley Cup. It's something that will live on with you forever. It was a pretty special day for me personally. And for our whole team to go through what we did for that whole year and end up winning."

A couple of years ago Alexander Semin(notes) praised your game a lot.

"[Laughing] Yeah, I remember that. I have a lot of respect for both players. I think Semin is an unbelievable talent. And Crosby is one of the best players in the League. So, I don't necessarily agree with the statement, but it's pretty cool to hear nonetheless."

Can you return the favor and say that Semin is better than Ovechkin?

"Ha! [Laughing] You know what, I think they are both unbelievable, they are both fun to watch. Especially them two guys they shoot the puck so hard. They seem to get everything off. So, for me personally it's fun to watch both of them."

What do you need to do to win the Hart Trophy?

"Play a lot better than I do, obviously. You just try to play good for your team and those things will come, as you get better as a player."

You are very close friends with Sergei Kostitsyn(notes) [of the Nashville Predators]. What has been happening to him? What does he need to do to become a star in the NHL?

"I really don't know. I thought he was going to be an unbelievable player. I still think he will be. He is one of the most talented players I have ever played with, even on the NHL level. He has unbelievable shot, unbelievable hands. Just a great overall players. He is one of my best friends, we hang out all the time and get along really well. Hopefully he can do some good things. I'd love to see him play well at this level."

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Some think that being featured on the cover of video games is a curse. You were on the cover of "NHL10."

"Luckily for me it's more of a football curse when they get on and then end up getting hurt or something. For me it was kind of a blessing. I played got to play in Olympics, I had a good year overall, and won the Stanley Cup, obviously. It was pretty special."

Who is better at the game: you or Jonathan Toews who is on the cover now?

"Oh, I am definitely better at the game. That's for sure. We played each other. I have been better. Just don't say this to him."

Are you and Toews the best friends on the team? Who do you spend the most time with?

"Well, this year it's a little bit different because we have a lot of new players. I probably spend the most time with Toews: we have the same schedule and we're roomies on the road, we sit next to each other, we do a lot of promotions together. There're a couple of other guys I have been hanging out with like [Jack] Skille, I sit next to Duncs [Duncan Keith(notes)] on the plane."

You're from Buffalo. So you must remember 1999.

"Yeah, I was at a couple of games for that series. I remember I was in a hockey tournament at the time. I woke up to all my teammates outside my door chanting 'Dallas Stars! Dallas Stars!' That's how I found out that the Sabres lost. It was tough for me at the time. Now I don't really care, because I am with the Blackhawks. But at the time I was a big Sabres fan, so it would have been nice to see them win."

Dominik Hasek(notes) was a star for the Buffalo Sabres at the time. Was he one of your favorite players? Did you, maybe, want to become a goalie?

"Hasek is awesome. He is unbelievable. No, I never wanted to become a goalie, but Hasek was definitely one of my favorite players on the team for sure. He is one of the reasons I'd watch the game."

And who was your idol growing up?

"I like Joe Sakic(notes). Coming out of Buffalo, I obviously like Alexander Mogliny, Pat LaFontaine. Hasek is up there. Miroslav Satan(notes). Whoever seemed to be a good player at the time I'd watch. Jagr too. I tried to learn a lot from those guys."

And who is your favorite Russian player of those who are playing in the NHL right now?

"Probably Datsyuk. He is unbelievable. So dominant."

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