This week I interviewed Metallurg Magnitogorsk foraward, Wojciech Wolski. He was kind enough to share his thoughts on his time in both the NHL and KHL.
After a strong junior career Wolski was drafted in the first round of the NHL draft by the Colorado Avalanche. He played in the NHL for 8 years before going overseas to play in Russia. This past season he and his teammates captured the Gargarian Cup as KHL league champions.
Josh Wahler: Congratulations on winning the Gargarian Cup this season. What was it like going the distance and what made this group special?
Wojciech Wolski: It was really tough. I think a player doesn’t really understands it until they go through it. We had a great combination of everything as well as good coaching.
JW: Having played the last few seasons in the KHL how would you compare the style of hockey to the NHL game?
WW: It’s a lot different. The big ice makes it tougher to score and teams try and clog up the neutral zone around their blue line.
JW: Over your career you’ve been a shootout specialist and hold the single season NHL record with 10 goals on 12 attempts. What’s the key to being successful at a part of the game that so many players struggle with?
WW: I think it’s important to have a few different moves that you are really comfortable with. Confidence is another thing that comes to mind. Lastly you need a little luck as well.
JW: Is there anyone you’ve played with over the years who stands out as having the biggest impact on you as a player?
WW: I really like played with Joe Sakic and Peter Forseberg.
JW: You had a phenomenal junior career capped off by being named the 2006 OHL MVP. With the recent NHL draft what advice do you have for aspiring young players?
WW: Everyone has talent at that level. It’s the extra stuff that will help you get to the next level. Make sure you are always working and trying to give yourself an edge. If you don’t do it someone else will be willing to.