Tampa Bay Lightning defender Mikhail Sergachev was recently interviewed by the NHL about his rookie season, adjusting to the tempo of the NHL, and the benefits of playing with fellow Russians.
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Question: How would you rate your own performance this season?
Sergachev: Of course, I like playing for Tampa; we're winning, and playing is fun. I learn and make progress, try to watch the tape and learn something new every day. Not that I'm satisfied with my season, but everything is going quite well so far, and, as I've said, I try to improve myself. Not everything is perfect, of course; I should work harder in defense and be more stable, because sometimes I play well in five games and then become invisible for the next two, as if I weren't on the ice.
What, in your opinion, is the main thing you bring to the team?
When I go out on the ice, I'm always ready to play and fight for the victory. I don't care about points. If I'm helping the team, it's great, and if not, I don't feel very well.
Playing 82 games is hard, and the guys say so too, and there are also the playoffs... I try to rest more, sleep more, eat the right food--good rest is the key.
How much does the presence of other talented Russians help you?
It's great because they know everything. They've been here in the system for--how long, five years? They know everything, and they're used to the league and to Tampa, so it was much easier for me to settle in.