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SKA - Barys. Press-conference

Roman RotenbergBarysAlexander VolkovAlexander NikishinSKA - Barys - 050922
HC SKA press-service

HC SKA head coach Roman Rotenberg:

- I would like to congratulate everyone with our victory! Thank you to our fans for their support. It was a tough game against a strong opponent, Barys are a very organised team. We were prepared for them. The guys did a great job, they managed to break down Barys' defence. We will now prepare for the next match.

- Stepan Falkovsky's foul in the second period was the only penalty which SKA took today.

- We are trying to take mistakes out of our performances and improve our discipline. For us, even just the one penalty is too many. We want to avoid taking penalties as a consequence of our solid play. This depends on how the players work with their legs, their character and the assistance of their teammates. When we are playing 5-on-5, the opponents aren't creating any chances. Our difficulties are only arising when we're shorthanded. At our training sessions, we are working hard on our penalty-killing tactics, but we still have things to improve. Sometimes, we need to be more aggressive and go into the duels quicker.

- How is Igor Ozhiganov feeling after receiving an injury?

SKA - Barys. Press-conference

- He displayed commitment in that incident, taking the puck to his body as he blocked it across the boards. Igor showed character. All of our guys are always prepared to block pucks for the benefit of the team. Thankfully, Igor is feeling fine, even though he does have a bruise. As an assistant captain, he is showing the rest of the team how to play.

- When you were leading 2:1, did you think back to the previous game against Salavat Yulaev Ufa on Saturday?

- Each game has its own scenario. Ice hockey isn't the cinema or a theatre when you know what will happen, here you never know what to expect in the next shift. This is the advantage of sport. Today was a completely different game in terms of the opponents and their tactics. Mistakes are made in every game, but we are always trying to get rid of them. An error was committed for Barys' goal. Our goal is to play exciting ice hockey with a rock-solid defence, we're taking it step by step.

Furthermore, I would like to add that our forward Kirill Tankov received an injury today in the VHL with SKA-Neva. He had spent the entire pre-season with our team. We are happy to hear that he is now conscious again, this is vital for us. Kirill is in great shape following the pre-season, I think that this is helping him now. He received this injury as a consequence of a foul, it was a really bad situation. I think that the referees and the disciplinary body will sort it out. We haven't got a diagnosis yet, but the main thing is that he is conscious. Kirill is a hugely important player for us, we are all wishing him well and a speedy recovery. He's one of the most talented forwards in Russia. The best players receive injuries because opposing teams compete in a very physical manner against SKA, for example Matvei Michkov has already been out for two months with injury. Something needs to be done, because the line has been crossed. We need our players to develop in Russia and make the fans happy. In Canada and the USA, we can see how players of high quality need to be treated. The rules allow technical players like Artemiy Panarin and Nikita Kucherov to show their talents, whereas over here we are only moving towards this with little steps. I hope that more attention will be paid to this.

- You made a lot of changes to the line-up today.

- We play aggressive, high-energy ice hockey. It requires the players to undertake a huge amount of work, as they have to apply constant pressure on the opponents across the entirety of the ice. Just like Juventus and Liverpool, we like to always put the pressure on the opponents. Zenit Saint Petersburg are doing the same in Russia too. In order for us to achieve this, we need fresh players. We have to play at a high tempo in every shift of every game. Ahead of the next match, we will see who is best prepared. All of our players are in our group. Moreover, we have our players in the VHL and MHL who can help too, they play in accordance with the same system as our senior team.

- The next two games won't be easy at all.

- There are no easy games in the KHL! All opponents play their best ice hockey against us, we always have to be ready.

- Do you have reserves in which to feed off?

- I think that everything is going to plan so far. With the next two games in mind, we do now have time to recharge our batteries. Emotionally, this was a tough match today, as we had lost a lot of emotions in our first game on Saturday. We had to dig deep in order to find the required emotions, and we did. We had a good conversation with the guys in the dressing room. In the upcoming matches, we will compete with more emotion.

- In terms of excitement, how would you rate these two opening KHL matches?

- We are here to win. Victories give the fans a stimulus to return to the arena. A win is a celebration. We want to score more goals, and this is something which we will work on. We know how we can achieve positive results. We need fresh heads! In this game, it was difficult for us mentally, not physically. I'm sure that the Ice Palace will be full for the next two matches, we want to score more goals and play exciting ice hockey. We really appreciate our supporters.

- Given the current situation, how do you see the future of the Russian national team?

- The Red Machine National Development Program is operating. We are putting great emphasis on the development of the next generation, opening academies in Moscow and Saint Petersburg. We will also soon open one in Krasnoyarsk. Our senior national team will compete at the Channel One Cup alongside the under 25 Russian national team, Kazakhstan and Belarus, we have friendly relations with everyone. After that, we will have a tour across the regions. Last season, the stadium was sold out for our matches in Tula. We will continue developing our players. A lot of strong, talented players have stayed in Russia, guys like Michkov, Tankov and Marat Khusnutdinov. Despite only being 20 years of age, Marat is our first centre forward and one of the key players of our team. Such players will continue helping the national team develop. This is only making us stronger, it gives us an added impulse to progress. We have a very modern way of playing the game. We are constantly watching the training sessions of different teams and archives of how NHL teams train, while at the same time analysing new training exercises. We want to play aggressive, modern and goal-filled ice hockey while achieving positive results.

HC Barys Nur-Sultan head coach Andrei Skabelka:

- The first period was good, we kept the game level. In the second stanza, though, SKA outplayed us. They improved their movement and forced us to take penalties. Nevertheless, I think that we played well in defence today, they didn't have good chances to score. Our problem was that we couldn't move out effectively from defence to attack, this is the reason why we did not achieve a positive result. The guys did good work today, but it wasn't enough.

- You had good opportunities to score on the powerplay in the second period.

- We played well during that powerplay, but sometimes you need a few powerplay chances to eventually score. There were opportunities to score during our one powerplay today.

- How ready are your players for the 2022/2023 KHL campaign?

- They're well prepared. In comparison to the first game against Dinamo Minsk, we improved the quality of our performance today. I think that we will improve with every passing match.

HC SKA defenseman Alexander Nikishin:

- This is a team win. We scored our goals at the right time, and we could have registered more. We will take the positives into the next game.

- Have you adapted to Saint Petersburg yet?

- I am used to living in Moscow. Saint Petersburg is completely different, I only know the route between my home and the stadium! One positive is that I'm fully focused on ice hockey. When you are far away from your loved ones, your mind is thinking about ice hockey all of the time. Maybe this will help me.

HC SKA forward Alexander Volkov:

- It was a tough match for us. We played well, but now we have to prepare for the next game which is very serious.

- You scored twice today. Do you want to set new personal records this season?

- I want to win instead of setting personal records. This is my greatest desire. It doesn't matter who scores the goals or makes assists, it's only important that we win games.

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