Pavel Vorobiev says Blackhawks treat Russians like crap
A interview with Pavel Vorobiev appeared in Sport Express earlier today, in which Vorobiev was quoted as saying, "In America (the NHL) they don't like the Russians, and Chicago is worst of all."
Vorobiev signed with Khimik of the Russian Super League in late July, after scoring 21 points in 39 games for the Chicago Blackhawks last season.
Reuters provides this translation of the interview:
Chicago Blackhawks forward Pavel Vorobiev has accused his NHL club of bias against Russian players.
"In America, they don't like the Russians, often hate us, and Chicago is the worst club of all," the 24-year-old right wing was quoted as saying in Saturday's Sport-Express newspaper.
"When 11 Russian players showed up at Chicago's pre-season training camp last year, everyone there was in shock," he said.
"When I was leading the team in scoring at the start of last season it was irritating a lot of people in our club. They just couldn't take that a Russian would be the best. For Americans, such a thing would be absolutely unacceptable."
After spending three years in North America, Vorobiev decided to return to Russia, signing a one-year deal with Superleague club Khimik, although the Blackhawks still retain his NHL rights.
The Kazakhstan-born winger said he had a good relationship with head coach Trent Yawney but it didn't help his cause.
"He (Yawney) was under pressure from the management, and the general manager and team owners decide almost everything at the club," said Vorobiev.
"I was getting just five minutes of ice time on the fourth line and never had a chance to play on a powerplay," he added. "When our results went down, the coach started picking on the players. And of course, Vorobiev was always the worst culprit."
Vorobiev said he still hopes to play in the NHL: "I'm just hoping they (Chicago) will trade me to any other NHL team."
Here are some other statements made by Vorobiev in the Sport Express interview, which Reuters left out of their translation:
"I scored five points in four games, leading the team. Though this may sound strange, this started to cause friction, as if: can it be that our best player will be a Russian, and so young on top of that? This is not allowable by the Americans. Then in one game I didn't play very well, and all of the blame fell on me. There were four players in Chicago with two-way contracts, one Canadian, and so they made a decision which of us to send down to the minors after several losses-- of course, it was me.
"(In Chicago) they have had the same people in key positions for many years. Besides the owner and the general manager, there is one additional person whose opinion is very important. He's the one that hates Russians most of all. He shows this in the way he acts. When he went into the locker room, he was friendly with everyone except me and (Anton) Babchuck. He would greet Khabibulin, although he was the acknowledged leader of the team. For as long as this person and the owner of the team are there, nothing good awaits. The owner (Bill Wirtz) is himself already very old, and speaks and walks slowly. But he has a son, who is 40 years old. He has long asked for the father to let him take over the team, in order to make Chicago a better club again, capable of making the playoffs. However, the father, a multi-millionaire, is a terrible skinflint, who puts a stranglehold on every nickel."