Taking Liberties With … Nikita Zadorov
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Position: Defenseman, Colorado Avalanche
Hometown: Moscow, Russia
Height/Weight: 6-foot-5, 220 pounds
Last Amateur Team: London Knights (OHL)
Acquired: Trade with Buffalo Sabres on June 26, 2015
Drafted: Buffalo’s first-round pick (16th overall) in 2013 NHL Entry Draft
Colorado Rubber: How do we pronounce your name? ZAD-or-off or Za-DOR-off?
Nikita Zadorov: Za-DOR-off.
CR: Do your teammates and coaches call you ‘Zads’ or ‘Z?’
NZ: Both work, but mostly ‘Z.’
CR: What is your favorite sport outside of hockey?
NZ: Soccer. It’s the biggest sport in the world.
CR: What is your game-day routine and your go-to pre-game meal?
NZ: My pre-game meal is pasta with pesto sauce and two pieces of grilled salmon. Game-day routine – I put left skate on, always first. It gets pretty typical after that. Tape sticks. Get warmed up. Get stretched out. Make the drinks. Always the same.
CR: What’s your favorite restaurant in Denver and what are you ordering off the menu?
NZ: I like Ocean Prime (Larimer Square) and Edge in the Four Seasons hotel. I usually order a steak.
CR: What is your favorite vacation spot?
NZ: Maldives, the country in the middle of the Indian Ocean. Each island has a nice hotel. Really expensive, nice. (Zadorov and his wife were vacationing there when he was traded to Colorado.)
CR: What is your best hockey memory before playing in the NHL?
NZ: Winning the OHL championship in 2013. We won the championship in my first year and went to the Memorial Cup and the second year we hosted the Memorial Cup 2014. The Memorial Cups were fun, but we didn’t win them. The OHL championship was more fun.
CR: Who was the player you most idolized growing up?
NZ: I think it was Steve Yzerman (Detroit Red Wings), but when I was older, is was Erik Karlsson (Ottawa Senators).
CR: If you weren’t playing pro hockey, what would you be doing?
NZ: Too many options at my age (laughs). But I would like to have a restaurant, maybe be a manager at a restaurant – a nice restaurant. I like food.
CR: In your eyes, what is the most challenging part of playing in the NHL?
NZ: You have to be focused all 82 games. It’s very hard to be ready for every game and have lots of energy and fire and ice all the time. I hope to do that this year.
Photo/Michael Martin/Colorado Avalanche
— Compiled by Mike Chambers