Today's Q&A is with Alexey from the great Russian-language blog Red Wings Grinder. Once again, the magic of Google Translator makes it possible for me to be a regular reader. Alexey can also be found on Twitter @Lexa1523.
How did you first become a fan of the Red Wings? Why did you choose them over other pro teams?
It was in the middle of 90-s when we got satellite-TV (I think 94-95 lockout season). We were lucky to get this gadget from my father’s friends, ‘cause it was a real rarity in Russia in that time. So, I could watch FOX Sport (not sure, I was only 9-10 y.o. but I think it was FOX). You know, I don’t remember why I chose Red Wings. Maybe I liked their colors/logo or it was just my destiny...And the best thing of that time I remember is finals against Devils… I was totally disappointed but became a real fan of Wings. Then it was Russian Five, Grinders Line, Cups… I think you know what I mean )))
How large is the community of Wings fans where you live? Are there a lot of other NHL fans?
There are a lot of Red Wings fans all over the Russia – from Kaliningrad to Vladivostok. Most of them became fans in the end of 90-s during the “Russian Five Era”. But I know guys, who cheer for Red Wings sins late 80-s!!! Real dinosaurs!
Recently there appeared a lot of fans of Capitals and Penguins (I think it’s not difficult to guess why ;) ). And of course there are a lot of fans of other teams – Canucks, Leafs, Avalanche, Devils, Rangers etc. You know actually there are fans of all NHL teams in Russia.
What do you do to follow the team? Is it difficult to see games or find news about the Wings or the NHL in general?
We live in the Internet era and it’s not difficult to get the latest news about everything. So about Wings and NHL in general – all you need is to know language. Another matter – watching games. Unfortunately (I don’t understand why) Center Ice is not provided for Russian Federation. So our only way to see NHL games – two cable channels – “NTV+” (2-3 games per week) and “Viasat Sport” (ESPN America) – a lot of games. But not all the games. So we have to use illegal ways as justin.tv and other web-streams.
And yeah – it’s really difficult to watch every game live (as I try to do), because 7p.m. in Michigan is 3a.m. in Moscow… So, you can only imagine how I feel the next day at work...! ))) But it’s nothing ‘cause I know that the final point – Lord Stanley’s Cup and I’m ready for sleepless nights for this main goal!
What made you decide to start blogging about the Wings?
There are some Russian message boards and guest books about NHL in general and about red Wings. But when you post there something interesting you can’t find it in two days because of tons of posts and threads… So, I think it’s a good idea to create a place where all Russian-speaking fans could find the latest Red Wings news, games previews and reviews, interesting videos, exclusive interviews with players and other stuff in Russian. And another important thing is archive – all materials are available on the blog and every one could find something in archive.
Have you ever had the chance to see them play in person?
My first meeting with Red Wing was amazing. During the World Championship 2007 in Moscow I met The Captain – Steve Y! I was really excited to see him and shake his hand, but when he agreed to answer my questions – no words to describe my feelings! So, it was my first interview and first meeting with Red Wings. After that I spoke to another legendary person – Scotty Bowman!
And this season I saw the Red Wings’ play! It was in Stockholm. Two games against Blues. Unfortunately Wings lost both of them, but all the way it was amazing. I met a lot of interesting people there – Ken Deniels, Andreas Lilja, Ken Kal and others, got a lot of autographs and the main thing – I SAW RED WINGS IN GAME! I’m going to post a big photo & video report of that trip in December at my blog – don’t forget to check it out! )))
What is your favorite hockey memory?
It’s a difficult question, because it’s almost impossible to choose one or two favorite memories. There were a lot of great games, but I think my favorite is the last game in 1997 finals against Flyers and DMac’s great one-on-one goal! Another one great memory is a story of Darren McCarty’s come back and 08’ Stanley Cup. It’s a true story for Hollywood movie! And for sure I have to say again about my meeting with Mr. Yzerman and my first visit to the Red Wings game (in Stockholm).
Who is your favorite player on the roster right now? Why?
I like old school hockey. My favorite line is Grinders Line. I like tough guys and power forwards. No doubts I like Pav, Hank, Lids, Mule and others very much, but I can name 4 favorite guys. Three of them belonged to Red Wings organization for a long time – here we go with Draper, Maltby and Osgood. And the 4th one represents the new generation of Red Wings Grinders. Ladies and gentlemen, pleeeease welcome, numbeeeeeeer fortyyyyyy threeee - Darrrrrrrrren Heeeeelm!!!)))
So, these are my favorite players of current roster, but my favorite Wings of all times – Steve Yzerman, Brendan Shanahan and the best one – Darren McCarty!
Is there anything else you’d like to add?
I’d like to say GREAT THANKS to all Red Wings Bloggers, who provided us with great articles, interesting opinions, funny jokes and a lot of very interesting information about the best team in PRO Sport - Detroit Red Wings!!!
It’s a big honor for me to become step by step a little part of Red Wings Community. Unfortunately I have no free time to translate my blog in English, but I hope it’s not a barrier to our communication! Thank you Kris for this questions, Thanks Red Wings bloggers and fans! GO WINGS!!!!!!!