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Q&A: Marty catches up with Maxim Afinogenov

Forward scored OT winner in Game 5 against the Rangers

by Martin Biron @martybiron43 /

Maxim Afinogenov is 40 and still flying in the KHL. 

The longtime Buffalo Sabres forward skated 37 games with Dynamo Moskva this past season, now 10 years removed from his last game in the NHL. He still has a penchant for scoring highlight-reel goals.

Tweet from @FanSidedNHL: 40-year-old Max Afinogenov still has some WHEELS on him.(via @khl_eng)

Among Afinogenov's most memorable goals was his overtime winner in Game 5 of the 2007 Eastern Conference Semifinal against the New York Rangers, which will air on MSG Friday at 8 p.m. as the latest installment of "Sabres Classics."

Martin Biron caught up with his former teammate to find out what he's been up to and to revisit that memorable game. 

Martin Biron: You're still playing at 40! WHY?

Maxim Afinogenov: I love hockey. It's my life. Hockey and family is my life. I played hockey since I was very young and will keep going as long as possible if I stay healthy.

Biron: How's the family?

Afinogenov: I have two kids now, my daughter is gonna be 6 years old and my son is 3 and a half. He loves hockey and he started skating this year.

Biron: In '06-07 you had 23 goals in 56 games, was that your best season?

Afinogenov: My full 10 years in Buffalo was my best seasons! I loved the fans, loved the team, loved coaches. If you look at the stats that season, other seasons were more points, but it was my best because I only played 56 games.

Biron: Eighteen power-play goals over two seasons (2005-06 and 2006-07), how was it to be on one of the best power plays in league?

Afinogenov: The best power play. All of these guys were great players. It was a great team. We deserved the Cup!

Biron: You said earlier you loved the coaches yet Lindy Ruff didn't play you in Game 4 of that series against the New York Rangers. How did you feel after being a scratch?

Afinogenov: Haha! Lindy did a good job. He shook me up a little bit. It worked. I scored in the next game. Lindy was a great coach and did a great job. 

Biron: How about that Game 5 vs. the Rangers? How was it?

Afinogenov: It was real tight all game. Drury's goal in the last seconds was an unreal feeling. We had lots of energy in the locker room after the third period to come out for overtime.

Biron: You scored in OT and had a great celebration after that.

Afinogenov: I think Dmitri (Kalinin) gave me the puck and I saw Vanek doing a good screen. I just shoot the puck and Lundqvist didn't see it. I just don't know about the celebration! So much fun, I just wanted to jump!

Biron: Come back to Buffalo soon, Max.

Afinogenov: I saw you guys all get together not too long ago. I miss the guys. I wanted to come back for a visit this summer but now not sure. Maybe next year I come for a visit.

Biron: Stay safe and stay healthy.

Afinogenov: You too, and everyone in Buffalo. I miss Buffalo always.

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