Petrov pushing for results with Montreal

Originally published on in 2000

By Lucas Aykroyd

The Montreal Canadiens used to be known as the Flying Frenchmen. Nowadays, it’s more like the Flying Foreigners, and Oleg Petrov is part of that new tradition. The 5-9, 171-pound right wing returned to Montreal last season after three years with HC Ambri-Piotta of the Swiss League, where he won the scoring title twice. Fleet-footed and hard-working, Petrov has difficulty generating offense against big NHL defensemen, but still managed 2 goals and 26 assists in 44 games with the Habs in 1999-2000. The 29-year-old also played for the 11th-place Russian team at the World Championships in St. Petersburg. He’s on pace for similar NHL numbers this year, although his team-worst plus-minus of -13 has to be a concern heading into December under new coach Michel Therrien. EuroReport’s Lucas Aykroyd caught up with the Moscow native recently.

EuroReport: What effect has the coaching change had on the team?

Oleg Petrov: We brought up some guys from the farm team and they’ve been a big part of everything. We’re getting the group together and making some real changes and trying to play better defensively and get some scoring chances and put them in.

EuroReport: What has Michel Therrien told you about the role he wants you to play?

Petrov: Everybody’s the same on the team. All I have to do is play hard and work hard, that’s what he asks for.

EuroReport: How do you enjoy playing with Trevor Linden and Sergei Zholtok?

Petrov: Oh, for sure it’s a good experience. Linden is a great player and Sergei’s a great player, so it works very well for us.

EuroReport: With the referees calling more obstruction penalties this year, is it easier for you to get some room as a small player?

Petrov: It’s not really obstruction, it’s more slashing, so it doesn’t change much. But it’s opened up a little bit and it’s good for me.

EuroReport: How did you benefit from the three years you played in the Swiss League?

Petrov: I learned to play more defensively and got some confidence. It helped me with my game.

EuroReport: What did you enjoy most about living in Switzerland?

Petrov: It’s a beautiful country. There are no road trips. The hockey’s a little different there and the defense is different. Overall, it was a great experience for me.

EuroReport: What motivated you to come back to the NHL last season?

Petrov: It was always in the back of my mind. If I had a chance to come back in the NHL, for sure I would take the opportunity. The chance came around, so I did.

EuroReport: You were part of Team Russia at the World Championships in St. Petersburg. What went wrong for you guys there?

Petrov: It’s hard to say. I think with all the big names, we thought we were going to have some easy wins. But I guess like in any sport, you have to work hard to succeed.

EuroReport: On a different note, I hear a Montreal fan recently named his horse after you. What did you think about that?

Petrov: [laughs] That’s really funny! I can’t wait to meet this guy and meet the horse named after myself.

EuroReport: Hopefully it’s a good horse.

Petrov: Yeah, hopefully!

EuroReport: Finally, what is it going to take to get this team back into the playoff race?

Petrov: We just have to keep playing the same way we have the last three games and work hard and stay together as a team and for sure we’ll have success. Digg it Furl iFeedReaders Netscape RawSugar reddit StumbleUpon Yahoo MyWeb YardBarker

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