Stanislav Galiev celebrates his first career Memorial Cup goal (Photo: Aaron Bell/CHL Images)
By all accounts Stanislav Galiev has had a good year. On June 26, 2010, the 18-year-old Russian sniper was selected by his favorite NHL team, the Washington Capitals, in the third round of the 2010 Draft. Shortly thereafter, he attended Caps Development Camp — where he impressed many by being one of the fastest and most exciting players on the KCI ice.
After taking a short break, Galiev returned to his junior team, the Saint John Sea Dogs, in the fall. The talented Sea Dogs were coming off a 2009-10 season in which they started the campaign with a 22-game winning streak (from October 17 until December 12) and made it to the QMJHL Finals. To the surprise of no one, the squad continued its dominance in 2010-11, relying on Galiev’s play-making (37 goals, 28 assists) and the development of four potential first round picks in the upcoming 2011 NHL Entry Draft: Jonathan Huberdeau (top five), Nathan Beaulieu (top 15), Zack Phillips and Tomas Jurco.
Saint John racked up an insane 58-7-3 record in the regular season and lost just three of 19 games on the way to capturing their first QMJHL Championship in franchise history. Notably, Galiev finished in the top five of postseason scoring, notching 27 points (10 G, 17 A). The team’s winning ways have continued in the Memorial Cup, as the Sea Dogs won their first two games of the tournament and earned a bye to the finals which are set to begin Sunday.
Several Russia media members have spoke with the Caps prospect over the past week. RMNB’s Igor Kleyner and Fedor Fedin offer the translations.
First, Igor translates Slava Malamud’s article for Sport-Express, which was published before the Memorial Cup:
Slava Malamud — Is your overall impression of this season positive? Have you been able to accomplish all your goals?
Stanislav Galiev — I started scoring more. I shoot the puck more often. As a result, I get more ice time. So, it appears the goal has been achieved. I tried to work hard in every game. I was scoring at about a point per game rate. So, yes it’s been a positive season.
Slava Malamud — Alexander Radulov managed to become an idol during his time in Quebec. Have you managed to achieve the same status?
Stanislav Galiev – They treat me great at Saint John. I don’t know if I personally became an idol, but I feel how much they love their team. I was really surprised by the relationship the town has with a junior club. But it’s a small town, not much is here besides hockey. All the attention is on us. Wherever you go, they recognize you. Even the little kids come up and ask to have a picture with you. It’s great.
Slava Malamud — Is participation in the Memorial Cup really such a great honor?
Stanislav Galiev — It really does mean a lot. Especially since last year we lost in the [QMJHL’s] finals and this year we set the club’s record in points and wins. To me personally it feels great that we made it to the Cup. Only a few accomplish this.
Slava Malamud — Including three Russians this season…
Stanislav Galiev — Yes, beyond myself, Maxim Kitsyn and Roma Berdnikov are also here.
Slava Malamud — Are you thinking about next season? What are your plans?
Stanislav Galiev — After this season is over, I will have a couple of weeks of rest and then it’s back to training. Dima Orlov and I are planning on coming to Washington on June 28 to start preparing for the summer training camp.
Slava Malamud — Another one of our “Washingtonians” — Evgeny Kuznetsov — will spend the next season in the KHL. Does that improve your chances of making the main team?
Stanislav Galiev — Everything depends on me. I feel very energetic.
Slava Malamud — But what if you don’t make it?
Stanislav Galiev — I cannot play in the AHL yet because of my age, so I would have to return to Saint John for another year. That would mean I have a lot to work on. Which is what I intend to do.
Slava Malamud — How did you benefit from the Canadian junior league? How is the game different there?
Stanislav Galiev — It’s difficult to compare, but I really like it here. The main objective for the players is to show themselves to the scouts and hockey is very colorful here. It’s fast and physical at the same time. Moreover, it’s all on smaller rinks, which also helps prepare yourself to the NHL. I played in the USA before, in the USHL, and I really liked the North American style. Then Saint John drafted me and I agreed. It’s easier to make an impression on scouts that way.
Slava Malamud — Did you follow Washington?
Stanislav Galiev — Yes, I was paying a lot of attention. I don’t understand why nothing worked for us against Tampa. Something was missing, but what, I don’t know. These playoffs have been surprising. I did not expect Philadelphia to lose. And Vancouver had to fight hard against Chicago.
Slava Malamud — Are you often in contact with the club?
Stanislav Galiev — Yes, the scouts come to the games all the time. We talk on the phone during the season. It feels like they are paying attention to me. I am happy about that. It seems to me that Washington is a good fit for me. The team plays a fast, attacking hockey, and that is my style.
Slava Malamud — As a kid, did you support any team in the NHL?
Stanislav Galiev — I liked Washington the most.
Slava Malamud — Of course, your childhood wasn’t that long ago.
Stanislav Galiev — Yes, during the era of Ovechkin and Semin.
Slava Malamud — When Pittsburgh drafted Malkin, he said he needed another year or two in Russia to gain muscle for the NHL. Ever since then, many Russians say the same. Have you gotten enough muscles, or not yet?
Stanislav Galiev — I think I have. I gained nine pounds during this season and I will keep going.
Slava Malamud — Did you follow the national teams this year?
Stanislav Galiev — I watched the whole WJC [World Junior Championship] and was very happy for our guys. I didn’t get to watch the adult tournament though.
Slava Malamud — Why do you think you did not make the junior team?
