16 June 2017
Let me introduce myself, Nick Bailen

Let me introduce myself, Nick Bailen

Profile of Traktor newcomer in his own words.

Nick Bailen came to KHL in 2014. He quickly became a star of the league, when he scored 37 points in his first 60-games season. Besides Nick is that very guy, around whom great atmosphere is formed Ė hardworking, persistent and at the same time joyful.

THE BEST HIGHLIGHT GOAL

Probably my first professional goal. I was playing in Finland for Tappara (2013-2014 season). It was pretty cool moment. First professional goal is something you look forward as a kid. It was an exciting one Ė a shot from a blue line. The goalie didnít see anything because of the traffic. The puck just happened to beat him.


THE GREATEST HOCKEY MOMENT

Putting on the jersey in KHL was pretty cool experience. You are playing in one of the best leagues in the world, and making a debut was cool experience. Getting out to the rink where there are a lot of fans, who are shouting really loud. I canít even remember, whether we won or lost. It was home game in Minsk with 14000 fans at home opener, so these emotions erased the memory. As for Traktor arena, from the past games I know that in Chelyabinsk has really good fans. Iím looking forward to meet them.

CRAZY OFF THE ICE STORY

When I was 15 years old I worked at a restaurant on Lake Erie in my parentsí hometown. I worked there with my brother Eric in the kitchen making food. This was summer which meant two things: nice weather and upcoming hockey tryouts. I was going to fly to Indiana to tryout in the USHL junior league. Two weeks before my flight I was working putting together a table for a customer with the boss of the restaurant. He accidentally stabbed me in the eye with a screwdriver while we were putting together the table. Because of this my father was furious with this accident. Anyways, we went to the doctor and found out there was no serious damage. I was very lucky. However my eye was filled with blood for about 2 weeks. I was partially blind and I had to wear a patch.

But the day before the first day of tryouts my vision cleared up and I was able to play hockey. When I showed up at camp I had a huge black eye. Everyone thought I was this small tough guy who loved to fight. Every ice session I was asked to fight. At the end of camp the coach and GM told me that they noticed me first because of my big black eye. I ended up making the team to start my path in hockey.

Obviously, Nick Bailen has some tough guy skills.

THE GREATEST PARTNER ON THE ICE

Paul Szczechura. He is my dad. In one interview Sandra said that Iím their adoptive son Ė and yeah, thatís me. We met in Minsk 3-4 years ago and became roommates on all away games. That time neither of us had kids, and I didnít have a girlfriend. They took me under their wing. Sandra and Paul this summer came to our house in Florida and we hung out for a while. Four of us get along really well, and itís very nice. In Minsk we played well together, Paul knows where I like to pass the puck. He knows how I move the puck in the offensive zone. We connected a lot of times when we played together. We know how each of us thinks. That is why we had success playing in Minsk, especially on power play. I hope we will have the same chemistry in Traktor.


The demonstration of Szczechura-Bailen connection.

HOCKEY ROLE MODEL

Paul Coffey. In that time of Coffey there werenít so many offensive defensemen. To attack wasnít considered to be the job of a defenseman. But he and Ray Bourque created offense from the backside, they moved the puck and created a lot of scoring chances. Now offensive minded defenseman is a widely spread phenomena. Defense is active all over the world with such examples as Erik Karlsson, John Carlson, Drew Doughty and many others. But when I was growing up none of these players was around yet. Thatís why Paul Coffey, Ray Bourque, Chris Chelios really stick out in my head. The last one was really tough. He always stood his ground, he hit guys and fought. He always stuck up for his teammates. I know his son decently well. So I met his father few times. He is a nice guy off the ice, but he is one of the hardest hockey players you could play against.

In KHL such an offensive minded d-man is Kirill Koltsov. He had a lot of success in KHL. He is constantly leading in points among defensemen. It is obviously not an easy thing to do as the league has a lot of skilled defenders, who are able to put the puck in the net or create plays. So to have such a record as Koltsovís is a pretty cool thing. He can take the game in his hands and create a goal out of nothing. He sees plays which arenít necessarily there. He has a good vision. You never know where he will appear on the ice. When we played against Koltsovís teams, it was always in the scouting report that the winger should know where Koltsov is. There was always a player who was responsible for Koltsov. He changes the game and with his movements creates some space for other players. That is something I am trying to do. Coach allows it. And I think it will be good to have two players with such a style because it makes a lot harder to defend against such team.

Traktor Press Office