After the World Championships, Pavel Lysenkov from Matchtv.ru spent some time with Andrei Vasilevskiy and talked to him about his goalie mask, his musical preferences and other things.
Pavel Lysenkov: Andrei, when did you have your longest autograph session? I was impressed when you were giving autographs for the whole hour.
Andrei Vasilevskiy: It was couple of years ago at Bolts Family Carnival in Tampa. I spent four or five hours. Couldn’t even feel my arm.
Pavel Lysenkov: There was a presentation of new goaltender equipment. How do the changes affect you as a professional goalie?
Andrei Vasilevskiy: It depends on what has been changed. Now they’ve changed chest protectors, made them slim fit. It’s now very close to the body, so you can feel every puck hitting into you. When they were just cutting some size on both sides you wouldn’t even notice.
Pavel Lysenkov: So is your body hurting after every game?
Andrei Vasilevskiy: It happens. Or someone hit the bone. It could even start to bleed.
Pavel Lysenkov: The bronze medal game at the Worlds was very breathtaking. You made 48 saves, not to mention four in the shootout. You had just two games with a bigger number of saves this season: against the Toronto Maple Leafs (49 saves) and the Washington Capitals (58 saves). Which was harder?
Andrei Vasilevskiy: The main difficulty was that it was our second game in two days. We played the quarterfinal against Finland the day before, so iI couldn’t even breathe properly by the end of the third period against Czech republic. Comparing with the game against the Capitals, we had a break at least before this game. And it wasn’t a very difficult game, although they shot more often.
Pavel Lysenkov: Who has the most difficult shot in the NHL?
Andrei Vasilevskiy: Honestly, they all have. Everyone is experienced. Everyone is the best. Everyone can score. Well, let’s say Alex Ovechkin. This is a common answer. He shoots very well, you can trust me.
Pavel Lysenkov: There’s a permanent debate in the NHL: let’s make goaltender equipment smaller, let’s make the goals bigger...
Andrei Vasilevskiy: Yeah, they’re doing it all the time.... Trying to increase efficiency, see more goals. It won’t be an easy time for the goalies in the next seasons. If the number of goals per game won’t be more than three, it would be a great result.
Pavel Lysenkov: Is your opinion not asked?
Andrei Vasilevskiy: Who would ask?
Pavel Lysenkov: Evgeny Nabokov once said that these people are looking for a brain in the ass.
Andrei Vasilevskiy: Yeah, I agree. They aren’t looking in the right place.
Pavel Lysenkov: Your unique skill is that you are very mobile with your skill. How do you train your reactions?
Andrei Vasilevskiy: I don’t know. Just working hard in practice I guess. Trying to do everything like in a real game. I spend a lot of time doing stretching. I can do it for a whole hour. This is the main part of my training routine. Probably this is why I’m so mobile.
Pavel Lysenkov: Can every goalie do the splits?
Andrei Vasilevskiy: Not every. The ones who are practicing.
Pavel Lysenkov: Do you?
Andrei Vasilevskiy: Yeah, it’s very easy for me. Because I’m doing it every day. But it would be hard for an ordinary person.
Pavel Lysenkov: Do you consider yourself as an open person?
Andrei Vasilevskiy: Not really. I don’t like giving interviews or being in front of cameras. I’m just not interested. Unless my agent asked me. Just like this time.
Pavel Lysenkov: Thanks!
Andrei Vasilevskiy: Do not even try to cut it off!
Pavel Lysenkov: Comparing to Nikita Kucherov, you’re a very open person.
Andrei Vasilevskiy: Totally agree! He doesn’t like this stuff. But he’s a very open and cheerful guy between us. There are some people whom he trusts - me, Mikhail Sergachev, a couple of other guys. But he’s not into meeting new people. It’s like Kucherov has a goaltender’s mind. Not that he is fixated on himself, but he’s very concentrated.
Pavel Lysenkov: I remember when Ovechkin tried himself as a goalie. Has Kucherov tried it?
Andrei Vasilevskiy: No. But I once switched positions with Vladislav Namestnikov, when he was playing for the Lightning. By the way, he was pretty good. He made a couple of saves.
Pavel Lysenkov: You made your first steps in the hockey as a forward.
Andrei Vasilevskiy: Yes, I was seven or eight years old. Can’t remember actually. I told myself that I don’t wanna skate and I’m just gonna mess around in the net. Can’t afford it myself these days.
Pavel Lysenkov: Your dad was also a goaltender. How didn’t your brother become a goalie?
Andrei Vasilevskiy: Good for him. Probably there were too many goalies in the same family? That’s why he became a defenseman.
Pavel Lysenkov: Are you superstitious?
