Andrey Osadchenko: You recently came back from the World Juniors. How difficult it is going into this tournament as a Slovak? In all honesty, nobody really expected your team to achieve anything significant.
Martin Marincin: The Last 2 years have been tough for our team. We would lose to Switzerland and go down to play in the relegation round. But before the tournament in Calgary we worked hard at the practices and everything looked good for us.
AO: Did the tournament mean anything special to you? I mean, last year you were one of the top guys for Team Slovakia but got suspended because of illegal hit on Jason Zucker.
MM: It was a very bad hit, yes. This year I wanted to play better. I didn’t want to take bad penalties. I wanted to play a more simple game. I think I helped my team with the way I played.
AO: Did you know right away it was a bad hit or it took you some time to understand that?
MM: I didn’t want to kill the guy. Obviously enough, I’m very frustrated it turned out the way it did.
AO: You captained Team Slovakia at the U18 IIHF World Championship a few years ago. Why weren’t you a captain it in Calgary?
MM: I don’t know. I guess, it’s because most of the guys that played for Team Slovakia at this tournament played alongside each other all season long. So they had their own captain and coach wanted him to continue to be the captain. I was ok with this.
AO: Do you think because of the fact that you play junior hockey in Canada the other guys saw you as a leader even though you weren’t a captain?
MM: It’s hard to tell. Coach wanted the other guy to be a captain, that’s all I can say. It doesn’t really matter. We played as a group. We had no leader. Everybody was equal.
AO: In Canada you play in a junior league, while back home Martin Gernat, Tomas Jurco and you could have easily made the pro team of your hometown – Kosice. Do you keep in touch with HC Kosice? Do they want you back?
MM: I practiced with them last summer. They talked to me and the other guys. But we all want to play in the NHL. It’s every player’s dream. I think it’s better for us to play here.
AO: Although, in Slovakian Extraliga you would have played against grown men, while in the WHL you play against your peers.
MM: It may be better to play against older guys but I think after you were drafted it’s better to go to play in Canada or USA.
AO: Many young players in Europe simply can’t go to play major junior in Canada because of the issues with their parent club. Was Kosice ok with you leaving?
MM: Yes. Kosice is a very good team. They were ok with that. They were excited about that.
AO: Would you consider coming back to HC Kosice if it joins the KHL?
I don’t know.
AO: Last season you played one game in the AHL. What was that like?
MM: It was good for me. I got more experienced. It’s a better level than junior hockey.
AO: Martin Gernat and Tomas Jurco were also born in Kosice. Did you guys know each other growing up?
MM: Martin lived 30km away from Kosice in a town called Presov. When he started to play for HC Kosice I was already playing for junior Team Slovakia (which plays as a club in the same league). So we didn’t see much of each other.
As for Tomas Jurco, yes, we spent a lot of time together. It was good. Ever since we were kids we played on the same line. It was a lot of fun. We played on the same line on the junior team as well.
AO: Was it difficult for you to move to Canada? Prince George is so far away from your hometown.
MM: I have always dreamed to play in the NHL. I thought, it would probably be better for me to go there so I would have a better chance to make the NHL. Besides, the Oilers organization wanted me to move to Canada too.
AO: How different is Canadian West from Slovakia?
MM: Hockey is very different. Canadian hockey is more physical and the guys always crash the net. European hockey is all about combinations and passing the puck. Plus, European rinks are bigger, which is a huge difference.
As for comparing how different Prince George is from Kosice, it’s smaller. There are more houses while in Europe there are apartment buildings. There’s more stuff to do in Kosice. Taking a walk to the old town, for instance. It’s a different world.
AO: Did you know that Prince George is sometimes referred to as a criminal capital of Canada?
MM: On my third day in Prince George I went to see a movie with the guys. After the movie we walked back home and some guys started chasing us. They looked like they were in a gang. It was just like in the movies. I was really scared.
AO: Maybe you should practice some martial arts or get a firearm?
MM: (laughter) No, I just should stay away from downtown. The coach told us not to go to scary locations, so that’s what we do.
AO: Is travelling a major obstacle for you in Prince George?
MM: It’s horrible. At first it was really tough, but now I’ve gotten used to this more or less, so it’s a little better.
AO: What is your fondest memory of the Oilers camp?
MM: I played one game against the Minnesota Wild. I was in the line-up with NHLers – the real stars! It was really big for me. I enjoyed it very much. This is my biggest memory of the training camp with the Oilers.
AO: Do you understand that the Oilers are currently experiencing a lot of troubles on their blue line and they could really use a good defenseman right now? It might be you.
MM: I always follow the Oilers. I try to play the same style in the WHL as the Oilers play in the NHL. I try to do my best. Hopefully, soon I’ll be playing in the NHL.