Alexandar Georgiev
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Alexandar Georgiev‘s impressive season backing up Henrik Lundqvist for the New York Rangers leads into his attempt to backstop Russia to gold.

Frank Curto

Alexandar Georgiev, the 23-year-old rookie goaltender of the New York Rangers, spoke with Semyon Galkevich of R-Sport as he and his Russian teammates prepare for the IIHF World Championships beginning May 10 in Slovakia.

Georgiev spoke about a variety of different topics with Galkevich: from his impressions from playing for the Russian National time for the first time to his teammates on the team along with his thoughts of playing in New York City and sharing the net with Henrik Lundqvist.

Georgiev has enjoyed his first few weeks training with the National team. He called it a “fairy tale” as he was still in awe of being invited to the team when the Rangers season ended at the beginning of April.

In 2008, Georgiev was just an admirer as he watched players like Alex Ovechkin and Ilya Kovalchuk win the World Cup. Now he’s playing alongside these NHL superstars.

Team Russia has played four games prior to the start of the WC, winning three out of the four games. He has taken off some of the nerves and begun to play better as the first game of the tournament approaches.

Of course, his number one goal is to bring home a gold medal.

Playing with the King

Georgiev was happy with the number of games he played in his first full season in New York. A record of 14-13-4 in 33 starts served as a great foundation to begin his career. He has one of the best goaltenders in the world mentoring him in Lundqvist.

Georgiev was asked about a comment made by Hank that said Georgiev had a chance to be the next “King.”

“Yes, I saw his words, it is very, very nice,” Georgiev said. “Lundqvist is a living hockey legend, and when I hear this, it motivates me even more to work hard, to get closer to the results he achieved in his career”.

Georgiev spoke highly of his partner in New York. The communication between the two has been positive which helps the two succeed in a position that has so many ups and downs.

The Russian netminder also spoke of the way Henrik looks every day. Whether it’s gameday or a practice, Georgiev is impressed with how Hank handles himself daily.

“I have long been a complete feeling that I play in a team with a movie star from Hollywood,” Georgiev told Galkevich. “Lundqvist always comes to matches in incredibly beautiful costumes, and they are all hemmed to order. Even at workouts, he always comes up very stylish: in jeans, a beautiful leather jacket. And, of course, his manners, the way he behaves. If someone wants to know how a professional athlete should behave, it is worth watching the interviews of Luckdvist, to see how he communicates with fans. They are waiting for him on the road in every city, and he never denies anyone in autographs or photographs. Henrik has a lot to learn.”

New York Rangers

Georgiev also tries to model himself after other goalies. Columbus Blue Jackets’ Sergei Bobrovsky is one goaltender he brought up. He admired the work it took for Bobrovsky to make it to the NHL. Bobrovsky, undrafted, made his way to the NHL and has also won two Vezina Trophies as the leagues best goaltender.

Former Ranger Antti Raanta is another player who has shown Alexandar the way to success in the NHL. Georgiev was asked to address the signing of fellow countrymen Igor Shesterkin. Georgiev is not too familiar with him, but recognizes he is a good goaltender.

“No, we are not familiar,” Georgiev said. “To be honest, do not think about it. He has his own career, his own way. The Rangers have drafted him, and if he wants to try, this is very commendable. Few goalkeepers take the risk and go to America from the KHL, he is good.”

The Russian goalie enjoys New York. The diversity that comes within the city is his favorite part. From ancient buildings, old historic bridges to the modern skyscrapers that overlook the city, Georgiev enjoys every bit of it.

Alexandar Georgiev will enjoy his moment to shine now with the Russian National team, then will have his sights on helping the New York Rangers find a way back into the playoffs next season.

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