- If the game order were to be reversed, Ulyanovsk would have followed by Arkhangelsk, would it have affected positively on the team performance?
I can't say exactly what would have happened. For us, the time factor was the issue. This time around the flight to Moscow was rather weary. We lucked out to stay there overnight. Yet, the weather in Arkhangelsk was surprisingly good for bandy! The night before temperature went below the freezing point to make up for the warm and sunny days lingering prior to the date.
- Had you prepared for the game against Arkhangelsk Vodnik in a special way?
For sure. We had done our best to go into the game on the roll. We had isolated out the match as of high priority and we expected a fierce resistance. Vodnik have changed drastically in both: the quality of playing, so in the team composition. A year ago they played the first attack tempo only, now they are well capable of multi-echelon advancements. It causes difficulties to their opponents. Their game in Krasnoyarsk was a good example. So, we went down to nitpicking detail about our performance and carried through all we planned. We could have played even better, but what was holding us off was emotional overflow.
By the way, emotions were what we were missing and needing in that game in Ulyanovsk, especially in early going. I am not making excuses, there s no need about it. We have won the game. Period. What is important now is to have a steady run in the championship, gaining points - we are on it, although it's easier said than done under current circumstance.
- Five of the SKA players have been called up to play for the both of National teams. They will come back home only one day before the next regular game. What will you do about it?
We don't have much of a choice. The guys are flying back on December 24, taking as good rest as it gets to join the squad. Yes, we are glad our teammates being summoned to participate in the internationals. It's working for our image, as the team, so our hometown. One thing I am worried about is that our players are slightly exhausted and there are still many games to play both domestically and internationally. I want our National Team coaching staff to take this fact into consideration. Some of them are injured and I don't want to see them come back even in worse shape.
- Some of our fans seem to be very demanding!? They demand perfectly executed games with happy ending on every occasion. How would you respond to such a claim?
One thing to clarify. All our fans must understand that we play against the teams and individuals that are as high motivated as we are. They are very self-regarding, united by a common goal. Their coaches are very elaborate and hard working. We all want to win, but in a real life situation always winning is a hard nut to crack. Some wins come easy, others are arduous and strenuous. Thank god, we have been tending to win so far. In the situation like this, one should neither underestimate them, nor exaggerate their significance. Your approach must be level-headed and cold-blooded, if you please. Our team's game has been transformed due to many players leaving the squad having turned down the offers to continue with no proper replacement. With two key players having dropped out the tactics change overwhelmingly, with three backbone ones out of the roster it may be a brand new play. We managed to keep the starter-players to fill in a starting lineup, but it's way not enough! For the most part, these are attacking players, but we are facing serious problems in defense and along the boards. There's no replacement for Viktor Kamenev, he plays every single game. Even what we got we can't use in full due to numerous injuries. Yuriy Shardakov had to miss out a couple of recent games. In a regular championship vernacular, we say "accumulated fatigue", it's when it transfers from one game to another one.....and the old injuries flaring up. It all makes my guys spend overtime on the ice, maybe not always in the most spectacular way. I beg for understanding with our good fans.