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|Russian defenseman Medvedev making impact at Flyers camp
22 сентября 2015 года. By Sam Carchidi. Philly.com
Evgeny Medvedev is still learning English, so the highly regarded Russian defenseman is letting his play on the ice do the talking.
A four-time all-star in Russia's Kontinental Hockey League, Medvedev has looked impressive in scrimmages and drills during the first three days of the Flyers' training camp in Voorhees.
Medvedev, 33, who is in his first NHL season after spending 12 seasons in Russia, has been playing alongside Michael Del Zotto on what looks like the Flyers' second pairing.
With his quick outlet passes and speed, he will upgrade a Flyers defense that struggled to get the puck out of its own zone last season.
"He's obviously an intelligent person. He's done a real good job picking things up," Flyers coach Dave Hakstol said. ". . . He's got a natural hockey sense and I can see that in his game. He's working through some of the language barrier, and he's working on that and I think that's improving every day. But on the ice, his natural sense comes through and he'll probably become more relaxed as he becomes more comfortable with the language."
Medvedev has been taking English lessons, and rookie Ivan Provorov, a Russian who speaks English fluently, has been helping him with his new language.
In addition to building chemistry with his new partner, Del Zotto is finding ways to communicate with him.
"Meddy's a really smart player who makes great plays," Del Zotto said after scoring a goal in a 2-1 loss during an intrasquad scrimmage in Voorhees on Sunday. "I think skill-wise, we're going to feed off each other and hopefully generate a lot of offense."
Del Zotto said he and Medvedev are working on "coming up with four or five words - simple words - we can use to read off each other" and make things run smoothly on the ice.
Right winger Jake Voracek can relate to the language barrier facing the 6-foot-3, 187-pound Medvedev.
"It's got to be a little hard for him not speaking English and learning everything - a new system, smaller ice," Voracek said. "He's doing a great job so far and I think it's pretty impressive of what he's shown the past few days. It's great to have him on the team."
Voracek, a Czech Republic native, said learning a new language is a slow process.
"I remember when I got to [North America] 10 years ago, I didn't speak English as well," he said. "The hockey stuff you kind of pick up really quick. Out of the stadium or out of the rink it's a little harder. He seems like a positive, good guy and I'm sure he's going to pick it up quickly."
On Monday night, Medvedev will get a chance to play on a smaller rink than those in Russia. He will be in the lineup during a split-squad game against the Islanders in Allentown. Also on Monday, the Flyers' other split squad will face the Islanders in Brooklyn.