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Harijs Vitolins speaks before playing Neftekhimik

NeftekhimikHarijs VitolinsSKA - Neftekhimik - 171017
HC SKA press-service

- How does the team feel after losing to Ak Bars?

- We analysed our mistakes, everyone is in a positive mood.

- Will SKA lose to teams from Tatarstan again?

- No, but we need to improve our performance level a bit. It was a good game on Sunday, the ice hockey was fast and dynamic.

- Are you lacking such matches?

- We did at the start of the season, the results came easy. However, when it's a tense match, any mistake can decide the outcome. We need more of those games.

- Have you made any changes to the training process?

- This is our fifth consecutive game without any rest, so we haven't had a chance to make any changes. The guys have been working constantly for the past ten days. At the moment, we can only show them where they made mistakes and help them physically. We'll look at tactical issues before the match against Jokerit.

Harijs Vitolins speaks before playing Neftekhimik

- Pavel Datsyuk and Nikita Gusev seem to be in the third line, while Nikolai Prokhorkin is in the first.

- This is to give the team fresh blood. The season is long, you can never tell who will get injured. These situations give us a chance to see what would happen if a certain player received an injury. It's good for the guys to play in different lines, they can discuss tactics on the bench or in the dressing room. It doesn't mean that these lines will stay together for the next match though.

- In the previous game, Igor Shestyorkin replaced Mikko Koskinen at the last minute. Which goalkeeper will play against Neftekhimik?

- Igor Shestyorkin. He was due to start against Ak Bars, but we gave the wrong protocol before the match. We managed to change it, but the original protocol was published.

- Will Yegor Yakovlev be ready to play Jokerit?

- He wants to get playing again. However, because the matches are so intense at the moment, he hasn't taken part in a full training session this week. There will be a three day break before playing Jokerit, so let's see what happens.

- Neftekhimik lost to Ugra, but they beat Avangard Omsk?

- Their recent matches have shown that they are a mobile, aggressive team. We know that Andrei Nazarov's tactic is to play aggressively in both zones. We need to be ready for that.

- Before this match, Andrei Nazarov said that a team of VHL level is travelling to Saint Petersburg.

- Everyone can say that. We are preparing for a game against a serious opponent, we need to improve in front of our fans.

- Did you see Vadim Shipachyov's NHL debut?

- I saw bits of the game. It's good that he played well after such a long break. I don't know whether he trained or not. It means a lot to score in your first appearance. I think that Vadim can play even better, he can make the coaches trust him. I wish him to have a successful season and to score goals like he did for SKA.

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