Kochetkov Speaks: First NHL Interview

BOSTON, MA. – Goaltender Pyotr Kochetkov was recalled on an emergency basis by the Carolina Hurricanes on Sunday, April 17.

After being a high draft selection (Round 2, Pick # 36) and posting strong numbers in both the Continental Hockey League (KHL) and American Hockey League (AHL) already this season, the 22-year-old came to the club with much buzz behind him.

Then, he won his first start with Carolina, taking the hype to a new level.

The very next day he came in relief and picked up a victory after Antti Raanta went down hurt.

Then he won a third game in four days.

Now, he’s winning playoff games for the team and mixing it up with some of the NHL’s biggest stars along the way.

There’s been a desire to get to know more about the seemingly wild and fearless netminder and finally, with the assistance of fellow Russian Andrei Svechnikov serving as his translator, Kochetkov was able to complete his first interview as part of the team Saturday in Boston, answering questions for Raleigh-based media members.

Here are some of the highlights of the 11-minute conversation. For the full audio, listen here.

What’s the overall experience been like? – Luke DeCock, Raleigh News & Observer

Kochetkov, translated via Svechnikov: It’s a new step to come here to North America. It’s a new challenge for me. To be in the NHL is my biggest dream and just to be around the NHL guys is a dream come true.

What was running through his mind when he was yelling at the Iowa Wild bench in his first North American pro game? – Luke DeCock, Raleigh News & Observer

Svechnikov: He took a shot in the face and he was mad about that. As he was skating by the bench they called him an [expletive] and he got mad from that. That’s it.

Does he know the league well enough to know the reputation of a guy like Brad Marchand in a situation like the other night? – Cory Lavalette, North State Journal

Svechnikov: He understands. He’s been watching highlights of the NHL for many years. In that moment he did not know it was Marchand, he did not see the number. He knows who is who in the NHL for sure.

Did Rod say anything to him about the incident? – Chip Alexander, News & Observer

Svechnikov: He said just try to be careful because of the goaltending situation right now.

What’s it been like for him to have you here, translating for him? Luke DeCock, Raleigh News & Observer

Kochetkov: My friend.

Svechnikov: He said without me, he would still be in the airport right now.

What’s it been like playing in the Stanley Cup Playoffs? Everything he hoped it would be? – Sara Civian, The Athletic

Svechnikov: He’s expected everything that happened. He just wants to be here in the NHL and he just wants to play hard.

How has the process of communication been with the defenseman, in terms of when to play, move or freeze the puck? – Walt Ruff, CarolinaHurricanes.com

Svechnikov: It’s very hard, but he tries to communicate to them and figure everything out.

What words can he use for the defensemen? – Luke DeCock, Raleigh News & Observer

Kochetkov: Go, home, time, please, look.

What’s it been like for you, Andrei? You were the young kid on this team, now you’re like the older brother. – Luke DeCock, Raleigh News & Observer

Svechnikov: It’s easy. Especially with Pyotr, he’s a great guy. For me to translate right now, it’s funny. I’m having fun with it right now. It reminds me of when I came to North America. I did not speak English and it was hard but I do my best for him.

Where did Koochie come from? – Chip Alexander, Raleigh News & Observer

Svechnikov: I actually do not know, but I think [Vincent Trocheck] started that one.

What’s it been like working with Goaltending Coach Paul Schonfelder? – Walt Ruff, CarolinaHurricanes.com

Svechnikov: He says it’s been very awesome to work with him. He gives him lots of advice. He said they’ve been texting for a few years now, even when he was playing back home. He likes him a lot and every day they’re going to get to know more and more of each other.

Paul and a few others have already compared him to the likes of Sergei Bobrovsky and Andrei Vasilevskiy, who does he like to model his game after? – Cory Lavalette, North State Journal

Kochetkov: Alex Ovechkin.

Svechnikov: He says he’s very honored to be named along those guys, but he wants to be himself. He takes a look at videos of those guys and he’s always trying to take something away from them.

Is that a playoff beard or a regular beard? – Chip Alexander, Raleigh News & Observer

Svechnikov: He said he does not have a girlfriend so he can be messy right now.

What have been the biggest challenges of coming to play in North America? – Cory Lavalette, North State Journal

Kochetkov: Speaking English and traffic.

Favorite part of America so far? – Luke DeCock, Raleigh News & Observer

Svechnikov: The atmosphere around hockey.


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