Slava Voynov… The LA Kings Savior?

Slava Voynov in LA (photo: C. Ikiri)

With Slava Voynov and Andrei Loktionov back in town this week, it was time to brush up on my Russian translation skills.

I called up old friend Alexander Frolov first, but his number had been changed. When I dialed up Vitali Yachmenev next, he just wanted to talk about playing with Gretzky at the Forum – so he wasn’t much help.

Alex Zhitnik was worth a shot, but I couldn’t understand a thing he said. So, finally, I called up Kelly Hrudey. He doesn’t speak Russian, however he always takes my calls.

Although none of the above really happened yesterday, the following did take place…

After practice, I tried to ask Voynov a few questions. It wasn’t the thick Russian accent or basic level English that gave me the most trouble though – it was trying to understand what he was saying while smiling from ear to ear. I’m really not sure who was happier, Voynov or Loktionov. They both were smiling so much it was starting to freak me out.

Here’s some crib notes from our chat:

– He actually practiced with the Monarchs on Monday, then was told he’d been called up. It wasn’t long before he was at the airport and headed to LA.

– It took him a few games with the Monarchs ‘to find his game’ after being sent down. He also ‘had a little bad luck’ (with the puck). But, he was happy to score a goal in last Saturday’s Monarchs victory.

– He had been paired with Jake Muzzin in Manchester. “He has nice passes all the time. He finds me on the power play,” said Voynov in near perfect English.

– On playing with Willie Mitchell in LA and any similarities to Muzzin – “I think they’re similar, just Muzzin is a little more offensively (minded). I like the way Willie plays defense.”

– On what Kings management told him when he was sent back down recently – “Murray and Lombardi said I can play in the NHL. I’m good now, they just don’t have a roster spot (for me). After the game in Dallas, Murray said I can score goals too.”

– Voynov was in LA for the Kings Halloween party, something he described like this – “When I go to Willie’s house, I see clown and I can’t understand ‘Who’s that?’ I didn’t find out until the next day (it was Simon Gagne).”

As if a conversation with Voynov isn’t challenging enough due to the language barrier, at this point, Loktionov starts chriping from two stalls away – “He wasn’t at our party (in Manchester) because he’s not a team player.” Then, the two of them start laughing at each other and speaking words that I don’t know.

– Oh, and what did Voynov go to the party dressed as? “I went as Jesus,” said Voynov.

Interesting.

To see pictures from the party and read some of the player’s thoughts on the costumes their teammates chose, click here.

If you’d rather read more about Voynov and Loktionov getting called up this week, click here for post-practice comments from coach Murray.

The Mayor
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