Photo Credit: NHL.com

Nikolay Goldobin opens up about playing for Canucks in Russian interview

While Brock Boeser is the big name RFA forward the Canucks still need to sign before the 2019-20 NHL season, Russian forward Nikolay Goldobin is still without a contract.

The 23-year-old recorded seven goals and 27 points in 63 games last season and had his three-year entry-level deal expire at the end of the year. He was one of eight players who were issued a qualifying offer by the Canucks this summer.

Here are some highlights from Goldobin’s revealing Russian-language interview with Sport Express with the assistance of Google Translate.

On his contract situation

“I myself try not to think about it. The issue is decided by my new agent, Don Min . I look forward to hearing from him.”

On his future

“While I tell my friends not to ask where I will play, I myself am worried inside about this. I am waiting for the agent to call and say that the contract has been signed. Now there are many hockey players without contracts, and those who will earn me more. The same Mitch Marner now generally can go to Switzerland to play.”

Seeking long term?

“No, I want to sign up for a year and next summer have the right to go to arbitration. I hope that I will play the upcoming season in such a way that it becomes the best in my career.”

Worried about Canucks free agent signings?

“All my friends constantly ask me about this.”

He wants the issue to be resolved as soon as possible in order to go to Vancouver, find an apartment and prepare for the season.

“I am focused on the performance in the composition of the Canucks. I got a qualification offer, but it didn’t work. I look forward to a better offer.”

Potential return to the KHL?

Goldobin’s KHL rights are currently owned by CSKA.

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“So far I have not even thought about it.”

On being healthy scratched towards the end of 2018-19

“They see potential in me and wait for goals scored. If I scored 30 goals per season, the club would turn a blind eye to everything else, to defensive actions or some other disadvantages.”

Does coach Travis Green want him to be more of a power forward type?

“Yes, but I can’t immediately rebuild because all my life I have been a playmaker. Maybe he rightly wants me to become more aggressive on the ice.”

On relationship with Travis Green

“We often communicate with him. We hang out in the office every week and discuss various hockey topics.”

On relationship with GM Jim Benning

“He doesn’t talk much.” “Hello,” “how are you,” and all.”

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On offseason training

“Yes, I have a special program on my phone, I watch videos and also do everything in the hall. I also run cross-country races and climb uphill. The physical training coach calls me every week, asking how are you, what’s new under the contract. He is very worried about me. A personal trainer is always needed, doing one is not at all. In Moscow, Nikita Razdolsky works with me . This is my friend who is now training children and is finding time for me. We go with him to the gym and to the ice. Although sometimes I ride with Nikita Gusev and Dmitry Orlov in a palace in New Riga.”

On the media in Vancouver

“Yes, their journalists like to add fuel to the fire. This happened to me, but I kept silent or simply said “no comment”. Media interest in Vancouver is very large. When I played the first match for the Canucks , then after him 15 people approached me with cameras and voice recorders. There is so much light in my eyes that I was even taken aback. But I like to play in the Canadian club more than in the American. San Jose is the California coast, and baseball and basketball are more popular there. The same Golden State is playing nearby. In Vancouver, everyone will recognize you, some are just too shy to approach me. Although even in restaurants, it happens, they ask to be photographed together. Sometimes even at their own expense they offer to buy me alcohol.”

On the attention in Vancouver

“I’m still not one of the Sedin brothers. Haha I put on a cap and black glasses so that they don’t recognize me.”

On his performance in 2018-19

“I am a maximalist in life, so I could have performed better. I missed a lot on empty net, did not score, and at the end of the season I missed 18 games. They told me that I was doing something bad and therefore they sent me to watch matches from the press box.”

“I guess the deal is about the expired contract. This is a business.”

Canucks in playoffs in 2019-20?

“In the offseason, they invited newcomers, signed a lot of forwards, so I don’t even know if I will have a place in the lineup or not. But among those who came there are enough people with experience in the playoffs. This should help the team. Vancouver is able to get into the top eight in the West.”

The Mike Matheson/ Elias Pettersson incident

“It seems to me that that moment has left the universal view, as it happened behind the gates of others. Then they wanted to take revenge on Matheson, they played tough with him. It didn’t come to a fight. I think this season someone will definitely say hello to him again when we meet with Florida .”

Is he a third or fourth line player in the NHL?

