Ivan Miroshnichenko is in DC for his first on-ice development camp as a member of the Washington Capitals organization. Monday, the 19-year-old Russian winger met with the media on Monday for the first time since his draft night a year ago.
Miroshnichenko needed a translator, a Capitals’ PR representative, as he is not yet comfortable handling English interviews by himself.
“I do have a tutor that I’ve been spending some time with but once I get here and get acclimated it’ll be much easier for me,” Miroshnichenko said.
But that doesn’t mean a lot of progress with the English language hasn’t been made. The top prospect was comfortable enough to converse with fans and even stayed after one of the practice sessions to take photos.
“Miro could understand us for the most part and responded in English,” Caps fan and hockey Twitter aficionado, Xavier (@dicnowder) tweeted after going to camp on Sunday. “Spoke few words but came up and said, ‘Let’s take pictures’ with a big smile. Said bye and all that. It’s coming along good. Every word spoken with a smile. Seems like he loves it here.”
miroschnichenko, legend, looked good out on the ice today pic.twitter.com/FU5GNOSqZb
— xavier (@dicnowder) July 2, 2023
The 2022 first-round pick signed his three-year, entry-level contract with the Caps in early May after he and his KHL team, Avangard Omsk, agreed to mutually terminate the final year of his contract.
Miroshnichenko played his first full season of hockey post-recovery from Hodgkin’s Lymphoma last season. He stayed busy the entire year, tallying points at three different levels of Russian hockey and playing in a career-high 55 games. Miroshnichenko put up 14 points (10g, 4a) in 12 junior games, three points (3a) in four VHL games, and four points (3g, 1a) in 23 KHL games, all within the Avangard organization.
Miroshnichenko mentioned during his meeting with the media that his primary goal for this year is to try and make the team out of training camp.
“Obviously, there are a lot of great players, a lot of veteran players on the team so it will be difficult but that’s my goal,” Miroshnichenko said. “That’s my main focus.”
Doing so may be tough as the Caps seem to be filling out their roster with more veteran players so far this summer. But, it’s not impossible as recent history shows.
Capitals 2020 first-round pick Hendrix Lapierre played just one additional year in junior before he made his NHL debut in 2021. Lapierre even scored his first goal in his very first game.
Miroshnichenko will also have a leg up on other European prospects as he is already used to playing on NHL-sized rinks in Omsk at G-Drive Arena. Many others from across the Atlantic don’t have that luxury as they skate primarily on olympic-sized, 100-foot-wide rinks compared to the 85-foot-wide NHL surface.
His full meeting with the press is transcribed below.
"It's been my dream to play in the NHL."
— Washington Capitals (@Capitals) July 3, 2023
The questions are edited for brevity.
How has development camp been so far?
Ivan Miroshnichenko: It’s been super. Really excited.
Is it harder than you expected it would be?
Ivan Miroshnichenko: It’s been great. It’s been hard but all my teammates have been great. Everyone is smiling and having a great time. It’s been a tremendous experience.
What’s the biggest thing that you’ve learned so far?
Ivan Miroshnichenko: It’s been a little difficult not knowing the language so just really been focused on trying to observe what the coaches are telling me. That’s been the toughest part, not knowing the language.
Who has been helping you with that on the ice?
Ivan Miroshnichenko: Suzdalev when we’re together has been helping me but obviously when he’s not around it’s a little more difficult.
How are you learning English?
Ivan Miroshnichenko: I do have a tutor that I’ve been spending some time with but once I get here and get acclimated it’ll be much easier for me.
What can you tell us about your health?
Ivan Miroshnichenko: I feel great both mentally and physically. I got here, I got tested. Doctors performed a lot of tests on me just to make sure I’m healthy and I’m fully cancer free. I feel great.
Did you gain back all the weight and the muscle you lost?
Ivan Miroshnichenko: Yes, and even I gained a little more weight than that.
Why did you feel like now was the time to make the change from the KHL and come over here?
Ivan Miroshnichenko: It’s been my dream to play in the NHL so I’m just pursuing my dream. That’s kind of the next step for me so that’s why I made that decision.
Why is your shot so effective and who do you model your shot after?
Ivan Miroshnichenko: Alex Ovechkin, [Nathan] MacKinnon, [Connor] McDavid are the type of players you look up to and love to follow their footsteps.
Who has stood out to you so far in terms of the guys you’ve been playing with here?
Ivan Miroshnichenko: All my teammates. Obviously, Leonard has stood out, first-round pick and Suzdalev because I’ve been around him so much.
What kind of goals are you setting for yourself this year?
Ivan Miroshnichenko: Of course my goal is to make the NHL team. Obviously, there are a lot of great players, a lot of veteran players on the team so it will be difficult but that’s my goal. That’s my main focus.
What do you think the biggest adjustment will be coming to North America?
Ivan Miroshnichenko: I already have a lot of experience playing in small rinks so I don’t think that will be a big adjustment for me. The biggest thing for me will be just to learn English, communicate with my teammates, coaches. I think that will be the biggest challenge to start.
Have you heard from Ovi or any of the other Russian players since the draft?
Ivan Miroshnichenko: Yeah, Ovi and Kuzy both reached out after I got drafted and I kind of kept in touch with Orlov and Alexeyev recently.
Headline photo: Katie Adler/RMNB
RMNB is not associated with the Washington Capitals; Monumental Sports, the NHL, or its properties. Not even a little bit.
All original content on russianmachineneverbreaks.com is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0)– unless otherwise stated or superseded by another license. You are free to share, copy, and remix this content so long as it is attributed, done for noncommercial purposes, and done so under a license similar to this one.