Andrei Vasilevskiy: A little bit. But I’m becoming less superstitious with time.
Pavel Lysenkov: I can freely talk to Andrey Kirilenko before an NBA game, but the hockey players are usually not available from the morning on a game day.
Andrei Vasilevskiy: Don’t even know, everyone preparing for the game as they want. I agree, there are a lot of superstitious hockey players now. My explanation is that I’m a goalie. You’re looking at me from the side. Think for yourself what’s going on in my mind.
Pavel Lysenkov: The drawings on goalie masks are like a philosophy. How do you choose your painter?
Andrei Vasilevskiy: My painter is not a male, but female. We met at the Subway Super Series. She introduced herself after the game and told me that we can exchange numbers if I ever need some drawings on my mask. When I came to North America, she asked me if needed something. We’ve been working together since that moment. I’m completely satisfied.
Pavel Lysenkov: Are you telling her where to put the lightning or the crest?
Andrei Vasilevskiy: Yes, I’m just telling her how I imagine it. Then she paints a picture and if I like it, she puts it on the mask.
Pavel Lysenkov: Is it true that every painted mask costs about $10,000?
Andrei Vasilevskiy: Mine is about $2000. Probably someone woul pay that money for mask painted in gold. Every detail or line is traced on my mask. The drawing is incredible.
Pavel Lysenkov: Do you eat a balanced diet during the season?
Andrei Vasilevskiy: I try to keep it always, even in the summer. The main secret is not to eat after 6 p.m. And you know, it helps.
Pavel Lysenkov: You don’t drink alcohol. Not even a little bit?
Andrei Vasilevskiy: I can’t stand its taste. This is a good thing, right?
Pavel Lysenkov: I know just one hockey player like you - Jaromir Jagr. Another good thing is that you listen to the right music.
Andrei Vasilevskiy: Rock music
Pavel Lysenkov: Classic rock! Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin, The Doors.
Andrei Vasilevskiy: Yes, I like it very much. But I hadn’t listened to it before I came to North America. Just heard it in our locker room and asked someone what’s playing. Then I started to listen to some albums.
Pavel Lysenkov: The “Shine On You Crazy Diamond” song lasts almost half an hour. This is not just Pink Floyd’s song, but a meditation.
Andrei Vasilevskiy: Yeah, very good song!
Pavel Lysenkov: If you had a chance to have dinner with a rockstar, who would it be?
Andrei Vasilevskiy: Probably with the frontman of The Doors. Unfortunately, Jim Morrison has already passed away.
Pavel Lysenkov: What are the best people’s qualities?
Andrei Vasilevskiy: The talent. The sense of humour. I also like modest people. There are some average players who behave like Wayne Gretzky. On the other hand, it’s great when top players act like an ordinary person. We have a lot of guys like this in Tampa. For some reason, the Americans have such a mentality, I appreciate it.
Pavel Lysenkov: What do you think about social sites?
Andrei Vasilevskiy: I didn’t have any of them till last year. They told me that I’m an NHL player and I need to build a personal brand. That’s why I created an Instagram account. But I’m trying not to spend much time there. Posting some pictures, trying not to giving up on it.
Pavel Lysenkov: You met your wife at the plane. Imagine you’ve bought a ticket for an other plane!
Andrei Vasilevskiy: Then I wouldn’t have met her!
I was fifteen. I flew from Ufa to Moscow to join the junior national team. I was spending a lot of time on VKontakte (Russian social network), we wrote each other and that’s how it started. I’m very happy.
Pavel Lysenkov: Good flight
Andrei Vasilevskiy: Absolutely
Pavel Lysenkov: How much weight do you lose during a game?
Andrei Vasilevskiy: About 5-10 kilograms. Depends on intensity of the game.
Pavel Lysenkov: Ten?
Andrei Vasilevskiy: Yes, it happens.
Pavel Lysenkov: This is a serious test for the body.
Andrei Vasilevskiy: I got used to it.
Pavel Lysenkov: Is it true that you can’t sleep after games?
Andrei Vasilevskiy: I sleep terrible after games. But I’ve never tried sleeping pills. I don’t want to cause any health problems. Just watching some videos on Youtube.
Pavel Lysenkov: Hockey?
Andrei Vasilevskiy: I’d block it if I could. I don’t want to watch hockey at all. Don’t even want to think about it between the games
Pavel Lysenkov: What would you take with you on a desert island?
Andrei Vasilevskiy: A certificate for endless supply of water. And the same certificate for food.
Pavel Lysenkov: Very smart.
Andrei Vasilevskiy: And a helicopter to fly away when I got tired.
Pavel Lysenkov: Even smarter.
Andrei Vasilevskiy: Just one thing would be enough - a helicopter. Is that possible?