Kravtsov unplugged: Opens up in interview with Sport Express

Kravtsov (Getty Images)

In an interview with Russian news outlet Sport Express, Vitali Kravtsov opened up on his experience in North America, his return to Russia and his future.

About going to Hartford: “They told me playing 6 minutes on the 4th line was not good for my development and they wanted me to play in Hartford to get better. It sounds like a generic answer you get from coaches”

On physical testing: “They told me my heart rate was too low during the tests. Most athletes hit 180 beats per minute, but for me it was difficult to reach that mark. It was always around 160. They saw that as an issue. It’s not worth complaining about. I didn’t show what the coaches wanted to see”.

On pre-season: “I played in 5 games and they told me I did not see the whole picture. I didn’t make the roster. Looking back, I do not regret anything. I gave it all, started at Traverse City. Pre-season was different. Players like Panarin and Zibanejad were on the team. I didn’t play in the top-6 but I can only blame myself for that.”

On David Quinn: “We talked and he told me things will get better each day. Again, it’s very generic. It’s like all the coaches say the same things.”

On the Rangers calling him up early: “They cann but they won’t do it. I wanted to return to Russia and play good hockey. Show them what I can do. It’s not about the money. Everyone says that I am young and had to do what Kuznetsov or Panarin did and stay in the KHL longer but everyone is different. Every individual has their own path, their own plan. It’s too early to draw conclusions. I need to return to Chelyabinsk and play.”

On adapting to Hartford: “I didn’t have problems adapting to Hartford. That’s not the reason I am returning to Russia. There was no point in my waiting in Hartford for someone to get injured or traded. I don’t want my success to be based on someone else’s misfortune.”

About the comments online: “Let them write what they want. They were not in my position and they do not know the circumstances”

On returning to the NHL: “Of course. I have a 3-year contract.”

Editor’s note: Apparently those using Google translate believe that Vitali took a shot at Smith which is a poor translation. Here’s the right one.