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SKA - Lokomotiv. Press-conference

Roman RotenbergInterviewPress-conferenceLokomotivVladislav PodyapolskyNikita PopugayevSKA - Lokomotiv - 241122
HC SKA press-service

HC SKA head coach Roman Rotenberg:

- I would like to thank the fans for their fantastic support. We had lost a lot of emotions when playing CSKA Moscow, but our guys showed determination and character. We were lacking the required freshness to score. Lokomotiv are a well-drilled side, they were solid in defence and their goalkeeper was excellent. We will analyse what happened.

- What happened for their goal in overtime?

- Ice hockey is a game of mistakes. After becoming ill during our road trip, a lot of our players are ill. Nevertheless, despite that issue, all of the guys are showing their character and desire. We will avoid such mistakes in the future.

- How can you break down such a well-organised defence?

- You have to shoot more and not make unnecessary passes. Daniil Isaev was great in their net, he's an aggressive goalkeeper who likes to skate off his line to narrow the angle. We needed to score more goals from the crease today. When we dominated during the third period, we really should have capitalised on our scoring opportunities.

SKA - Lokomotiv. Press-conference

- Did Nikita Kamalov miss this game because of his injury sustained againstCSKA?

- Everyone is playing to the limit. All teams have either injured or ill players at the moment. When someone can't play, the replacement player must take advantage of his chance. We're satisfied with our performance today, we were organised and didn't make any defensive errors. There won't be 3-on-3 overtime when the playoffs begin.

- What is the decisive factor in overtime? The players' quality or coincidences?

- Players' quality. You must be able to put clever plays together with your teammates while protecting possession at the same time. If you take a shot when playing 3-on-3, you have to be certain that you're going to score. Otherwise, you are simply gifting the opposition the puck. We can't explain what happened for Lokomotiv's goal in the extra frame when one of their sticks snapped in half, but these things happen sometimes. We also have to point out that our goalkeeper didn't have any shots to save during the third frame. We will now focus on Saturday's vital match in Nizhny Novgorod.

- SKA are often firmly on the front foot during the closing stages of games.

- We are working on this daily. A lot of our players are now coming back from the sidelines, for example Zakhar Bardakov played really well in these two home matches. More players will return for our next match too.

- SKA were excellent on the PK, but when on the powerplay, your players seem to use an individual approach instead of playing for the team.

- We will analyse our powerplay. Instead of passing too often, we must start shooting more and blocking the goaltender's view. All aspects of the game require improvement, we have a lot of work ahead of us. In this match, we should have decided the outcome in the first period instead of leaving it to the third.

- What can you say about Vladislav Podyapolsky's display in net?

- We're satisfied with all of our players. Vladislav was solid in our goal, and he made some difficult saves in overtime after having very little work to do in the third stanza. It's always really tough for the goalkeeper when an opponent skates clean through 1-on-1. We must help the goaltender more often, especially in our next match.

HC Lokomotiv Yaroslavl head coach Igor Nikitin:

- It was a tough match, both teams had chances to win. Luck was on our side in overtime. Our guys did a good job, they created opportunities to score and competed with patience.

- This was your fourth match against SKA this season. Given the fact that you both know each other well, did your preparations for the game change?

- Our coaches have their own areas of responsibility, some study the opponents while others pay attention to how we are playing. Taking into account the difficult schedule, I don't think that our guys are thinking about how many times we've played SKA already. We played against Sochi on Tuesday, and we will now host Novosibirsk on Saturday.

- All of your teams always play defensive ice hockey. Don't you want to try something new?

- Are you a journalist? Don't you want to try something new?

- Well, you are always using the same style wherever you work.

- In the NHL, I have never heard a specialist or a journalist say that they don't like how a particular team plays. Instead, they simply analyse why a team is winning or losing. Our president once said the following: "If you like it or not, put up with it, my beauty."

- I was asking about whether you have considered playing in a different style.

- I asked my guys whether they want to win or play beautifully. They said that they want to win. This is a philosophical issue, something which we can talk about for ages. Even if a team plays beautiful ice hockey, the fans won't go to the stadium if it loses all of the time. The result is the main thing. This can be said about life in general, not just sport. Life is pragmatic, and ice hockey is no exception.

- Your powerplay didn't work overly well.

- Yes, our third powerplay attempt wasn't great, but we had chances to score during the second. At times, when you only think about the result, you can find it difficult to improvise.

- Rushan Rafikov was always in your first line last season, but this year we are often seeing him in the second and third lines.

- The most important thing is how long he spends on the ice, not what line he's playing in. Rushan is always on the ice during the decisive moments of matches. In overtime, his stick broke in half, but the opponents committed a mistake with the puck and we ended up scoring.

- Daniil Isaev is playing a lot more than Ivan Bocharov in your net.

- At the moment, Ivan is focused on his work and on improving certain aspects of his game. He needs more foundations in order to turn around his situation. We believe that we can help Ivan get back to his best, right now he's just lacking consistency. We're working on this.

HC SKA goalkeeper Vladislav Podyapolsky:

- It was a good battle out there. I would like to thank my teammates for blocking a lot of pucks, they put their bodies on the line. It's a shame that we didn't win, but never mind, we will continue working hard.

- Could you have saved Lokomotiv's equaliser? One of their players deflected the puck right in front of you.

- Yes, there is always something a goalkeeper can do. The Lokomotiv deflected the puck well.

- You didn't have many saves to make in the third period. When you played for Severstal Cherepovets, did you have any situations like that?

- Ice hockey is the same everywhere. There were more shots to save when I played for Severstal, but I have plenty of work to do here too. I was ready in the third frame, even if Lokomotiv's didn't attack regularly.

HC SKA forward Nikita Popugayev:

- I enjoyed the match, both teams fought hard. We could have won the game in the third period, we outshot Lokomotiv 11-5. We have to start using our scoring chances.

- When you signed a tryout contract with Sochi in the summer, could you have imagined that you would soon join SKA?

- No, I didn't think about that. Back then, I was simply focused on proving my worth and earning a full-time contract with Sochi.

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