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Harijs Vitolins speaks before the KHL Gagarin Cup final

Open trainingPlayoffsGagarin CupHarijs Vitolins
HC SKA press-service

- What is the most important thing when preparing for a Gagarin Cup final?

- Special teams. Metallurg are great on the powerplay, but so are we. I think that it will be a key factor. We have to be disciplined, not take penalties and rely on the goalkeeper to play well. Vasily Koshechkin and our goaltenders have been excellent during these KHL playoffs.

- Is Mikko Koskinen ready?

- Both goalkeepers are ready.

- Pavel Datsyuk is on the injury list until April 14th. Will he play in the series?

- It's hard to talk about that. We will see how he feels. He certainly won't start the series.

- Will Vyacheslav Voynov take part?

- He is still injured. His participation depends on how long the series turns out to be. We will see how his recovery process goes.

- Is it good to have such a long break in between series?

- We would have liked to start the series earlier, because the players only needed a couple of days rest. They have rested for more than a week. Nevertheless, Metallurg Magnitogorsk are in the same boat. In an ideal world, we would have won the previous 4:2 instead of 4:0, but you always want to finish series as fast as possible.

Harijs Vitolins speaks before the KHL Gagarin Cup final

- How many days off did the team receive?

- Two and a half.

- Have you thought about how to stop Jan Kovar's line with Sergei Mozyakin and Danis Zaripov?

- All training sessions are designed to help prepare for the opponents. Tomorrow, when we arrive in Magnitogorsk, we will sit down and analyse Metallurg so that the players can go to sleep before the match with fresh thoughts.

- SKA will start a series on the road for the first time.

- It's hard to say whether it's a positive thing or not. When playing at home, your fans cheer you on and you lose your heads a bit. On the road, you try to be more careful in defence.

- How have you spoken to the players after the April 3rd tragedy?

- We did everything we could. Before training, we had a minute's silence. Some of the proceeds risen from the Gagarin Cup final will go towards victims' families. Of course, it's a huge tragedy. We'll try to make the city happy again with our performances.

- Your thoughts on the NHL's decision to not travel to the Olympic Games?

- It would have been better had they decided to compete. However, we have lots of strong players in the KHL. It's extra motivation for the guys here to show what they are capable of at the World Championship and during next season. There are options.

- Ilya Vorobyov, Metallurg Magnitogorsk's head coach, works with you in the Russian national team.

- He knows our expectations. We speak a lot and work together in the national side.

- Everyone is expecting both teams to play attacking ice hockey.

- We both have strong forwards. I think that the teams will focus on attacking. There's no point in Metallurg keeping players like Sergei Mozyakin and Danis Zaripov in defence, while Vadim Shipachyov's line is better in attack. We want to win.

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