Nikolai Khabibulin: “I’m not surprised that Hasek supported me. We just have to abandon politics.”

Nikolai Khabibulin: “I’m not surprised that Hasek supported me.  We just have to abandon politics.”

Very soon Nikolai Khabibulin will celebrate his birthday – on January 13 he will be 51 years old. And the question arises: when will the goalie nicknamed Wall Bulina be able to return to big hockey? When will this day take place?

Let’s see that. It is clear that this will happen in Nizhny Novgorod: it makes no sense to experiment like this on the road.

It is also obvious that Khabibulin needs time to get himself in order, get in shape – and understand if he is even ready for such a comeback. It might not happen.

It’s February. And I would mention a few key points. First, on February 9, when Sochi, which by then had suffered 15 defeats in a row, will come to Nizhny Novgorod. The scenario is as follows: Torpedo makes a result in two periods, and releases Khabibulin in the third.

Or you can do it on February 26 during the match against Lada. During the last match of the championship, the placement of the teams in the table is already clear. The playoffs start in two days and the main guards can rest. Well, take a risk by sending Khabibulin to the ice.

In general, the Torpedo guard doesn’t have many “entry points”. But the intrigue around its story is still alive.

And we talked after the match in Moscow, when CSKA naturally destroyed the Nizhny Novgorod team on the ice (7:2), and the visiting goalkeepers were especially injured that day.

From this interview with Nikolai Khabibulin you will learn:

“Kovalchuk has already scored his goals for me. Enough!”

— They showed you on in the middle of the first half, when the score was 3:0 in favor of CSKA. You were so sad… So you wanted to go on the ice?

– No, the fact is that the start of the match did not go well at all. It’s not the best feeling when puck after puck is flying into your goal. You always go through everything on your own. The match did not go as we would have liked.

“It wasn’t Beckham’s day.” What did you, as a coach, say to Adam Huska and Ivan Kulbakov at such a moment?

– It’s one game among many others. It happens. Everyone had them, including me. You turn the page and move forward.

— What was your main motivation to join the Torpedo roster as a goalkeeper? For what?

— It all started with a joke. Igor Nikolaevich (Larionov) said: “Let’s go out and play. » At first, everyone seemed to be laughing. And then things took a serious turn. Well, now it comes to the app. Now I’m finally getting ready to play. I’m going to try to get in shape.

— When goalkeeper coach Khabibulin works with Huska and Kulbakov, everything is clear. But who coaches coach Khabibulin?

– Well, I don’t know. I’ll probably ask the guys to come with me and train.

— Ilya Kovalchuk said in an interview with : “If only Khabibulin played against Spartak more often.” Does this make you happy or offended?

— I think Spartak does not particularly expect me to participate in the match. Ilya has already caused me enough problems. He has enough !

“The Toronto ice cream pourer was nine years younger than me.”

— Who is easier to return to big hockey – a forward (like Kovalchuk) or a goalkeeper?

– In the end, I would say this: it is easier for an attacker to return, then for a defender, and more difficult for a goalkeeper.

– For what?

— You still have to get used to the speed and the throws. And if the attacker did not arrive somewhere, did not have time, then there is always someone to work for him. But there is no one to guard. He has no room for error. You have to go out on the ice and see what it’s all about. Is it worth doing this or not?

— Is the reaction important in the first place?

“Everything is important here: reaction, quick thinking and foot speed. If the puck is passed from one side to the other or if a player is simply rolling towards you, those are two different attacks. If you watch the match from the outside, you understand what will happen in the next second. But once on the ice, the game changes radically. Everything happens very quickly! And you still have to get used to it. Somewhere I will start training with the team that is not playing, and then we will see.

— Remember, there was a story when ice pourer Dave Ayres, 42, from Toronto, entered the Carolina goal and brought them victory (6:3). What does this tell you?

“In fact, this incident is inspiring. This means it is possible to go out and play. All that remains is to get back on the ice and see how everything goes.

– You will play better. Ayres is not a name and you are a Stanley Cup winner.

– But he is nine years younger.

— Is the team you play against important to you?

—If we talk about this hypothetically, then we need to choose a team with a style more focused on shooting than on combination play. It would theoretically be easier against such a team.

— Is there an option you won’t come back from at all?

– Yes of course. If I go out on the ice and realize that no, I can’t handle this… So why put the guys and the team down? Anyway, even if we come out, whether in the first minutes of the match or in the last, I would not like to start like Torpedo against CSKA, when one puck after another entered our goal.

– It’s a coincidence.

– It’s clear. But I don’t want to go out on the ice, miss three goals in 10 minutes and go to the bench so the guys spend the remaining 50 minutes trying to get back in the game. That wouldn’t be entirely accurate.

“Larionov’s salads are now our everything”

— When Vladislav Tretyak was over 40, the Chicago Blackhawks offered him a contract. But the great goalie did not return to hockey, not wanting to risk his name. Are you putting Khabibulin’s brand on the line?

– Probably not. Because here, even if it happens, we will see one-off action. It’s not like it’s a contract when you play the whole season. I think everyone understands everything. And I’m not particularly worried about my name.

— Dominik Hasek constantly hates Russia. But he spoke very warmly of your return in an interview with . Did this surprise you?

– I saw his words. This didn’t really surprise me. Because Hasek and I played against each other a lot. Together, they even participated in the NHL All-Star Game several times. I communicated normally with Dominic.

Perhaps, in the context of what he had said recently, this might have seemed surprising. But leaving politics aside, I wasn’t surprised that Hasek voiced my support.

— Is there a fraternity of goalkeepers?

– Apparently yes.

— When we learned that you were coming back, from whom did you receive the most unusual words?

— They wrote to me from Tampa, where I was playing. Carolina goalie coach Jason Muzatti also offered encouragement. I haven’t spoken to him in a long time. And he writes: “Come on, Nikolai, play for all our fifty-year-olds!

— You can make league history. The oldest goaltender in the KHL was Dominik Hasek, who was playing at 46 years old. Is this an incentive to break the record?

“These are not records worth chasing.” In this case, I don’t have much motivation. This is not a sporting record. Well, you became the oldest hockey player. But if I had played the whole season like Hasek did at Spartak, it would be a different matter. Somewhere you go out, somewhere you sit on a bench. And if you go out once, I don’t think it’s a record of records.

— When you are over 50, what is the most difficult thing in terms of physical condition? Diet, massages, recovery. What advice do you give to people in their fifties?

– Does anyone else want to come back?

– Yes, to a normal life.

— We need to observe certain things in terms of nutrition and training. The most important thing is to understand that you are no longer 20-30 years old. Age takes its toll, so you need to approach the training process very carefully. Recovery is not what it used to be. High risk of injury. Therefore, you need to do everything in doses, gradually increasing the load.

-Have you changed your diet?

— I eat like a normal person.

-Can you even afford a hamburger?

– Why not? Certainly.

– Now you can’t eat fast food anymore.

– But you can go to a normal establishment, where they will offer you a burger with a real schnitzel. I’ve actually never eaten disgustingly before. But I fixed some things. I remembered what I ate when I was still playing hockey. I brought back my old menu.

— Lettuce and raspberries, as Larionov says?

– Yes, now salad is our everything!

Watch live broadcasts of the Fonbet KHL championship matches on the channel, as well as on the and sites.

Source : MatchTV

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