“I can. But in the lower lines- this is not my game, so it will be hard. I already went to Vancouver in the fourth line with the guys, let’s say, not very technical. They have other strengths. It was hard for me, because I was always used to waiting for a pass. Partners throw the puck into someone else’s zone, you have to run after it, fight, take it away. I usually enter the blue line myself or give the transmission. With Pettersson we did just that. Yes, it’s risky, but it turns out the most interesting and spectacular hockey.”

Is he allowed to take risks?

“A little bit. Less than Pettersson.”

Not enough trust?

“I wanted more, then it would be easier for me to open up completely. I am clamped and afraid to make a mistake, knowing what they can plant for an unsuccessful action, and lose the rhythm on ice.”

Ideal linemate other than Pettersson?

“Bo Horvat. Very big and strong. I think you can pick up a lot of pucks from him if he loses or gives. I would be comfortable with him.”

Goldobin explained that he can play both the right and left side.

Does he read the Canadian media?

“When in a good mood – yes. But sometimes they write that I’m not ready for the NHL yet . Well, these people are not serious experts like you. They don’t understand much in hockey. But still unpleasant.”

On the atmosphere in Vancouver

“We are a friendly team. We get together very often. Cool celebrated that year Halloween. We give each other presents all the time. From the last: they gave me a book on how to learn English. And I gave Pettersson a pacifier and baby powder, as he is the youngest on the team.”

On being traded by the Sharks

“The agent and I were waiting for this. It was evident that the coach did not believe in me and my game. I slept at home at 6 pm. The GM called, apologized for having to exchange me and wished me luck in the season.”

On potential trade from the Canucks

“I don’t know anything yet. Perhaps they have plans to sign, and then trade me. Time will tell.”

On Nikita Tryamkin leaving Vancouver

“It’s a shame that it happened. We played together, even in a match with Edmonton at the end of the year before last, both scored, he still said, “who is the best here?” I will not name the reason why he had to leave – I hope he will be back. It’s hard without the Russians in the team when you want to chat with someone. Yes, every day I talk with my family, friends, but this is not how I live, the opportunity to sit with someone and laugh.”

Best friend on the Canucks?

“Elias Pettersson. And so the team has many wives, children – they spend time with their families, go to restaurants. There is no such thing that we all get together often – only on trips.”

On his childhood dream

“Stanley Cup. But, of course, I dream of winning all this (Olympics, Stanley Cup) – and the Gagarin Cup is also in the future. Maybe in the near future, who knows.”

Will there be a lockout year?

“I think yes.”

Would he play for CKSA in KHL?

“Apparently, yes. Of course, if there was a lockout, I would come to Russia to play with pleasure. Friends at least would come to see me live, otherwise they have to turn on matches at four in the morning.”

On his goals for 2019-20

“Have the best season of your career. We need to relax, as there are times when I stand in front of the goal, but still get nervous, I think what to do. Problems come from the head – and when you grow up, you become more cold-blooded.”

Did he communicate with a psychologist?

“We have a team, we are all talking to her, even on the Whats App. There are no problems in terms of the difference in mentality, she is French, she works with the team on the cycle track, and she has thirty years of experience. They said in the club: “there are problems – contact her. Also, the team pays for it.”

On Artemi Panarin’s interview criticizing Russian president Vladimir Putin

“I won’t say anything about politics, but I think that he had the right to such an interview. Everyone has their own opinion. Someone is afraid, someone says like me, someone expresses him completely. Of course, I worry about what moments, but I do not hide the fact that I love Russia. Although I want to play overseas, but I spend time here in the summer and get happy. The only negative is traffic jams, they are annoying. All summer was in Moscow, only to Turkey flew to have a rest.”

The Canucks open training camp on Sept. 13 .

  • Kanuckhotep

    With cap debacles now seemingly becoming standard for most of the league I can’t see there not being a lockout at some point. And no one is signing these big RFAs, the majority of them franchise/ building block players. Mysterious indeed. with Bettman at the helm you know what to expect.

  • J-Canuck

    Most interesting part of the interview is that he admits he plays scared to make a mistake. That is the part where I see him moving on. When Petterson makes a mistake, he hustles back and gets proper position. It seems like Goldy makes a mistake, thinks about it then circles back. It just won’t cut it in the NHL.

    • Killer Marmot

      I suspect Goldobin is bewildered by the North American game. He grew up in an environment where his offensive talents were celebrated and defense was not a priority. He always had the puck, so why worry? Now he has to be a two-player, and it’s unfamiliar territory.

