Ilya Samsonov did a Russian language interview on Instagram Live with Oleg Romashko on Thursday. Romashko hosts a hockey school for young goaltenders in Moscow.
The Capitals backup goaltender, who’s back home in Russia, gave all sorts of insight into his career during the three-hour chat where he also answered questions from fans. Samsonov revealed that he first played goalie at age 7 and it’s all he ever wanted to be.
He also talked about advice he received from his Russian Capitals teammates once he made the NHL.
“My arms were even shaking and then Dmitry told me, ‘Why are you nervous? The game is the same one as you played during preseason, nothing special.’ And Ovi added, ‘Don’t worry. Just do your job and we’ll help you and score.’ When I stopped a couple of shots at the match, I even forgot that it’s my first game,” Samsonov said.
How Ilya Samsonov became a goalie and what he hates while training.
Ilya Samsonov: “I started playing hockey when I was seven. I asked my parents to take me to a local hockey club because I wanted to be a goalie. I was just a little boy who once saw hockey and fell in love with it. I didn’t even try to be a [skater]. I became a goaltender from the very first days. I guess the reason I chose this position was (how) great goalie’s equipment (was).”
What’s the most unpleasant thing about practice?
Ilya Samsonov: “Waking up before practice! Putting all the equipment on, too. It takes so much time.”
What were your feelings before you first NHL game?
Ilya Samsonov: “Surprisingly, I was very calm before the match against the Islanders. The previous day I was really nervous but the guys supported me. We had dinner together with Ovi, Orlov, and Leo Komarov. My arms were even shaking and then Dmitry told me, ‘Why are you nervous? The game is the same one as you played during preseason, nothing special.’ And Ovi added, ‘Don’t worry. Just do your job and we’ll help you and score.’ When I stopped a couple of shots at the match, I even forgot that it’s my first game.”
What are your most memorable games?
Ilya Samsonov: “My debut in the NHL, my first defeat there, and my first shutout. These [games] were very emotional.”
Who’s the noisiest guy during Capitals games?
Ilya Samsonov: “Kuzy for sure. When he’s playing, you can here nobody except for him. Kuzy always tells me to change the color of my pads. He says, ‘Your pads are awful! What an ugly goalie! Change them!’”
Who are your best friends in hockey?
Ilya Samsonov: “Shumakov, Kaprizov, and Shchemerov. We constantly keep in touch.”
Did you speak English when you came to America?
Ilya Samsonov: “Absolutely no! My vocabulary included just couple of words that I heard when I had been in Turkey. I was immediately offered to learn English with a tutor. Moreover, Shumakov left the AHL and I started to speak with other guys. Gradually my English was getting better and better.”
What five unpleasant things can you name about living in the USA?
Ilya Samsonov: “I’m not sure that I’ll be able to name five such things… The worst thing is that everyone doesn’t speak Russian. Well, I also don’t love chicken here, it tastes bad. I meet too many overweight people because of extremely big amount of junk food – it’s not good at all.”
Did your parents make you work?
Ilya Samsonov: “As for household chores, they often told me to wash the floors or something like that – as in every family. But as for hockey, they don’t need to force me to do anything. I always was full of desire to train and play.”
Have they visited you in the US?
Ilya Samsonov: “Yes, last year they spent about a month here in March. This season they came in December so we had an opportunity to celebrate New Year’s together.”
Friend of the blog, Terry Bass, translated other interesting parts of the interview.
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