Caps goalie prospect Ilya Samsonov once again represented Russia on an international stage, this time at the 2017 Sweden Hockey Games, which is part of the 2016-2017 Euro Hockey Tour. Though he sat out the first two games against Finland and Sweden, Samsonov was in net for the 4-2 win over the Czech Republic on Sunday, when Russia clinched the tournament.
The young netminder used the additional time with the National Team to build experience, while trying to keep his thoughts of the NHL at bay.
In an interview posted to his Vkontakte page, Samsonov said he views his time with the National Team as a way to “gain experience in [international play], watch, and learn.”
“Working with the National Team is quite different, specifically in terms of the game and the training process for goalies,” noted the 19-year-old netminder. “The intensity of the training [is different], every coach has their own exercises, which is very interesting.”
“The responsibility is different too,” Samsonov continued. “You’re going out there in a Russian National Team sweater, that’s an additional responsibility. But I’m already used to that, so there’s no problem.”
Samsonov also discussed the fight for playing time with the more-experienced and slightly older Ilya Sorokin and Igor Shestyorkin, both of whom also made the national squad.
“It [was] difficult, but very interesting. There’s a great atmosphere in the locker room. The guys give each other pointers, and we joke around. It’s cool.”
As for when he might make the jump from the KHL to the North American leagues, Samsonov said he remained focused on the task at hand.
“Everyone dreams about playing in the NHL, but for right now I’ve got a lot of work to do to find a roster spot [on the National Team], and I still have to finish my contract” with Magnitogorsk. Samsonov’s contract is up at the end of the 2017-2018 season.
“The guys and I sometimes play soccer or hockey video games. I play as Washington, but just because there’s no Magnitogorsk [in the game].”
Though he is generally presented as quite serious, Samsonov also posted a “blitz interview” on Vkontakte, during which he showed off his juggling skills, revealed that he always steps onto the ice with his left foot first, and announced that, were he a pirate, he would bury his treasure somewhere in Magnitogorsk, “so no one would ever find it.”
Sure. Why not.
Photos: Ilya Samsonov
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