July 29, 2008, 10:49 PM
Author: Diana Ozimova, specifically for AllHockey.Ru
I have the honour to speak with one of the leading Dynamo Moscow players, and one of the best in Russian hockey in general, Daniil Markov. Despite his authoritative status, Danny was easy to contact. We had a positive conversation.
— Daniil, last fall, why did you decide to return to Russia, becoming a player for Dynamo?
— Negotiations, which I had with several teams, were also civilized, and I was satisfied with everything! But I knew that Dynamo was a good organization.
— Recently, many Russian players in the NHL returned to Russia. Why in your opinion they are motivated to make such decisions?
— Russia … America … America is still for us Russians, a foreign country, and regardless, you still see yourself as a foreigner. Here is your home, here is your birthplace, parents, family, children. Here is your native land. In Russia it is easier for us in many respects, and in domestic terms, too.
— You played almost a full season for Dynamo, what you can say about Russian hockey in general, whether or not it is changing?
— Yes, it varies, ranging from its organization even to the smallest details. In Russia hockey there is progression, and it is changing in a positive direction. I believe it will work out in the right way.
— What is your attitude to the changes in our hockey as it pertains to KHL rules on fighting?
— I can say one thing, that if the league permits fights, it should be with the same concept as in the NHL. More precisely, there are certain players, so-called fighters (“tough guys”), which account for a large amount of the fighting among themselves. For example, Georges Laraque goes after guys his size, and does not pound on regular players. This can help to lead a team at the right time. Each team has a fighter. I do not see anything wrong in that. Tough guys also have to act according to certain rules. Each team can have any number of such fighters here. Hockey is not chess, so I am fine with them.
— This summer, Dynamo was strengthened by several acquisitions. Will the team would be able to claim the first Gagarin Cup?
— Of course, Dynamo brought in very good players, and that helped strengthen the team. This will affect the club and the overall game plan. We now have a club full of talented players, which can definitely win the championship.
— The KHL recently had one of its biggest signings – Jaromir Jagr became a player for Avangard Omsk. What does this mean for you?
— Honestly for me it has little meaning. Jagr already played in Russia. The press gives too much attention to this, and this is already happened once. Open a newspaper, go on the Internet and everywhere is “JAGR, JAGR, JAGR.” Of course, when those players are joining the Russian league, it raises our level of hockey. And for young children, it is what they have to learn from. He is still a great player, and has been for many years.
— Do you think the KHL should go with smaller ice surfaces? How will that affect the development of our hockey?
— Yes, I believe that it should. In my opinion, our hockey, moving into smaller rinks, will be more spectacular and more intense. And there will be more dynamic play. Some believe that we may lose our style of hockey, where the Russian style of play has lots of passing. But with anything like this, if you can play, then you can play at any venue. All this will make the game 2 times faster, more dynamic, and more interesting for the viewer. But this is my personal opinion.
— For the first time in many years Russia managed to win the IIHF World Championships, and did so by beating Canada, the host country. What was the biggest factor in achieving this victory?
— Actually, it was my dream come true! Winning in the final of the World Championship against the Canadians in their territory. The main factor was that we had a very good team chemistry. We all know who does what. It was a good, healthy atmosphere in the team. We played as a team and nobody cared who played more or less. From all these efforts, it was the ultimate team victory. Many did not believe in us, but we showed character, and each of us contributed something to winning the Gold.