Cherepanov: I Love LA (NY, Too)
Although he won't really have much of a choice as to where he ends up after the NHL Entry Draft on June 22nd, in an interview with the Russian site Чемпионат.ру, 18-year-old hotshot prospect Alexei Cherepanov said that the Kings and the Rangers made the best impression on him during his recent trip to Toronto for pre-draft testing:
"The first three days were interviews, then a day of testing, and then more inteviews", said Cherepanov. "There were two kinds of tests: the first, phychological, where we sat at the computer and answered questions. The second tests were for checking physical fitness.
"The interviews were with 20 teams, five per day. Each interview was 20 minutes. They'd ask about literally everything in the world-- your life, your parents, certainly about hockey... in great detail. 'Why did you play well at one tournament, but worse at another?' 'Which is your best side?' 'Do you prefer to score, or to set up with a pass?' 'How do you think you can help our team?' And so on.
"I would ask questions, too, like how do they relate to the young players on their team. All of them had the same answer-- 'just fine'.
"It might cost me later, if I were to say now where I would like to play, and where I wouldn't. I will say that, for who I talked to, the best was with the New York Rangers and the Los Angeles Kings."
Cherepanov, with Omsk last season
Meanwhile, Crazy Uncle Larry in the NY Post is floating the rumor that the Rangers may trade up to the third spot with old pal Don Maloney and the Phoenix Coyotes, in order to get Cherepanov.
Of course, that Cherepanov may fall in the draft anyway-- because of the lack of a player transfer agreement in place between Russia and the NHL-- is a real possibility.