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HomeSports"I thank Kovalchuk, he helped us." Interview with Spartak coach

“I thank Kovalchuk, he helped us.” Interview with Spartak coach

Date: July 23, 2024 Time: 02:12:41

This season, Spartak not only made it to the playoffs, but also confidently passed the first round, beating Severstal. In the second round, the Muscovites could not cope with the future finalist of the Gagarin Cup, Metallurg.

The results of the entire championship of one of the most popular clubs in the country were summed up by the team’s coach. Alexei Zhamnov. In an exclusive interview with an observer of the “Championship”, Zhamnov spoke about his training philosophy, requirements for hockey players, shared his opinion on innovations in the KHL, and also answered in detail all questions about star Ilya Kovalchuk .

How Spartak finished the season with Kovalchuk:

“There’s nothing to regret. I wouldn’t get a second chance.” Kovalchuk and Spartak: about the KHL season

“We were in the process of forming a team, no one had any illusions”

—How do you evaluate the season that ended for Spartak? —We have already given it a four. It is clear that we have taken a step forward, but the boys must understand that now our rivals will have a different attitude towards us. It’s hard to get to a certain level and even harder to stay there. The fans expect progress from the team, we have to develop and move forward if we want to continue growing as a team.

— In the regular season, the team scored more goals. In the playoffs they also scored a lot against Severstal, but in the series against Metallurg it did not work out. Because? — We must pay tribute to the rival, the Metallurg team is strong and balanced. Yes, many of our guys had no experience in the second round of the playoffs, but we explained to them that we did not have enough sports anger. It was necessary to get closer to the plate and create traffic in front of the goalkeeper. The guys and I discussed all these nuances after the playoffs, when we talked together.

– Did everyone understand everything? — We need correct conclusions, we were in the process of forming a team, no one had any illusions. There was a possibility of passing Magnitka, but there were not enough details. But they are normal things, this is sport, the rival is strong and worthy. Our task is to draw the right conclusions and move forward, become stronger.

— How did the team react to Andrei Razin’s words that Magnitka, due to well-known events, had to fly home after the first match in Moscow and then return? – They didn’t react at all.

— Why is Magnitogorsk an enchanted city for Spartak? There in the KHL they only won once, in overtime, with Boris Mironov leading the way. —I do not put too much emphasis on such interpretations as convenient or inconvenient. Yes, there are statistics, but you have to polish them all, otherwise it won’t work. I don’t think Magnitogorsk is haunted (laughs). There are nuances, but you have to go through them.

Alexey Zhamnov (right) on the Spartak bench

Photo: Alexander Safonov, “Championship”

“I see more advantages than disadvantages in the KHL’s decision to play until May 31”

—What points would you correct if you had that opportunity? “The work continues now; It doesn’t happen that everything turned out perfect. There are many questions both in terms of tactics and the attitude of hockey players to work. I think that in the future it will be easier for our coaching staff, since the core of the team will remain the same, the boys understand the demands, which will be even more serious. We not only need to maintain our level, but also go higher.

—How do you rate the league’s innovation: the cross playoffs of the second round? — It is difficult for me to evaluate it, it is better to ask the guys who have been working as head coaches in KHL clubs for a long time. For me the playoffs are the playoffs. Of course, there are factors of time zones and logistics, but always on equal terms. This is usually referred to when they lose, but I’m not going to do that. Look: there are many unpredictable episodes, it has become more interesting for fans. It’s more difficult when you play against teams from another conference. You know them less than “yours”, you do not have complete information, you have to obtain it during meetings.

— KHL announced that the next season will continue until May 31. Do you support this decision? — It is reasonable, it was necessary to extend the season, give the players more time to recover. We have a big country, flights, games almost every other day, all this takes its toll. So, again, this is a big plus for the guys; many injuries occurred due to fatigue. I see more pros than cons in the league’s decision.

“A lot depends on the player himself, whether he wants it or not. “I will never force anyone.”

— Have you already spoken globally with the club management and summarized the results of the season? — We met and discussed everything. We must pay tribute to our leadership in the person of the chairman of the Spartak supervisory board, Oleg Leonidovich Usachev. Throughout the season there was total support and mutual understanding on their part, everyone did their own thing. All issues were resolved quickly and in a timely manner. We were on the same page.

—Do you have a current contract with the club for next season? — Yes, initially I signed a two-year contract.

—And your assistants? Will the coaching staff remain? — All the boys will stay, there will be no new people on the coaching staff.

— Vyacheslav Bykov said that Alexei Zhamnov lifted the Spartak spirit and made it fashionable again. How would you rate these words? — It’s nice to hear this, it shows that there is a result of the work. But this is not just my merit, but also the entire coaching staff, the players themselves, who are aware of the responsibility. The main indicator for our hockey is that the fans have returned to the stands. I would like to thank them separately, because no matter which region we came to, the people were always by our side and supported the team. And, of course, I will highlight the special atmosphere at home games, it is worth a lot. This is recognition of the work we do throughout the season.

— It is believed that hockey players love you very much for your sincerity, honesty and good attitude. Is the ability to find a common language with people your strong point? — I try (laughs). I went to player school, worked as a coach, I understand all the nuances. Every athlete needs his own approach; There are no ideal people. Everyone has their own strengths and weaknesses, the coach’s job is to identify them. A lot depends on the player himself, whether he wants it or not. I will never force anyone. If he wants, well done, but if not, it will be her life and his career that will go unnoticed. Therefore, you must take advantage of every opportunity. There may not be a next time, you realize as you get older. We must seize and seize every opportunity until the end.