  • TheRealPB

    Even if it’s via google translate this may be my favorite Canucks interview in years:
    “Sometimes even at their own expense they offer to buy me alcohol.”
    “And I gave Pettersson a pacifier and baby powder, as he is the youngest on the team.”
    “But sometimes they write that I’m not ready for the NHL yet . Well, these people are not serious experts like you. They don’t understand much in hockey. But still unpleasant.”

    Sign him. Sign him now. For this interview he deserves an extra $500k

  • Dan-gles

    Great interview and yes very funny. But I don’t like the part in regards to healthy scratches. Something about if he scores thirty goals that his deficiencies won’t be a concern. That’s a horrible comment for a developing player and not someone I would want on my team!

    • Killer Marmot

      Goldobin can’t get 30 goals if he doesn’t get the ice time, and he won’t get the ice time if he’s not hustling every second he’s on the ice. Goldobin should look upon excellent defense as a way to enhance his offensive output. That’s the message Green has to get through to him.

  • wjohn1925

    Hard not to cheer for the guy. He’s had a tough transition, but I like his attitude. My favourite quote: “Yes, it’s risky, but it turns out the most interesting and spectacular hockey.” Kind of sums up why he’s fun and exciting to watch, but also why he sits on the bench so much. Nit sure where he fits into the Canucks lineup; I suspect he will be risky and exciting and interesting in the KHL soon enough. Still, kind of like the guy’s attitude.

    • Ragnarok Ouroboros

      I actually agree. I don’t know how Baertschi will do with his susceptibleness to concussions, but Goldobin could be part of a scoring third line. and why not 4th line. I would prefer him over Motte.

      • Hiatus

        That’s exactly Goldy’s problem, if he played “even a little bit” like Motte, there would be no issue with him in Greens eye’s; the fact he doesn’t, is why Goldy is on the bubble train.

  • Beer Can Boyd

    He had terrible puck luck last year, hit countless goalposts. He is fun to watch, and when that line was rolling last year, it showcased EP at his best. The kid has a ton of skill, and if the Canucks were to waive him over Leivo, Schaller, Motte, etc, he’s the one guy who could really come back to haunt them.

    • J-Canuck

      I agree he has the most upside, but you can’t win with a purely offensive player that will get you 20 goals. He doesn’t shoot enough to get 30 and hustle + offensive talent will create more goals

  • Holmes

    Ha! Classic interview even with the translational hiccups. Goldy seems like a decent kid. This line…Sometimes even at their own expense they offer to buy me alcohol…pretty funny.

  • Rob P

    What do you guys think off this
    Goldobin Pettersson Boeser
    Baertschi Horvat Pearson
    Ferland Miller Virtanen
    Leivo Sutter Eriksson
    Motte 13th
    Paper wave beagle, nobody will pick him up.
    Wave Schaller down to Utica.
    Then we can carry 8dmen, don’t have to worry about losing beiga or fattenburg on waiver so.
    I think that’s balanced attack and very good depth.

    • DogBreath

      Two things. Goldobin has yet to prove he’s a regular, so being a top line winger is far-fetched. Also, I have yet to hear the Canucks talk of Miller as a possible 3LC. If plan A and B fall apart, it could happen. The only difference is Beagle is 4LC, Sutter is 4LW and Erickson is in Utica.

      My hunch is that Goldobin becomes part of a sweetener (with other assets) to move Erickson (or Sutter).

  • oban

    “Well, these people are not serious experts like you. They don’t understand much in hockey.” This lets you know what the Canucks are thinking when they are speaking to some members of the media here.

  • Rodeobill

    He has such a great attitude. I wish more had rubbed off on tryamkin. His backcheck game may need some help, but his press game is perfect. Smart. He seems both open, candid, and yet does not let himself get cornered into saying anything that could be taken out of context and blown up by the media. When given a chance to air grievances, the only one he actually does is against the media! Maybe him an Loui should be bunkmates on the road. He could pick up some ideas about the little things, and Loui could pick up some better ideas about his press game.

    The creativity that Goldy brings is greatly valuable, and I thought I saw improvement last year on his 200 ft game, but I apparently missed a few things that Green didn’t. Our bottom 6 is going to have much better options and if they want to go with more scoring and offense in that this year, both Baer and Goldy, and even JV should see improvements, and be available to move up the roster in case of injuries.

    Also, I really hope no lock out, that would piss me off.