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Transcript: Alexander Pechurski Russian Radio Interview

by Staff Writer / Pittsburgh Penguins
The Pittsburgh Penguins launched “NHL in Russian,” a Russian-language radio show, on Tuesday, Nov. 24. It airs each Tuesday at 8:30 a.m. Pittsburgh time (4:30 p.m. Moscow time) on the Penguins’ new HD radio station, 105.9 HD-2, and is streamed live on and Following is a transcript of an interview with Tri-City Americans goaltender Alexander Pechurski, a Penguins’ prospect who stopped 12-of-13 shots in relief against the Vancouver Canucks on Jan. 16 in his NHL debut, and was named the game’s No. 3 star. In 15 games with Tri-City, Pechurski has posted a 7-5-1 record, 2.45 goals-against average and .911 save percentage. Click here for the 'NHL in Russian' page.  Pechurski was interviewed by George Birman and Olej Mejeritski of the “NHL in Russian” show.

2-16 NXL Na Russkom (NHL In Russian) - Listen to the Pechurski interview here

George Birman: Please welcome Alexander Pechurski.  He is a goaltender who was drafted by the Pittsburgh Penguins and is currently playing in the Western Hockey League for the Tri-City Americans.  Alex, thanks so much for finding some time to talk with us.

Oleg Mejeritski: Thanks Alex.

Alexander Pechurski: Hello.

Birman: Tell us a little bit about who you are, where you are from and how you have gotten to North America. 

Pechurski: Well, I was born in Magnitogorsk (Russia). I started the season playing in the Kontinental Hockey League (KHL). I played there for half the season, and then they brought in another goaltender, Valeshyekov.

Mejeritski: You played for Magnitogorsk, right?

Pechurski: Yes. And they sent me to the second team. I called my agent and told him that I wanted more playing time (to help my development so that I can one day) play in the NHL.

Birman: And that's how you got here?

Pechurski: Yes, my agent got me a deal.

Mejeritski: How hard was it for you to find a team in North America?

Games Played 15    
Wins 7    
Losses 5
Overtime 1
Goals Against Avg 2.45
Save Percentage .911
Shutouts 3
Pechurski: It wasn’t hard at all. The Tri-City Americans drafted me at the beginning of the season.

Birman: What was it like on Jan. 16 when you made your NHL debut with the Penguins? 

Pechurski: Well, first off, it was a huge shock for me.

Mejeritski: Tell us how making your NHL debut came about?

Pechurski: We had a game against Seattle, which we won, 3-2. And after the game, our coach came into our locker room and said something in English about me, but I didn't understand what he said because I am still learning the English language. Then, everyone started to walk up to me, congratulating me and giving me hugs.  In the hallway was a scout from the Penguins and a Russian translator. He came to watch how I did. He told me that Marc-Andre-Fleury was injured and that they were calling me up as the backup goaltender (on a one-game amateur tryout). I was in so much shock. I didn't understand anything.

Birman and Mejeritski: Even in Russian you didn't understand anything?

Pechurski: It has been my dream (to play in the NHL) since I was a child. Our game against Seattle ended around 10 p.m. At around 4 a.m. I woke up and flew to Seattle, and from Seattle to Vancouver. I went right to practice and then to the hotel, where I slept for about an hour.

Mejeritski: When you showed up to practice, how did the guys treat you?

Pechurski: Well, as soon as I entered the locker room, the guys walked up to me, introduced themselves and I introduced myself. Then, Geno (Evgeni Malkin) walked up to me, told me don't worry the team is young, there's nothing to worry about.

Mejeritski: Tell us about the beginning of the game, did head coach Dan Bylsma tell you anything?

Well, we didn't really talk much.  After practice he came up to me, asked me how I was and if everything was alright. He didn't really mention anything about the game other than telling me that I was the backup.

Mejeritski: It was a close game, 2-1 in favor of Vancouver, after the first period.  Were you thinking you were going to sit on the bench the whole game?

Pechurski: Yes. But then at the start of the 2nd period they scored three quick ones.

Birman: Did you get any thoughts at that point about going in?

Pechurski: Yes. Then I looked at (Matt) Cooke and they were motioning for me to put my equipment on.

All: "Laugh"

Pechurski: The coach told me to go in the net.

Birman: Ok, so you got to the net, and what were your first thoughts?

Pechurski: Well, I didn't have any thoughts.

Birman: Did you have any nervous feelings?

Pechurski: Well, no I wasn't nervous. I just didn't want to give up a goal on the first shot.

Birman: How do you think you did in your debut?

Pechurski: My debut, well everything went great. And everything was so much different.

Yes. That must have been difficult.

Pechurski: I didn't feel too comfortable.

Mejeritski: As the game went on, did you feel more and more comfortable?

Pechurski: Yes.

Birman: Did Fleury tell you anything after the game?

Pechurski: Even at practice he came up to me, he helped me out and gave me tips. After the game, he asked me if I liked his pads. I told him they weren’t too uncomfortable.

Birman: Alex how's life been in Canada?

Pechurski: Well, everything is good.

Mejeritski: Is somebody helping you?

Alexander Pechurski makes one of his 12 saves during his NHL debut against the Vancouver Canucks on Jan. 16, 2010.
Pechurski: Yes. I live with a billet family. They help me a lot.

Mejeritski: Are there any Russians on your team or are you the only one?

Pechurski: We have a player from Belarus named Sergei. He speaks Russian. We are both learning English by going to an English class two times a week. We have a Russian teacher.

Mejeritski: How's the language coming?

Pechurski: Well, it's getting better and better.

Mejeritski: Did you notice the shots coming at you harder in the NHL than in juniors?

Pechurski: I didn’t even notice. My mind wasn't focused on that.

Mejeritski: Everyone basically says that the biggest difference between the NHL and other leagues is the speed.

Pechurski: Yes, the NHL is much faster.

Birman: Alex, if we talk goaltenders, past or present, do you have any that you compare yourself to?

Pechurski: Well, probably Vladislav Tretiak. Even my number is 20, in memory of him. I want to be like him.

Mejeritski: Talking about Tretiak, he is the general manager for the Russian Olympic team. Are you going to watch them?

Pechurski: Of course I'm going to watch Team Russia. I'm going to keep an eye on them and cheer for them.

Birman: You said it has been your childhood dream to play in the NHL. What team did you envision yourself playing for?

Pechurski: I never had a favorite team. I just wanted to play in the NHL.

Mejeritski: Were there any teams you rooted for?

Pechurski: Anaheim and Pittsburgh.

Birman: Well, Alex we are going to wrap it up now.  We hope that one day you can live out your dream and become the first full-time Russian goaltender to play for the Penguins.

Pechurski: Thank you so much.

Birman and Mejeritski: Bye and good luck.

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