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Harijs Vitolins speaks before playing Ugra

UgraHarijs VitolinsSKA - Ugra - 211117
HC SKA press-service

- Has the team recovered after the road trip?

- We'll find out this evening. Everything will depend on us and how we prepared for the match. By looking at the morning skate, it's clear that the guys are feeling positive and have good movement.

- Three matches in six days is physically difficult. Would it have been easier if the team had played in China first instead of Vladivostok?

- Not all teams can have the same schedule. Last year, we flew to China and then went to Vladivostok and Khabarovsk. We only flew there three times, while the Far Eastern teams have to constantly travel. I think that all KHL teams are in the same boat. The main thing is how focused the guys are, and how their bodies adapt.

- Who will be the goalkeeper today?

- We will give a chance to our young goaltender (Alexei Melnichuk). He played well in the Super Series, let's see how he can play at senior level.

- Vadim Shipachyov did well in his first three matches. How is he settling back into the team?

- Everything's going well, he knows all of the guys and he didn't leave for long. Probably, his emotions helped him in the first few games, so we will see how he plays now. After the game against Ugra Khanty-Mansiysk, we'll have time to work on his physical condition.

Harijs Vitolins speaks before playing Ugra

- Will Sergei Shirokov and Anton Belov be ready to play Barys and Avangard?

- I don't know about Anton Belov, but we'll look at how Sergei Shirokov feels in the coming days.

- Have you given Jarno Koskiranta a rest today?

- Yes, we will put Mikhail Maltsev and Andrei Altybarmakyan into the line-up. We'll see how they compete in senior ice hockey.

- Pavel Datsyuk isn't training. How is he?

- Doctors are looking after him, and he's keeping an eye on his physical condition. I wasn't a serious operation, but he needs time because his knee has been operated on a number of times. When we need him, he'll play.

- Ilya Kovalchuk will play in one line with Vadim Shipachyov today. Do you like how they compete together?

- Yes, but we need to see how they play together more. They took a number of points in China, meaning that we had no reason to change things.

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