Russian forward Ivan Nikolishin just finished competing for his country at the Ivan Hlinka Memorial Cup, where the Russians finished fourth. Hockey’s Future did an English interview on video with Nikolishin in which he confirms himself that he’s coming to training camp here in Everett.
First off, as a reporter, I’m thrilled that Nikolishin speaks fluent English, as that will make my job easier. That will also make his transition to the North American game infinitely easier. It’s no coincidence that the European players who could communicate with their coaches and players (like Radko Gudas) fared much better than those who couldn’t (like Vladimir Dolnik). It’ll make things smoother for Nikolishin both on and off the ice.
Both of Everett’s import draft picks played at the Hlinka tournament. Nikolishin, a second rounder, finished with three assists in five games. Finnish forward Waltteri Hopponen, Everett’s first rounder, had two goals in four games for the Finns, who finished fifth. Everett will only be able to keep three of Nikolishin, Hopponen and returning Swiss defenseman Mirco Mueller, so from a statistical standpoint it seems neither Nikolishin nor Hopponen separated themselves from one another.