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Roman Rotenberg speaks after beating Kunlun Red Star in Mytishchi

Roman RotenbergInterviewPress-conferenceKunlun Red StarKunlun RS - SKA - 220922
HC SKA press-service

HC SKA head coach Roman Rotenberg:

- We had prepared seriously for this match, analysing Kunlun Red Star's match against CSKA Moscow and looking at their weaknesses. Kunlun are a strong team, they play with commitment and character. Given that they have Canadian players and coaches, they compete in a North American manner. Our guys did a good job, they followed the game plan, showed their character and played for each other. We will work on not taking so many penalties. On the other hand, Nikita Komarov did really well playing in defence and scoring a goal too. We will prepare for the next game.

- Nine months ago, you made your debut as SKA head coach against these same opponents in Mytishchi. Did you have special emotions?

- Each game contains new emotions, it's like a film with an unpredictable scenario. We knew that it would be tough today, the ice is bigger so we had to move more. Furthermore, there weren't as many fans inside the arena as we are used to, so it was tougher to find the required emotions. Nevertheless, our travelling fans at the stadium gave us emotions thanks to their fantastic support!

Roman Rotenberg speaks after beating Kunlun Red Star in Mytishchi

- SKA dominated across the first two periods. How many days off had you given your players after the recent long series of games?

- We don't want to reveal the details of how we work. We have 59 matches ahead of us, the regular season is long. It's vital for us that the guys managed to recover, we gave them as many days off as possible. However, we have a very important game coming up on Saturday, so we can't give them any more days off yet.

- Dmitry Nikolaev is playing in all of SKA's matches at the moment as a result of Alexander Samonov's injury. How is he coping with the challenge?

- Dmitry had long been preparing for this. It was his dream to play for the senior SKA team. Dmitry is a guy from Leningrad Region who had been striving for this across his whole life so far, he became a goalkeeper after joining the SKA system when eight years of age. Before he came to us, he was a forward for Spartak Saint Petersburg. He is 100% ready for this opportunity, we are working in order to make sure that he is in excellent shape. I am happy with how we are working as a team. Today, one of our defensemen couldn't play, therefore Komarov played in defence and was solid. Competition is the route to progress. Goalkeeper Maxim Sidorov had never played in the KHL before today, but he played in the third period and we won the match.

- Why didn't Andrei Pedan play? He was in the line-up.

- Andrei couldn't play today, but I am confident that he will play in the next game.

- Roman Rukavishnikov made his maiden appearance of the season. What did you make of his performance?

- He had played in pre-season. We know Roman well, he had previously played for SKA. He contributed to our victory today. We are counting on all of our players, the season is long and we need everybody on board. Every game is a different story. Nonetheless, we have to improve our discipline, we took far too many penalties in this match. We cannot back down to the provocation, the opponents play in a Canadian style and provoked us. We scored our goals because we crashed the net.

- Are you disappointed that SKA conceded a shorthanded goal for the first time this season?

- We aren't paying attention to the statistics, although they don't lie. This is a signal that we need to work harder.

- Sidorov conceded two goals in SKA's net after entering the game in the third frame. Do you regret making that decision?

- No. The learning process allows you to be better prepared for the fight. We need to count on all of our players, this is a crucial stage for us. For the conceded goals, we have to look at who let the opponents shoot on goal.

- You are the coach of the new Russia U25 team. What can the fans expect to see?

- We want to develop the many talented players we have in Russia. SKA have a lot of players who could have gone to North America, I know that their agents are constantly receiving phone calls. The Russia U25 project is another avenue in which for them to develop. We're creating our system for useage across several years. If we take today's game, then we can say that even this was a useful international experience for us. Apart from Dmitry Kostenko who scored, all of Kunlun's players are from North America. They are strong players with experience of playing in the AHL. When we return to the international scene and tournaments like the World Championship, the Olympic Games and the World Cup, we must be ready and prepared to beat the likes of Finland, Sweden, America and Canada. I am grateful for the faith being shown in me. The Channel One Cup will be the first step for us, and I want to make the fans happy with exciting ice hockey, lots of goals, watertight defensive play and assistance for the goalkeeper. I'm confident that this will help the players who have stayed in Russia to develop. When they're ready to play in Colorado's first line and win the NHL Stanley Cup, then yes, we'll let them go, but not if they are just going to tour places like Arizona by bus. It's better to travel to Mytishchi and Nizhnekamsk to play ice hockey!

- When will teenage forward Dmitry Buchelnikov return?

- He is on the way back. Dmitry needed time to recover after playing in a lot of physically demanding matches, but we will soon see him on the ice again. He is working hard and developing well.

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