SKA - CSKA. Press-conference of game seven
HC SKA head coach Roman Rotenberg:
- We started the game well today. Our task was to score in the first period, we created enough chances to do that. In the second stanza, the opponents took the initiative. Our guys gave everything on the ice, they fought hard and played for the supporters. I would like to congratulate CSKA with their victory, they showed that they are stronger at the moment. We have a young team with a big future. I express my gratitude to our players and staff members for their efforts.
- What went wrong it the second period?
- CSKA played more aggressively. We were ready for their pressing. Unfortunately, we conceded a goal, and then the second one went in. I need to see what happened for their second marker, I was told that slashing was committed against our goalkeeper. CSKA have a very experienced, powerful team, a lot of their players have Olympic medals. We had to rebuild and play without our full team in the playoffs, injuries played their role. The fact that our young players took the role as leaders shows that our system is working, it's allowing for them to develop. We want to keep this group of players together as much as possible. Furthermore, we will look to see how we can strengthen. We need to score more goals, compete with more courage and show more aggression. Our players born in 2001 and 2002 played even better than CSKA's experienced guys at times.
- Why was Emil Galimov put in the first line and Andrei Kuzmenko in the fourth?
- We wanted to make adjustments. In the series, the opponents read the plays between Anton Burdasov and Kuzmenko. Emil tried his best, but we did change the first line during the game.
- Anton Burdasov wasn't on the ice when you played 6-on-5.
- He had received an injury. I don't want to go into the details, but a lot of our players are currently carrying injuries. We missed our centre forward Joonas Kemppainen. However, we have reserves, and our squad is deep. Our young guys even surprised me in these playoffs! Zakhar Bardakov played on an equal footing with CSKA's players, notably winning faceoff draws against the likes of Sergei Andronov. This is a great sign for us concerning the future.
- Where did it go wrong for SKA in the end?
- We missed our scoring chances, committed mistakes and the opponents took advantage of our errors. We knew that CSKA can only score if we commit mistakes. We have received an important experience, but we had the chance to progress in the competition and fight for the Gagarin Cup. Our youth team will now participate in the final of the MHL Kharlamov Cup playoffs, Marat Khusnutdinov will play for the side in that series. A number of players are helping out the youth team following the completion of the VHL campaign too. We want players who are looking in the direction of North America to stay with SKA, they can become leaders with us before potentially moving abroad.
- Can we now say that the loss of Joonas Kemppainen was decisive?
- A lot of players were injured, the same can be said for Artyom Shvets-Rogovoi. Nevertheless, our guys fought hard, blocking pucks and continuing to receive injuries. You have to be strong in order to paly ice hockey. We had chances to qualify for the final, that was clear today in the first period when we were presented with a lot of opportunities. We unleashed a lot of shots and attacked hard. I would like to apologise to the fans for losing today.
- Plenty of contracts are about to expire this spring.
- We have verbal agreements. We want to keep our key players but, at the same time, we're having a generation change. All factors need to be seriously analysed. In the VHL, our leading guys were born in 2002 and 2003, and they're the best Russian players of their age group. They need to develop and gain experience. In this series, we saw that our young players can compete on an even footing with Olympic champions. This experience will make us stronger.
- Are you satisfied with your maiden campaign as a head coach?
- Our management will be the judge of that, it will analyse the work of our coaching staff. We played in the final of the Western Conference and lasted until game seven. For SKA, only first place exists, so we have to strive to win. We can improve and develop. It would be correct for us to criticise ourselves, and it's obvious that we have negative emotions after losing this match. We want to win and make our supporters happy.
- Was it a mistake by Lars Johansson for the first CSKA goal?
- It was a team mistake. We are not going to blame the goalkeeper, we win and lose together as a team. If you concede a goal, that means that an error has been committed.
- After the fifth match, SKA didn't seem to crash the net hard enough.
- Yes, we had asked the players to crash the net, shoot and force the puck in by scoring dirty goals. This is something which we will work on improving. What went wrong after game five? CSKA have a powerful team, you can see that their players are taller than ours. Unfortunately, we lost our energy and didn't press so much in the concluding two games of the series. We wanted to win in Moscow in the sixth match, and we did our best today as well. We didn't have enough strength to score the key goals in this series.
HC CSKA Moscow head coach Sergei Fyodorov:
- It was a tense series. I congratulated my players with their victory today, we managed to win the series after initially training 2-3. SKA are great opponents, they move the puck excellently and their extra passes always make the opposing team panic. They move the puck really well. As I have already said, the last game in Moscow was very important. I'm happy for my players, they showed their character in a difficult situation which we encountered for the first time this year.