On Tuesday, Puck Daddy's Dmitry Chesnokov let us in on an exclusive interview with the biggest unrestricted free agent from the Ottawa Senators, Anton Volchenkov. It was an intriguing interview because we so rarely get to read such in-depth comments from Volchenkov, and it was good to get an idea of how one of the city's fan favourites is thinking heading into what might be the biggest off-season of his career. Chesnokov broached the hot topics of the day (what are your thoughts on the season, how are you approaching free agency) and the standby lob-balls (what car do you drive, what music do you listen to), but most revealing might have been his response to the question of leaving Ottawa: "I said I was going to get ready for the new season, but I didn't say where."
Volchenkov didn't say he was ready to leave; in fact, he expressed a sadness at the prospect of leaving the only NHL team he's ever played for. But he also didn't offer any reasons for optimism that he was willing to take a significant discount to re-sign in this city. Realistically, though, should that be a surprise to anyone?
When asked about this upcoming contract, Volchenkov did sound like he had an attachment to the city, and at least a moderate interest in sticking around:
"Whichever way you want to put it, but I have spent 7 years in Ottawa. Of course it would be sad to move to another city. I am trying to look ahead at this point because life doesn't stop. But you're right, this is going to be one of the most important contracts of my hockey career. That's why we will have to see and decide what it's going to be."
But asked about his development as a player, Volchenkov made sure to note that the Senators alone didn't quite build him into what he is today:
"I think I was nurtured as a player in Russia. And here I was given a chance to play. Of course I have to admit that it is going to be sad if I have to leave Ottawa. But this is hockey. It doesn't always happen the way you want it. I am not a fan of changing teams, but... But if I am in such situation, we will have to decide. But it will all have to happen later."
Not exactly the words of a player who sounds like he owes much to the team that drafted him.
That was the meat of the interview, anyway. Volchenkov also discussed a few other key points:
- Drew Doughty should win the Norris Trophy, according to Android.
- The Senators weren't "prepared" for the Pittsburgh Penguins in the first round. (Although I think the translation was likely more a case of them not being ready for the Penguins rather than not having prepared well enough for them.)
- Dany Heatley might just be one of those people who "like to leave with a scandal". But Volchenkov doesn't have a problem with the noodle-armed winger.
- Bebop said he likes to play the role of puck magnet. The guy likes it.
- With regards to his lacking point production, suggesting that his focus has always been on shutting the opposition down, and he'd like to get more powerplay time in order to put up numbers. Maybe it's the other way around; he doesn't get powerplay time because he doesn't put up numbers.
- Look for a Washington-Vancouver matchup in the Stanley Cup Finals.