Matvei Michkov’s Russian agent, Sergei Fedotov, created headlines last week when he said that his client did not want to be drafted by the Washington Capitals.
Fedotov spoke with Sport-Express to clarify what he meant originally.
His comments were not supposed to be taken as antagonistic towards the Caps.
“Sometimes the situation requires additional clarification, and I will try to explain what was meant,” Fedotov said and as translated via Google Translate. “Any person can have their own priorities. With all due respect to Washington, for Matvei, getting [drafted by] this club was not an old dream as some journalists wrote. He preferred other options. But if he was chosen by the Capitals, he would not create drama.”
Or as said in the story: Michkov did not burn with a great desire to be in Washington.
Mikhail Zislis, the interviewer for both stories who referred to Fedotov as an “old friend”, included some interesting context as to why Michkov might have felt less welcome or excited about being drafted by Washington. He first brings up Caps’ Russian scout Andrei Nikolishin and the former Capitals’ comments about Michkov that were publicized days before the draft.
“In terms of character, in relation to teammates, coaching staff, management, fans – the person has now fallen very low in the eyes of all scouts, all managers,” Nikolishin said of Michkov. “The information is collected about the player – about how he talks with partners, how he communicates with coaches, how he behaves off the ice.
“You can reveal many nuances,” Nikolishin continued. “I can show the correspondence when I wanted to meet him and, being a scout, ask a few questions, do an interview, how he answers. I have never seen such disrespect for other people in my life.”
Zislis then brings up the pressure Michkov could have felt both internally and in the media having to follow in the footsteps of Alex Ovechkin.
“From the outside, Michkov’s original logic is not difficult to read,” Zislis writes. “If he had been in Washington, his entire subsequent career would have been perceived through the prism of ‘worthy or unworthy’ to be considered Ovechkin’s successor.”
He finishes by mentioning Michkov’s past with current Caps prospect Ivan Miroshnichenko. In 2020, Michkov and Miroshnichenko got in a fight during a Russian junior team training session for the Youth Olympics. “Suppose that in a few years they again have to clash foreheads, figuring out who should play the main role (with the Capitals after Ovechkin).”
But that situation will never occur. Michkov ended up being drafted by the Philadelphia Flyers seventh overall, one pick before the Caps. He promptly let the Flyers know that he would not be attending their Development Camp due to prior hockey commitments in Russia.
While the Capitals did try to trade up in the draft to perhaps take the Russian star, they ended up standing pat and selecting US Development Team Program product Ryan Leonard with their pick. Leonard impressed in Development Camp and both parties are excited about the future.
RMNB is not associated with the Washington Capitals; Monumental Sports, the NHL, or its properties. Not even a little bit.
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