CSKA – Lokomotiv. Post-match press conference

CSKA – Lokomotiv. Post-match press conference

Comments from the teams' head coaches after the second game of the Western Conference quarterfinal series 2021/22 between CSKA and Lokomotiv.

Sergey Fedorov, head coach of CSKA:

– A tense match. Both teams played very tightly, especially in the middle zone and their defensive zone. We didn't manage to score first, which will be important in the next match. I'm glad for the guys that we scored a goal almost immediately after we conceded. The second was not our best period, but we survived. We found opportunities to score in the third. But this game was a little different for us in terms of rhythm and interaction in threes. But the guys are great. We will continue to work.

– Abramov, Mingachev and Grigorenko played alternately with Vallmark and Nordström. A few words about it?

– The first game was played with overtime. The second game wasn't exactly smooth either, everyone played in rhythm and tried different combinations, but I can't help but say that we were probably looking for new combinations just in those moments when we weren't happy with something. We wanted to cheer up the guys a little. Show that we are behind at some point, in movement with and without the puck.

– The game raises questions in the majority. What is the reason for the low implementation?

– Every match is worth its weight in gold. We are playing against a well-organized opponent who knows how to play defensively. They have good movement in the minority. We have certain problems in movement with the puck and interaction between players, I understand that we have reserves and can play better in this component.

– Despite some mistakes, don't you think that the score in the series is 2-0 and you could be more smiling?

– You know, everything is important in the playoffs. Probably, an ordinary fan does not really understand what we are talking about here. We are a professional team and have to take into account certain nuances, because we finished the season well in terms of the majority. But after a long break, when half of the team was playing at the Olympics and the other half was preparing here, it's still a serious question for us.

– How would you rate Plotnikov's game today? You admit that he wasn't as hollowed out after the Olympics as some of the other players?

– Sergey is well done. I think he's doing his best to play the three and is in the right place at the right time. I'm not afraid to brag guys. We shouldn't forget that it's a team sport, it's triples and twos of defenders. And Sergey is doing a lot of work in this troika.

Igor Nikitin, Head coach of Lokomotiv:

– An offensive defeat is not on the score, but on the game. But nothing – the series continues, we are preparing. 

– Two games went by and again in the second half of the third period the team is hooked and CSKA owns the territorial advantage. Is it more about the physical preparation of your team or about psychology?

– I don't think we have a problem with physical fitness or with psychology. We lose moments. An experienced team uses it. We will be more experienced, we will learn from this.

– At the expense of what it is possible to start defeating CSKA?

– The component here is simple: you have to score there, and you have to keep the courts out. That's all. 

– Didn't it seem to you that Pasquale doesn't quite help out?

– That now to pour salt on the wound. We are a team, so it's wrong to blame the problem on one player. You have to score, it's just as much a problem of strikers as it is of goalkeepers and defenders. But, unfortunately, so far. There is nothing terrible here. Let it be an experience for us.

– Did you mean Polunin's moment at the end of the second period?

– There were enough such moments. The most important thing is that we create these moments. What's there to tell – the score is on the scoreboard.

– You have a joker Tyutnev, he scored for CSKA a year ago. Isn't he going to relieve the fourth line?

– We can't look at the statistics and put in the fourth squad. The guys were preparing for the series, working with the team. First of all, you should always give people a chance, but today the game did not work out for someone. There will be another chance in a day.

– Hot off the bat, do you already see in which lines you need to reshuffle before the next match?

– Permutations are suggested when the game is not going. But I won't say that we have a problem with the game. Therefore, why pull once again. Not the opponent to experiment in this. In the third period we tried and got a goal. In hockey, you need to think intuitively. It didn't work out today.

– Last year, a great troika of Belyaev – Ilyenko – Ivanov played against you. They scored and closed the leaders. Why didn't you try to put them together again all season and in the control matches?

– I am not ready to discuss this topic with you. I think there were other leaders at Lokomotiv. Last year I was on a different team and I was focused on it. Life changes on a daily basis and you have to make decisions by the fact - who is in what state. You named a three, but I don't think it was any dominant three in the KHL that we didn't see it.