In your opinion, why did CSKA stagnate? Are the defeats of Kunlun Red Star and Dynamo just banal and ordinary failures or are they worth ringing the alarm bells?
Vladimir Plyushchev: Come on, I don’t think you should be hysterical. There are failures, but I am sure that the army trainers will draw the right conclusions.
Well, as for the reasons… Probably, in some teams it is a banal lack of preparation: the guys simply thought that they were capable of winning in class. And the reason for other failures lies in psychology. Now in CSKA there is a somewhat difficult atmosphere associated with the Ivan Fedotov case (this goalkeeper returned to the military club after serving in the armed forces, but the International Hockey Federation believed that he was obliged to join the NHL team Philadelphia Flyers ” , disqualified him. CSKA ignored this verdict, – Ed.) There is no such thing that the problems of one player do not affect the psychological climate of the team as a whole.
But I believe that the army team will overcome all these problems. They have a good squad and play fairly modern hockey. And the fact that many points have already been lost at the beginning of the season… I repeat: several reasons can be mentioned, among them the fact that CSKA returned quite late from the summer holidays. But remember: last year, Sergei Fedorov’s team also did not start convincingly, but throughout the season they won everything they needed, and everyone knows the result they achieved at the end of Klontsy – they deservedly won the Gagarin Cup.
I think that in the new season CSKA will remain one of the main favorites. And it will improve its position in the rankings in mid-October or early November, believe me.
According to your observations, which line of CSKA players “fails” most often today?
Vladimir Plyushchev: I wouldn’t say that any of the team’s lines are truly “failing.” There are errors in defense associated with the technical and tactical preparation of individual defenders. Well, when an attack as powerful as the one CSKA has today does not play, as they say, at full speed, a positive result is not always achieved. And as you remember, in Soviet times the army team was famous for its powerful attack: they achieved this result in the first five to seven minutes of the match and then calmly enjoyed the game. Yes, now they are unlikely to succeed. But I repeat: I am sure that CSKA will “get it” and improve not only its position in the tournament, but also its reputation among the fans.
CSKA coach Sergei Fedorov, who won the last two Gagarin Cups, seems to have proven everything to everyone. What do you think: does the club management have absolute confidence in him or, if the series of failures continues, will they still “ask” him?
Vladimir Plyushchev: Sergei will not be “asked”, even if the series of failures continues. And there is only one reason for this: today there is no equivalent substitute. Neither of those coaches who are now “in ambush” and waiting in the wings, nor of those who are on the same coaching bench as him. I think Fedorov will work out no matter what and in any case he will finish the current season as CSKA coach. The Club’s management will decide to put some conditions on it, unless the next season turns out to be unsuccessful. Well, today there is no alternative to Sergei for the army team.
Does CSKA need to strengthen? Or is the current squad that the team has today capable of fighting for the third consecutive Gagarin Cup?
Vladimir Plyushchev: In the off-season, CSKA selectively strengthened itself and now its squad is quite solid. I am convinced that if it were not for the situation with Ivan Fedotov, everything in and around the team would be calm, without unnecessary nerves.
Is the current squad ready to fight for the Gagarin Cup? Believe me, the four defeats that the army team has suffered to date are nothing particularly terrible. There is a misunderstanding between CSKA fans and their students (including myself), but there is no panic. I watched the preseason meetings of the Army team and I want to say that the team, as they say, looked good, both in equal strength and in the minority, at the same time played with great potential and showed that it has serious prospects.
By the way, you have probably seen the matches that Fedotov, who returned from the army, played in goal; obviously, he shouldn’t count all of them as an asset. Can he once again be that Ivan Fedotov, who was extremely difficult to score against before?
Vladimir Plyushchev: I have no doubt that it will reach the proper condition. Vanya probably still feels the psychological burden of the situation she finds herself in. But the man fulfilled his military service with dignity, without excesses or hysteria. And this shows that the boy has character and potential. It is clear that he wants to prove something to many. Of course, this whole situation probably makes him nervous: in connection with his case, the club was sanctioned, which negatively affects the team.
As far as I know, Vanya is, as they say, a very conscientious person, the situation worries him more than it deserves. And this is where all the problems in the game come from. But I do not believe that some matches in which he participated ended in defeats only because of Fedotov’s own actions; They included serious mistakes on defense, which the Army team might as well not have made.