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News
Vladimir SobotkaVladimir Sobotka
 I spoke with Kanareikin as soon as I arrived in Omsk. The coach gave me a couple of days off to acclimatize, and said that he’s counting on me.

- You missed all of Avangard’s preseason due to injury, and missed the start of the KHL season, but then went off to the World Cup with the Czech team. Some of the Avangard fans wonder why that happened.
“It's quite simple. After a long layoff through injury, I had to wait for permission from the doctors to resume playing. That’s why I missed the entire preseason, and I was only allowed to get back to training on the ice just before I was due to join up with the Czech Republic roster for the World Cup.”
- How difficult is it to re-acclimatize now you’re back playing in the KHL?
“Obviously the time difference between Canada and Russia and the difference in the playing styles are both obstacles, but many other players are in a similar situation. I just have to get used to the larger rinks and find my own game as soon as possible.”

Vladimir SobotkaVladimir Sobotka
   “Why would I want to fight Ryspayev? I came here to play hockey, not fight. Yes, I box in my spare time, but I won’t deploy those skills on the ice.

- Were you surprised by head coach Evgeny Kornoukhov’s departure before the Championship?
“I wasn't with the team when that decision was made, so I cannot comment on it. The club management knows best in these situations.”
- Reports reached the media that you and Kornoukhov did not always see eye to eye. Is that true?
“I have never had problems with the coaches in Omsk. There were times when I wasn’t quite on the same wavelength as Raimo Summanen, but these things happen in every job. After training, we’d meet, have a talk, and always find a compromise.”

Vladimir SobotkaVladimir Sobotka
“I felt great out there on the ice. It was the first time in two years that I’d played on the smaller rink, so I had to re-acclimatize myself to having to think and play faster, but I managed it quite easily.”

- Has the team been affected by the departure of your fellow Czech, Martin Erat, who was one of the leading players last season?
“He is a very skillful player with excellent movement and speed. It was a pleasure to play with him for a whole year. I can say that when players such as these are gone, it always leaves a big gap. We certainly miss Martin.”
- At the start of the season the team added Derek Roy to the ranks, and he was a team-mate of yours at St. Louis. Did you two ever play in the same line back in those days?
 “Yes, we had a few matches in the same troika at St. Louis, but at that time he played more often as a center and I was out on the left wing.”
- Now you have been playing together in Avangard’s starting line. How easy was it to combine with Derek?
“We hadn't played together for a long time, so now we’re working very hard in training at forging an understanding. We’ve only played a few games, and we’ve been helping each other a lot on the ice, because our roles have changed from what they were five years ago at St. Louis. I hope we will click and we’ll soon be scoring in every match.

Raimo Summanen in Avangard»Raimo Summanen in Avangard»Vladimir SobotkaVladimir Sobotka
I had a long layoff through injury and had to wait for permission from the doctors to resume playing. That’s why I missed the entire preseason.

- Boston drafted you in 2005, but it was two years before you made the move. Why did you not go there straight away?
“I was 18, I was very young, and I had to gain experience as a player. For his reason, the Czech league suited me very well because I got a lot of playing time, the coaches had faith in me, and I was happy. As soon as I had matured and grown in confidence, I went straight to the NHL.”
- You spent the greater part of your first NHL season playing for Boston, but spent most of the following campaign at the farm club. Why was that?
“It is a fairly common situation for a young player. One day you are in the starting line and the next you’re at the farm club. because you have to adapt to a new way of life. Hockey in North America is a very different game and you almost have to learn from scratch.”

Vladimir SobotkaVladimir Sobotka
I have never had problems with the coaches in Omsk. There were times when I wasn’t quite on the same wavelength as Raimo Summanen, but these things happen in every job.

- Here in Russia there have been rumors that Ken Hitchcock hates Russian players. Nikolai Zherdev and Nikita Filatov found it hard working with this coach. Do you have anything to add?
“We always had a good relationship, and I never once heard anything about Russian players having any problems working with him.”
- Many pundits claim your move from St Louis to Avangard was triggered by strong competition for places, from the likes of Jori Lehtera and Paul Stastny. Are they correct?
“It's hockey, and every team strives to be better and strengthen its roster. That is how it should be. My contract with St. Louis was up and I received two offers – to sign another deal with St. Louis or move to Avangard. I thought it over and decided on a move to the KHL.”
- You are now in the last year of your contract at Omsk. Have you started thinking about your future yet? Would you choose the NHL or KHL?
“My aim now is to have a good season, and after that you’ll see what I decide.”

Vladimir SobotkaVladimir Sobotka