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Vadim Shipachyov: "A negative experience helped me appreciate my time with SKA"

Vadim Shipachyov
HC SKA press-service

- With what emotions have you returned to Saint Petersburg?

- Of course I'm happy. It's the best option for me. I have kept an eye on SKA's matches, it's clear that the team has changed but the system here allows the club to perform well. Young players such as Mikhail Maltsev and Andrei Altybarmakyan are on the rise. In all of the leagues, the city's teams are in first place and that's great. The promises which I was given in America didn't come off, but everything works out for the best. A lot of other SKA players who are here now have gone down this route, it's probably the correct strategy. Now I know that Russian players should think ten times before leaving for abroad, it's different from what the clubs and agents tell you.

- Speak about what happened in America.

- There weren't any problems with training, I was told that they count on me. Before the season's start, I was told by the general manager that they need to send a player to the AHL, and I am that man. He said for me to help them in order to trade defensemen, and then I will make my debut. On game day, they called me to say that they didn't have time to get the business done, and that I had to play in the AHL. Face to face I was told one thing, but when it came to hockey, the story changed.

Vadim Shipachyov: "A negative experience helped me appreciate my time with SKA"

- You scored on your debut.

- We won, but the coach said that I'm not going to play a lot at the moment. I was told that everything's fine, but I'm going to be in the fourth line. I didn't need to be on the powerplay, I simply wanted to play in every game.

- You were sent to the AHL again.

- Yes, I was told to go to the AHL, but I was immediately given a transfer card. In doing so, they let me know that I need to search for a new team. I read what was being written, and I didn't understand what was happening - it was like they wanted me to cancel my contract. Vegas didn't search for other options, despite it being the better option for them. They obviously wanted me to cancel the contract and give them money. I saw that they said I didn't come to the game, even though there wasn't a morning skate. Also, I heard that if I play well in the AHL, I still won't be played in the first team. After all of this, I decided that I didn't want to be there. My agent spoke with the general manager, they agreed that we need a few days to search for a new team. Because of that, I left Chicago for Las Vegas. George McPhee didn't tell the Chicago Wolves about that discussion, so it was assumed that I left the team on purpose. In the press, there was a story that I travelled to my wife because she doesn't speak English. Where did that come from? I spoke with my family at home, and after months of uncertainty, smiles, discussions which didn't have anything to do with reality, we decided to give them money and return to Russia.

- Were there physical problems?

- The media wrote that I arrived in bad shape, but why did they draw those conclusions. I played in three games, performing well for my ten minutes ice time. The guys in the team didn't know what was going on either. The only good thing there was the group we had. There were fun guys there, but I didn't feel too positive.

- How did you leave the club?

- When I stated that I don't want to be in the NHL and I'm ready to give my bonuses, the agent phoned the club and organised everything. There were calls to the league and the players association, so the situation dragged on to this day.

- Was SKA the only option?

- I stated that when the contract is sorted, I won't speak with anyone. I want to return to SKA and play for the club with which I won two Gagarin Cups. I have only nice memories here. However, first of all, I had to speak with the board and coaches to see whether they're waiting for me. I couldn't train in Las Vegas, but I was given a chance to work out at Hockey City by SKA when arriving. I was told that the situation will be sorted out when I get the paperwork from the USA, but Vegas didn't sign the documents for a while. I knew that SKA had won 20 consecutive games and not lost in regulation for a long time. I knew that they could say: "Sorry, we don't need you," but the club helped me and I am grateful.

- Are you ready to play now?

- I have worked on the ice and in the gym with coaches. I have missed ice hockey, but I can analyse my physical shape after training with the team. When you are alone, it's hard to analyse.

- What can you take from this incident?

- I am happy to have returned, but a bit said that it turned out that way. I have only taken the puck with which I scored away from Vegas. However, even a negative experience helps you appreciate how things worked in Saint Petersburg.

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