Nikita Kashirsky, who has 31 points in 36 games with the Stingrays this season, unloads a third period shot in an 8-2 loss to Hershey on Saturday.
First off, Kash, how cool was it coming up to play against guys like Braden Holtby and Patrick Wellar, two of your teammates with the Rays this season? It was very exciting to see those guys play. Holtby’s doing a great job and Wellar’s doing his role, playing hard and fighting out there. It’s exciting to see them; when I came in I went to dinner with Patrick. They’re (Hershey) a great team, and I’m happy for them that they’re doing real well out there.
Tell me about coming up here and joining Manitoba. What did you think of these crowds this weekend? Well, I mean, they’re the champions. They’re a great team, and fans come out here and support them real well. They played unbelievable.
What has it been like playing alongside longtime NHL’ers Mike Keane and Mathieu Schneider?
It’s been a great experience. Those guys are great. They came up to me right away and introduced themselves. It’s been very positive. Mike, at practice, would tell me to keep shooting the puck and stuff. It’s just awesome to see those guys work hard and know the kind of experience that they bring to the locker room, and what they have to say after the game.
Did Manitoba give you an idea on how long you’d remain with the team?
They haven’t given me anything yet, but I just found out that they want to take me back to Manitoba. I’m flying to Buffalo tomorrow (Sunday), and I’m going to work on my visa for Canada.
How was your experience at this week’s ECHL All-Star Game?
It was great. It’s awesome to play with guys that are on opposite teams and see how they are. They’re great guys, and it was just a lot of fun. It was a great experience to kind of fool around out there and show what you’ve got.
How much did you miss not being in North Charleston tonight to receive your Kelly Cup ring?
I mean, it’s unbelievable to get a ring; it was a great experience to win a championship. But we all work to move up. I wouldn’t pass up the opportunity right now to play for the Moose instead of getting a ring.
How excited are you to get it, whenever that may be?
I’ll be ready, and very excited. Hopefully I get it soon.
You scored your first career AHL goal with Springfield a few weeks back. How was that feeling?
It was an unbelievable feeling to get that off my shoulders. I felt more confident out there. I gotta put one in for the Moose.
Lastly, if you do return to the Stingrays at some point how much are you looking forward to helping the team repeat as Kelly Cup champions?
I’m always excited to go back there. I love the coaches and the whole staff, and the guys are unbelievable. It’s always a nice city to go to, and a great team. I’m always happy to help them out.