Mironov looks back, looks ahead (Euroreport.com)
by Lisa Dombayci | NHL Correspondent - 3 October, 2000
This season marks Dmitri Mironov's 10th in the NHL, and his third with
the Washington Capitals. Mironov, who has won gold, silver and bronze medals
with Team Russia, The Unified Team, and The Russian National Team in both
Olympic and World competition is confident that the Capitals can win a
lot of games this season. EuroReport recently caught up with the Moscow
native at the Caps training camp, where he talked about how hockey has
changed since he arrived in the NHL and what it's like to play with Vezina
Trophy winner Olaf Kolzig.
EuroReport: You have been playing hockey for quite a while. You started
out with CSKA...
Dmitri Mironov: I played with CSKA, then I moved to Soviet Wings when
I was 22 years old.
EuroReport: Was it better for you on the Soviet Wings?
Mironov: Well, I got more ice time, more play. Power play, penalty
kill, I played everywhere.
EuroReport: Did you ever get to play with your brother, Boris?
Mironov: No, I actually played against him every time. The first time
I played with him on one team, was the Russian Olympic Team in Nagano in
EuroReport: Talk about how you were drafted.
Mironov: I had my debut in the World Championships in Finland in 1991,
and I was drafted that same year. Being drafted is not a guarantee you
will be here in the league, so I played one more year, until Olympics,
in 1992. Then, right in the Olympics, the Swedish scout came to me and
said he wanted me to sign a contract. So I said, "Ok, I'll see what I'm
gonna do." Well, we win that Olympic games, and I came back to Moscow,
and within the next few weeks, I asked my coach, and he said he had no
problem with it, so I signed the contract.
EuroReport: Did you have to think about signing the contract, or was
it an easy decision for you?
Mironov: No, I didn't think too much. I know [the NHL is] the best
league in the world. I decided just to try it. At least to try it. I got
contract for three years. I just tried to be not on top, but not last either.
I came here at a good age, 26 years old.
EuroReport: Was it a culture shock to come to North America?
Mironov: No, not really, I have the same culture. A little different
lifestyle, that's all. It's quick. The language you pick up in, like, two
years. Adaptation is not more than two years.
EuroReport: Was it tough on your family?
Mironov: They just try to learn the language. Kids pick it up. My son
[Egor] was 4 years old when we came here, and he has no Russian accent,
but that's life... but he speaks in Russian with an accent! [laughs]
EuroReport: What about adjusting on the ice?
Mironov: On the ice, well, now it's more quickly, I guarantee you.
At that time, in 1992-93, it was slow. Now it's faster. Every year you
see more faster skaters, more quickness. Everything, like, goes up. So,
at that time, in 1992-93, it was a little slow, so I feel like a fish in
the water. [laughs] It was a little bit of discomfort, smaller rinks. But
still, in a few months you get used to it.
EuroReport: You have moved around quite a bit in the NHL. Is that difficult?
Mironov: No, I still have a place in Toronto. I just love it there.
I have a lot of friends there. Downtown is nice and clear. So clean, and
not so dangerous, you know? Not like here downtown. I guarantee you, walking
through downtown here at midnight is kind of scary. In Toronto, you can
walk downtown all night long.
EuroReport: How do you think the team will do this season, compared
to last season?
Mironov: Well, now it's pretty good season. We haven't got the big
injuries like we did before, when I hurt my back. Last year was a slow
start until we had that west coast road trip where we lose, lose, lose.
Then we started picking up some wins. We followed our game plan, like,
all twenty guys, all in one spot, everybody doing his job the best, and
we finished almost in first. It was a good fight at the end.
EuroReport: How is it working with your defensive partner this training
camp and pre season?
Mironov: I started with [Andrei] Tezikov, but now I play more with
younger kid, [Jakob] Cutta. He's a nice guy. He is just learning from me
some things. I think he's got a future.
EuroReport: How about the absence of Sergei Gonchar due to contract
disputes? Any thoughts on that?
Mironov: I hope he is getting here more quickly, because it's tough
for him to miss whole training camp, because we've got everybody now, and
we are picking up some strength and just physical conditioning.
EuroReport: Have you spoken with him?
Mironov: Yeah, I've talked to him. He is skating with a junior team
in Toronto, Ontario, so he's working out, but still, it's not like here,
with the team. I hope he is done quickly with the contract. It will help
EuroReport: Is it easier to play with a guy like Olaf Kolzig in net
Mironov: Oh yeah, sure, sure. He makes a few great saves at the start
of the game, and the team just picks it up. Like, "Look, we can win, we
don't have to worry about the net."
EuroReport: And as a defenseman, it's easier. You know what he is going
to do and he knows what you are going to do?
Mironov: Yeah, exactly.
EuroReport: So, as an experienced defenseman, do you think the Capitals
defense looks good this year?
Mironov: Yeah, it's great.
EuroReport: The coaching staff has been doing a good job. Are you confident
that will continue?
Mironov: Yeah. I know [Ron] Wilson very well. I played with him in
Anahiem. He's a good coach.
EuroReport: There have been so many teams playing a defensive style
of hockey. Teams that have been winning Stanley Cups. What do you think
about the Capitals playing a defensive style of hockey?
Mironov: I don't agree with defensive style team, because we have got
great forwards like Peter Bondra, Ulf Dahlin, Adam Oats, [Richard] Zednik.
We got [Jan] Bulis and Chris Simon still on the team. We have to score
a lot of goals. I mean, we can win like that.