Comments from the teams' head coaches after the regular season KHL 2021/22 game between CSKA and Vityaz.
Sergey Fedorov, head coach of CSKA:
- We balanced the game, being in a disadvantage with a 0:1 score, then took the lead. We played well. We left for a break after the second period leading with a 2:1 score. Nothing meant we would lose the game. But that's just how it happened. We'll analyze our mistakes and move on. In overtime everything was clear, the numerical advantage was 4 to 3. "Vityaz performed well, congratulations to the opponent with a victory. We will continue to work on improving our components of the game.
- Vityaz had several scoring chances after CSKA losses today, in addition to the goals scored. What is the reason?
- Continuing with your question, we also had chances to score. This is a fast game. We have things to work on. But in general, our team performed well.
- In the morning we got the information that several CSKA players got positive results for coronavirus. How will you comment on it?
- The doctors will give their comments. I can't give any details. As I said before the game, there was no indication that anything needed to be changed. We worked as usual without our players. We will continue to work in the same way.
- There are more and more positive tests in the league every day. In your opinion, what should be done in this situation?
- I don't know.
- Did you study Vityaz's practice of the goalie suspension in overtime?
- Yes, we knew they use that hit and we told the guys about it. You can ask them how they do that. I already explained the situation with us. First of all, it's an opportunity not to take it to the shootout. Second, it's the best practice. A four-on-three game is the power play, a lot of space. Third, it was only this season that we started to realize this.
Yuriy Babenko, head coach of Vityaz
- Today both teams showed hockey with a plenty of scoring chances. Congratulations to our guys with the victory. We played hard in the second period when we were shorthanded. The goalie played great. It is good that we realized our small opportunities. It is a shame that we had to go into overtime, we should have been patient, there was a small mistake. But all fought and tried – well done, happy with the victory.
- This year you replaced the goalie in overtime immediately after the shot scored. Did you make that decision in the course of the game or did you know it in advance?
- We talked about it beforehand, of course. We had another option if we concede the draw. This year CSKA remembered and turned on long-forgotten traditions. Barys did that years ago. It was a desperate move and we knew that if we lost the draw, our opponent would do the same. It's good that we won.
- Why did you concede the first two pucks from one zone - a square of four shorthanded players?
- The situation changes very quickly. And they analyzed and showed it and there was even a specific assignment that CSKA team did not have this combination, they did not even try it at the beginning of the first period, when they had the majority. They had analyzed and said they would probably do it now. One wrong move, a turn of the stick, a split second leads to a goal. The momentum was sorted out, we just didn't execute it.
- You said you had another option in case you concede the draw in overtime. What option was that?
- We would have run to the locker room (laughs). Let's not reveal all the secrets.
- When we discussed the 4-on-3 game with CSKA, they said that it could happen because of the class of the players. And what makes it possible for teams from the bottom of the standings?
- First of all, we also have great players. And you have to give proper respect to them, they are both scoring and are in the leading positions. We have three men in the top ten scorers. Let's not belittle their merits. When you play 4 on 3 on a big field, where you're not tied to a zone, if you have any tension, you can always get out of the zone and use the whole field. It's very hard for the opponent to take the puck away. You can have the initiative for the whole five minutes.
- When CSKA first adopted this tactic in the fall, there were talks about taking a point away from the team if it concedes in overtime after replacing the goalie. Don't you have any concerns that next season you might get your hands tied in that regard?
- Hands won’t be tied anyway. Here we will talk about whether or not one point remains after a tie in the regulation time. I don't think that's right. There is a risk share. Of course, we currently have different positions in the standings with CSKA. But when teams face each other with roughly the same number of points, that's also a risk - you either win or lose. And when teams meet four times in a season, it can affect the standings. It's hard to answer right or wrong, and time will show. It will be next season.
- Does the decision to suspend the goalie in overtime depends much on how the team realizes the shootout? If you have the masters, maybe just to sit back in overtime and wait for the shootout?
- One hundred percent you're right, you have answered this question. But the thing is, in addition to your own masters, you have to watch how the opponent plays in the shootouts. Your own goalie, your own performers and plus the opponent's performers, the opponent's goalie. It is important to consider everything here. This year, we haven't been able to play shootouts at all. That is why we take advantage of the loopholes in the rules.