“SKA and CSKA are rivals, “AK bars” against “Tractor” is a favorite”

Entered final straight of the season in the KHL. In the first match of the final series of the Western conference between SKA and CSKA, won the Moscow CSKA in overtime with the score 5:4. SKA scored Pavel Datsyuk, Nikolai Prohorchik, Nikita Gusev and Sergey Plotnikov. CSKA have the most accurate turned out to be Mikhail Grigorenko, Alexander Popov and Andrey Kuzmenko. The latter, incidentally, scored a hat-trick and scored the decisive goal.

photo: Gennady Cherkasov

In the Eastern conference the fight just ahead, the strongest between them will determine the Kazan “AK bars” and the Chelyabinsk tractor.

Specially for “MK” expectations from the final match in the Western and Eastern series of the KHL, shared the Olympic Games in Sapporo, the famous hockey player, coach and television commentator Alexander Pashkov.

— Alexander Konstantinovich, what can you say about the opposing teams in the Western conference finals?

— The first match in St. Petersburg was interesting for the spectators. CSKA showed character and preparedness. The team was well organized in the first place from the point of view of defence. Perhaps, in this series it is impossible to predict so certain, as some experts and hockey fans tried to do all season. I think it will be an exciting series, and all will receive from this spectacle of pleasure.

— The victory of a team is the coaching or the manifestation of the individual skill of the players?

— I think it will be winning players. Part of SKA and CSKA collected a powerful force, the skill level of players is very high. I think they will solve the tournament problem. However, we should not forget that hockey and sports in General — is element. Everything is decided on the ice and not outside of it.

— What are the positive aspects of SKA and CSKA?

Commands are very similar, but St. Petersburg is a huge winning experience. It is extremely important in the play-offs. SKA is a large concentration of players in the team. This is an additional factor enhances team also speaks in their favor. CSKA is much more conventional beginners — guys without major achievements in the record. Because of this, they are extremely motivated and have more power in a dispute with the clear favorite of the Northern capital. This equalizes the chances of the SKA and CSKA. In each team there are leaders. St. Petersburg — the attacking players Kovalchuk and Datsyuk; the Muscovites — the goalkeeper Sorokin and forward Whims. Expect this pair is equal to the fight with an unpredictable outcome.

— Your prediction for the Eastern conference finals?

In the Eastern conference, the situation is somewhat clearer. I guess the “AK bars” will have the advantage thanks to a very organized game and a good composition. This is very important. Among other things, “AK bars” begins a series on his arena in Kazan. Probably, the Kazan in the first two matches will be favorites and will succeed.

— Will there be enough advantage in two games for the victory in the whole series?

— The advantage of “AK Bars” can be maintained throughout the series. Of course, the “Tractor” is capable of surprises. It is unexpected for many good acts now. The question is whether that’s enough to win. I think that’s unlikely. The favorite of the series, of course, But “Tractor” will to fight. What happens — we’ll see.

— Why the success of “the Tractor” became a sensation?

— First, the team had not achieved such good results in the playoffs. Second, season the Chelyabinsk wasn’t the most clear. They were unstable, never won a resounding victory over the leaders of our championship. In the previous series with “Salavat ulevym the” victory in the seventh meeting hung on a thin thread. If not for the coincidence and the play of the goalkeeper Franzosa, “Tractor” would not have gone to the conference finals.

Czech goalkeeper Paul Francos is precisely one of the main stars in today’s “Tractor”?

I don’t like the word “star” because I think the stars can be on each team. In any case, the actions of the goalkeeper helped “to the Tractor” just to get this heavy and practice does not solve the problem. Salavat was stronger in composition and experience. Frankly, the “Tractor” is largely just luck.

— How relevant in the Eastern conference finals can become a factor of the coach?

You can’t say that this will be crucial. From Bilyaletdinov has a wealth of experience and credibility. Gatiatulin — a relative newcomer in the games with a group of leaders of our hockey, but he is well-qualified. Many talk about it as the surprise of the current championship, but I think he’s a long-established specialist. The team said that his influence is very great. This is evident in the result and a number of young players who astonish and hockey fans and experts. This quality coach is very important.

— Maybe a good contact with the team is due to relatively young age I?

— This is partly true, but most importantly, his teaching abilities. Communication — first and foremost pedagogy States. He owns it. Here age is not as important. The team is manageable. Players lose the game. We do not see weaknesses in the “Tractor”, it’s pretty smooth: everyone is fighting and everyone is doing the best he can.

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