Stanislav Galiev — Probably because the team had a core of players that played together on various tournaments. But I was very happy for my future Washington teammates, who were among the best players of the tournament: Kuznetsov and Orlov. Both are great players with a bright future.
Slava Malamud — Looks like you can’t wait to make the most Russian team of the NHL.
Stanislav Galiev — Of course that would be great. It’s nice that they are so good to our guys in Washington.
Now, on to Fedor’s translation of Andrey Osadchenko’s article for Allhockey.ru, which was published during the first week of the Memorial Cup tournament.
Andrey Osadchenko — You have played in the USHL finals before. Can you draw some parallels between the two tournaments?
Stanislav Galiev — I think it’s a different level of hockey [in the Memorial Cup]. And I, myself, have changed. I was 16 then. Now I’m 19. I understand the game better. Few have won this Cup, many have not been able to qualify. Only the four best teams play here and it’s the tournament of the year for each of them.
Andrey Osadchenko — It’s interesting that in both Indiana and Saint John you were the only Russian on the roster and the team colors are similar. How would you compare these two clubs?
Stanislav Galiev — I think it’s more professional in the Quebec league. Everything’s done for the players here. You can say it’s a junior mini-NHL. I like everything here: the style of the game, the coaches who give a lot of advice and the great fans who come to every single game. You feel like a hockey player here.
I liked Indiana, of course, but there are a lot of differences. For example, there’s a huge distance between the towns. We had to spend a lot of time traveling and it just “killed” me. And the hockey is different too. It’s more mature here.
Andrey Osadchenko — I’ve heard you lived with your mother last year. Did that change this year?
Stanislav Galiev — Yes, last year I lived with my mom. This season she moved in December. Our relatives had some problems, so she left to take care of my granny and help her out. So I’ve been living with a guest family now.
Andrey Osadchenko — Did she come for the Memorial Cup?
Stanislav Galiev — No, she couldn’t. She watched the first game on TV. By the way, she didn’t miss a single game of mine this season. She watched them all on the web.
Andrey Osadchenko — In Indiana you lived with the family of the team owner. Who sheltered you in Saint John?
Stanislav Galiev — A great, middle-class family. They have two kids. Great food. So it suits me well.
Andrey Osadchenko — Who do they cheer for?
Stanislav Galiev — The Canucks and they hate the Maple Leafs.
Andrey Osadchenko — Do they struggle with following both you in the Memorial Cup and Canucks in the Stanley Cup?
Stanislav Galiev — They follow the results more. But they attend all of our games. They didn’t miss a single home game this season. Sometimes they even went on the road with us. By the way, they also came to the Memorial Cup.
Andrey Osadchenko — Have any of the players lived there before?
Stanislav Galiev — Many. For example, Chris DiDomenico and last year’s captain, Alex Grant.
Andrey Osadchenko — What can you say about Saint John? There are only 72,000 people, but it looks like many more.
Stanislav Galiev — [Smiles] It’s a quiet town. There are many beautiful places there. For example, downtown. You always have something to do in your free time. We usually go there with the team — to restaurants, shops, the movies.
Andrey Osadchenko – What do you think about Mississauga? The city’s population is 10 times bigger than population of Saint John.
Stanislav Galiev — I think Mississauga is a more interesting town. And the big city, Toronto, is just a stone’s throw away. There’s nothing like this in Saint John.
Andrey Osadchenko — How do you spend your free time during this tournament?
Stanislav Galiev — We went to the shops a couple of times, but mostly we do nothing — we rest. Today, the team’s going to the movies.
Andrey Osadchenko — Your team looks quiet and confident. You look like you know you’ll win the Cup.
Stanislav Galiev — [Laughing] Of course, we have a goal to win it all. Everybody knows it, but nobody’s nervous. Everybody knows what they can do to help and that we have a chance if we just play our game. Everybody just has fun of participating in this tournament. It’s once-in-a-lifetime experience.
Andrey Osadchenko — It’s all different for the Mississauga St. Michael’s Majors. The team is “locked” in the hotel, the players’ phones and laptops have been taken away and their coach is yelling all the time.
Stanislav Galiev — No, we haven’t done such a thing here. It’s difficult for me to say anything. It’s their coach and their team policy.
Andrey Osadchenko — What is your opinion of the hit Brayden McNabb laid Joey Hishon out with?
Stanislav Galiev — I didn’t notice it at first. But on the replay I took a closer look. I think it was an elbow. I don’t like such dirty hits. There are a lot of those in the NHL. I don’t have respect for such players.
Andrey Osadchenko — It’s rare to see you with a beard and a mustache. Have you grown it for a while now?
Stanislav Galiev — [Smiles] I started right after the end of the regular season. The whole team decided to do so. Some guys, including me, got a mohawk. Our captain, Mike Thomas, had dreads for the first game of the playoffs.
Andrey Osadchenko — Do you shave your mustache a special way?
Stanislav Galiev — [Laughs] No, it grows this way by itself. I’ve had it for two months. I want to shave really bad.
Andrey Osadchenko — So your first action after the end of the tournament will be shaving?
Stanislav Galiev — Yeah, I have a razor in the locker room. But I think I’ll leave the hairstyle.
Andrey Osadchenko — How did the team celebrate the QMJHL championship?
Stanislav Galiev — We stayed pretty quiet. The club president congratulated us, we went to a restaurant and then came home the next day. We didn’t want to celebrate much before the Memorial Cup. I think we still have a lot ahead of us [smiles].