One of the main discoveries of Spartak is Alexander Belyaev:


“I want to forget about that goal against SKA.” A brilliant interview with the unexpected advance of Spartak

“It’s good that Kovalchuk was with us at this stage, he brought everything necessary from within”

—How would you rate Iliá Kovalchuk’s play in the playoffs? – I’m grateful to you. It was completely his decision, no one forced him. The fact that he was with us, I’m grateful for that, the guys had a great experience. Ilya became part of our team at this stage, he is worth a lot. He is a professional through and through, the young people have seen how Kovalchuk works and how he approaches business. Everyone learned something from him. It’s not as easy as some people think to skip two years and come back. Ilya really helped us.

—Was everything okay with your health and physique? – He takes care of himself. When he didn’t make the team, we gave him a break. The series with Severstal was costly and Magnitogorsk is a difficult team. Ilya treated him with understanding and without offending.

— Did Ilya make teammates in the locker room in the playoffs? — Yes, the boys spoke well of him. He maintained the locker room, encouraged everyone, added the experience we were missing. It’s good that Ilya was with us at this stage; he brought everything needed from within.

—Has he already announced his decision for next season? There was talk that he could become general director of Spartak. “I see him often, but we haven’t discussed these issues yet.” Believe me, Ilya will not be left without work. With his experience, in any case he will be useful for our hockey in the future. He has a name, he is an honored athlete and hockey player and is always in demand.

Ilya Kovalchuk and Alexei Zhamnov

Photo: Dmitry Golubovich, “Championship”

“Nikolaev’s illness disturbed him in the series with Metallurg”

—What do you think of the performance of the Spartak legionnaires? — I won’t give specific names, but in general I expected much more.

— Tchaikovsky was constantly hit in the face with a hockey stick. Aren’t you surprised by the Slovak’s courage? – Misha (that’s how Michal is called in Spartak. – Championship note): this is a separate conversation. He was eager to fight until the end, even when he received a blow to the head, in the end we decided to stop him.

—Are you satisfied with the goalkeeper’s line? – Good. The only thing is that Nikolaev’s illness worried him in the series with Metallurg. It’s difficult when you don’t play calmly for an entire season: changes, movements, everything has a psychological cost. Dima will start the preseason well and will feel more confident.

— I heard that he was supposedly overweight. It isn’t true? – I didn’t notice anything like that. You know, similar things have been said, are said and will be said, I don’t pay attention to it. We have enough “supporters”. I observe him, his work and attitude suit me well.

—Did Rybar’s injury affect the team? “We missed Patricio.” We must pay tribute to Andrei Kareev. There were times when the other two goalkeepers couldn’t play and he kept us on our toes. Andrey helped our team until the end, each of the goalkeepers at a certain moment made his contribution to the common cause.

— Did the departure of Alexander Khokhlachev have a significant impact on the team? – This stage has already been passed.

“Goldobin learned to adapt, he started to play more for the team than for himself”

— Could Maxim Tsyplakov have played harder in the playoffs? — For many of the guys, this was their first experience playing in the second round of the playoffs, they didn’t understand some of the nuances; Everything accumulated should go to a common fund to improve results for next season.

— Do you think the conversations about a possible exit to the NHL could have put pressure on you? – Of course, everyone reads everything, it’s distracting, those things stay in the head. For Maxim, the most important thing is to understand what he wants in the future. The same thing happened when he played and thought about what to do next year. My head immediately fills with other thoughts.

— Why did Nikolai Goldobin play so well in front of you? —The merit belongs to the three. They played together all season, there was chemistry. Kolya learned to adapt and began to play more for the team than for himself. But there is always something to work on. Sometimes it doesn’t work, so you have to play for your teammates. There are a lot of things to work on, but overall he did well, he broke all the records. This is both his personal achievement and the team’s achievement, because a lot depends on the partners and the microclimate of the team.

— The Goldobin-Morozov-Poryadin troika was on fire all season long. What is your secret? “Everyone has their own strengths, which is why we collectively got this result.”

Ivan Morozov, Nikolay Goldobin, Pavel Poryadin

Photo: Yuri Kuzmin, foto.khl.ru

— Is Mikhail Maltsev, in your opinion, in Spartak? – Everything’s fine. It’s clear he had to readjust a little bit, because hockey is different here, not like in the AHL. There is more “north-south” there and our team plays completely differently, we had to get used to it. I hope he stays here, negotiations are currently underway. It will be much easier for Misha when he spends the preseason in Russia. In any case adaptation is needed, next season will be easier. Maltsev has great potential. I hope he reveals it to the end.

—The young people have pleased him this season; Can you notice the progress of many of them? — Our youth is growing, well done guys. But in the future we have to understand that the credibility we had this season will not last forever. Next year everything will be different, people have reached a different level, it’s time to show adult hockey. It shouldn’t be the case that you always turn to young, promising people. At some point everything ends, professional growth is important, not just staying in one place.

* This website provides news content gathered from various internet sources. It is crucial to understand that we are not responsible for the accuracy, completeness, or reliability of the information presented Read More

Puck Henry
Puck Henry
Puck Henry is an editor for ePrimefeed covering all types of news.

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