Dmytro Timashov, or Dima as he's known, talked with Ronnie Rönnkvist of HockeySverige.se.
He was asked about his experiences getting some noteriety in the WJC and how that's affected his life. He said he didn't think much about media attention before the WJC, but after it wasn't something that disturbed him. [All translations are a joint effort between Google and me.]
I appreciate it and it's fun to be the in the media and get attention. I think that most hockey players do.
The reporter can be forgiven for thinking no Leafs fans were aware of Timashov before the tournament in Finland. Not everyone had a passionate and relentless Timashov fan in their midst. Some of us had to settle for a slightly more grounded, but still hopeful analysis.
Once the WJC got all the Toronto fans and media noticing Timashov, he noticed some things back.
World Juniors is obviously now a major event in Sweden, but it can not really be compared with the interest there is for the tournament in Canada.
Although the tournament was played in Finland, there was a lot of media in there. I did get to hear a bit, that it was not so good for Canada, and some such. There were also questions about how it was to play against Canada.
Now when I came to Toronto, I was asked a lot about the WJC, how it affected last season and if it will affect my next season.
Timashov, meanwhile was more interested in how his performance affected the Leafs organization's perception of him. When asked about the tournament's effects, he said:
Fairly positive I think, and I may gain more confidence of Toronto thanks to the tournament. They may look at me as a player in a different way because they might have seen and know a little more about me now. I experience it only as positive.
He admits that he knew he was being traded to the Shawinigan Cataractes before the WJC took place, but he considered the move a positive one for his development.
It was good that I moved, as it was the second season that I was about to go far in the playoffs and had to play the final.
It is a good experience to get to play two finals in a row and be involved in two long playoffs. The first season, it was also around 100 games with the Memorial Cup included. It develops through to get to play a lot games. It was a good step I took, otherwise I would have gone out in the first round.
He also talks about his new coach and how much he benefited from his approach:
" Above all, I had a good coach ( Claude Bouchard ). He changed my game a little bit so I would fit in better in the team. He was more strict on the game concept, to follow his plan and play on his position a bit more. This helped me a lot because I'm the kind of player that tends to be a bit all over the place," laughing Timashov continues: "I saved more of my energy, played my position and some other small things helped me to a good playoffs. Then I had great teammates and played in a good line."
Back on the topic of Toronto fans and media, Timashov noticed something at the recent development camp: we're a bit intense.
Interest in the camp in hockey mad Toronto was almost crazy big.
"We played a scrimmage one and half hours from Toronto somewhere. 4000 spectators came, and yet we only played against each other. That's how much interest there is, and Toronto is one of the major organizations and with the most fans in all of Canada."
"TV was there, TSN ... All radio stations ... It was rocking."
And just like in somewhere near Toronto, when the questions start, one name comes up: Auston Matthews.
"I played in the same scrimmage group, but also lived with him. It was fun to get to know him a little. He is quite good-natured, a little reclusive but a really good guy, actually. "
"I'd say he's good at everything out there on the ice. He is all-round, big, fast, explosive, good technique and good hockey sense. It may also be why he was "first overall" in the draft," says Timashov with a smile.
Except this conversation was in Sweden, so another name came up too: William Nylander. When asked about Nylander, Matthews and Mitch Marner being ahead of him on the depth chart, he talked about how he sees them and his own goals.
To get there, drive on, show up and try to be better than them, which is the goal. They are the ones I compete with, so I'll try to do everything a little better than them. It's just to work on.
Of course the goal must be to play in the NHL, but you never know when I will get there. I'll try to be as good as possible in the AHL. and then maybe play a few games in the NHL after Christmas. We will see how it goes.
And lastly on his feelings about belonging to the Toronto team and being a Leaf:
"It's wonderful, fun as hell. There is a lot of media, and while there is a lot of pressure on us players, one must learn to deal with that too. It will be fun and Toronto's organization is first class," says the 19-year-old with a big smile, and he concludes our interview by talking about how his summer looks ahead: "I'll train here in Sweden and be with the family as much as possible. I may decide a little myself when I want to go over, but I think it will be in two weeks or something."
We'll be waiting, a little self-obsessed and hockey mad enough a Swede finds us remarkable, but ready to enjoy another young and exciting Leafs prospect. Timashov, I think we can assume, will be smiling all the way.