KHL defenseman Alexander Guskov says his emotional return to Lokomotiv Yaroslavl has helped revitalize his career.
Guskov, 35, played for Lokomotiv from 2001 to 2004 and from 2007 to 2011 before signing with CSKA Moscow in May 2011, some four months before Lokomotiv’s entire roster perished in an air crash.
He rejoined his old team on Friday as part of a two-way trade that saw CSKA defenseman Maxim Kondratiev move to the capital.
“This is a step that has been thought through,” Guskov told R-Sport. “I weighed it all up and I’m going to Yaroslavl for a reason.”
“I can say that Lokomotiv is my native team. I love the team, the town, the supporters.”
“Just the very idea that I'd be moving to Lokomotiv gave me a second wind. I don’t know what’s going to happen, but I got additional strength out of that fact.”
Guskov, who helped Lokomotiv to Russian league titles in 2002 and 2003, wasn’t in demand at CSKA and said he saw “no reason to stay.”
“It was my initiative to transfer. I know my level, I know who I am, I respect myself and want to play where I like and where my heart is, and my heart is closer to Lokomotiv.”
Guskov also mentioned that it is a “big incentive” to be compared with the players who died in a crash.
“Nobody will ever replace the guys, but to be not worse than they were, this is a big incentive.”