Welcome To The Russian Dog Rodeo

While it sucks that Viktor Tikhonov wasn’t up with the Coyotes last season, in retrospect, thank God Teek was in San Antonio, because SOMEONE had to translate for Maxim.  It’s like a blessing and a curse for Teek to speak fluent Russian and English.  His rookie year in Phx, he was roommates with and personal translator for Enver Lisin.  Now, he serves the same purpose with Goncharov.

Максим Гончаров

We drafted Maxim 123rd overall in the 2007 draft, which is the same year we took Turris and Nick Ross in the first round and Brett MacLean in the second.  Max is already 22 and his body looks it.  He’s not only big, he’s broad.  I wouldn’t enjoy that check (and you know I love almost all Czechs ;) ).

In 2007, Max won Gold with Russia at the U18 Championships and in 2009, he won Bronze at the World Juniors.

With his Russian team, CKSA Moscow, Maxim averaged about 6 goals and 10 assists in about 50 games.  Last season, he decided to come to North America and take a run at making the team.  In rookie camp, Maxim and Oliver Ekman-Larsson really stood out against the other players.  When the NHL players came back, Maxim had some difficulty with the speed of the game and ended up being among the last cut and sent to the AHL.

Smiley Gonch

With the Rampage, Max played in 61 games, notching 6 goals and 9 assists…… along with 65 penalty minutes.  It was a big year of growth for Maxim, where he not only had to adapt to the North American physical style of play, but also to a new culture and a language barely speaks (once again, Thank God for Teek).

Go Gonch Go!

My lovely Rampage insider had a couple cute stories that show a bit of Gonch’s funny personality:

 I had Teek and Goncharov in front of the camera asking what they thought of everything. Matt Climie was standing next to me, watching the whole thing over my shoulder and asking his own questions (“Hey Teek, did you get that belt buckle here at the Rodeo?”). So I ask the simple question:
“Do you have anything in Russia like this?”
Teek: “No, not anything like this.”
Gonch: “The dogs!”
Teek: (while smiling and nodding) “Oh yeah!”
Gonch: mumbling about the dogs

Gonch loves the dog rodeo?

Maxim was usually quiet, letting the other guys do most of his talking for him. Although, some of his wardrobe choices did some of it for him (case: the cooking class and his Pirate “Surrender The Booty” shirt) Teek usually wasn’t too far away to help out.
The cutest story of Goncharov is from the cooking class where I got the picture of him in the chef hat. Teek had volunteered him to go in front of the room (filled with Summers, Stone, Watkins, Matt Climie, Pete MacArthur, Jonas Anhelov, Josh Lunden) to demonstrate some cooking technique. So he does, the guys laughed at him for not washing his hands before starting, he looks around wide eyed, washes his hands, finishes the demonstration and starts to head back to his seat. At this point, one of the chefs in the classroom observing gives him a chef hat. He puts it on and gives that goofy thumbs up to Teek. I see it, put my camera up to my face and he just shook his head. Teek says “Hey man, she wants a picture!” So he stands up, puts the hat back on and posed for the picture. I’m sitting in between Teek and our PR manager who were both chuckling pretty hard.

And here is the result.

It’s always hard for the kids from other cultures to come in, but he seems willing to stick it out.

So, little known fact, Maxim is super tight with Nikita Filatov, another Russian NHL player who is now on the Senators.  Here’s a vid of them karting in Russia:

He really does love the thumbs up. HE'S THUMB TWINSIES WITH LESLEY!

Overall, Max has a hard shot, is a good skater, and just needs time to adapt to the game.  He’s got a lot to deal with and controlling his temper is also key.  He’s a tough customer and will lay a big hit if it’s available.  There will be tough competition for NHL jobs in a year or two with Max, Stone, and Summers.

Nikita & Maxim

Max with Teeks and the kids they were paired up with from the children's hospital

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