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From Russia with Love: Kadar Q&A

Sunday, 08.7.2011 / 8:55 PM ET / Features
By Sam Kasan
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From Russia with Love: Kadar Q&A
Penguins strength and conditioning coach Mike Kadar spent two weeks in Moscow, Russia to help center Evgeni Malkin train and rehab his right knee, which suffered ligament damage in February. Kadar spoke with about his adventures in Russia.

How did the workouts and training regiment with Malkin go?
I have known ‘Geno’ for five years now and I have never seen him this committed to getting healthier and wanting to do well. It has been an eye-opener for me with his determination and work ethic. He is committed to it every day, and with no short cuts.

What is Malkin’s best physical attribute in terms of strength and conditioning?
His biggest attribute is his size and being as coordinated as he is. He’s an athlete. He excels at pretty much everything he does. His competitive nature gives him a will to want to win at everything.

Over, what is training in Russia? Is it different than training in the United States?
There aren’t a lot of differences in training in North America vs. Russia. (Malkin’s) local fitness club could use a few more up-to-date equipment or accessories that help with soft tissue work. The ice on the other hand reminds me of when I was growing up in Western Canada (Ed note: Kadar is from Red Deer, Alberta). It was very similar to skating outdoors or on the lake behind the family farm.

This being your first time in Russia, what has the experience been like?
My experience has been unbelievable. Really it has been. We have two-a-day workouts with travel and rest in between. The gym and ice aren’t around the nearest corner so the travel in downtown Moscow eats up a lot of time.

Other than training Malkin, what other things have you been doing around Moscow?
Outside of training, Geno and the Gonchars (former Penguin Sergei Gonchar) have been so hospitable. They included me in every family outing without hesitation. I had the opportunity to go to Red Square, the circus, the monastery and swimming off a yacht. If it wasn’t for them I would only see the rink, gym and hotel. I owe them a lot of gratitude. They’re truly great people.
What has surprised you most about Russia?
The beauty of the city and people. I knew it was beautiful, but until you visit you have no idea. As for the people, even if they don’t speak English they still try to help you as much as they can, very friendly. A few conversations of mine have been pretty funny with both parties walking away shaking our heads (laughs).

Have you experienced any culture shocks?
The city is about 15 million people and I swear every person owns a sports car here (laughs). Traffic jams are so bad that people put their car in park, turn off the car and go for a coffee and then come back when they think traffic is about to start moving. People are parked everywhere, even in the streets.  
 You can also flag down any car for a ride. You don’t need to get a cab. If you throw your hand out four or five cars will pull over and offer you a ride.

What was your favorite part of the trip?
All of it. Working with Geno and having the opportunity to see the city with Geno and the Gonchars. Like I said, if it wasn’t for them I would never get the backstage pass to a lot of events.

Any interesting foods that you’ve eaten?
They have some of the best food I’ve tasted. They sure like sour cream and cabbage (laughs). They have some of the healthiest foods I have tasted. A lot of places have sushi, but more have borscht!

Kadar with a Russian monk (left); Kadar and Malkin (right)

Malkin, Kadar and Gonchar (left)

Photos courtesy of Mike Kadar
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