Someone talks about offensive hockey and plays attack; this is, of course, Igor Larionov’s Torpedo, which at the beginning remains invincible. Someone speaks very restrainedly, but still plays elegantly – this is Alexei Zhamnov’s “Spartak”, where Nikolai Goldobin shines and youth develops. And someone talks about offensive hockey, but doesn’t show it yet.
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So far, to the chagrin of the home fans, this category includes Sibir. Perhaps for the last ten years, with rare exceptions, the team has prioritized defense and reliable play. In the spring, Kirill Fastovsky surprised everyone by saying: “One of the directions of the KHL development strategy is to focus on offensive hockey. The vector is directed in this direction. Our club wants to follow this vector.” For this reason, Sibir brought David Nemirovski, whom some consider the man who laid the foundations for the current cheerful Torpedo, from a short coaching vacation.
Nikolai Prokhorkin (in the center)
Photo: Victoria Trufanova, foto.khl.ru
But for now “Sibir” suffers more than playing hockey. Five points were scored in five matches, but the growing panic can be felt in the home crowd: Nemirovski’s team did not win a single match in regulation time and during these matches he only scored nine goals. A week ago, a new ten thousand was opened in Novosibirsk, and the spectators saw only two goals in three matches, and Nikolai Prokhorkin literally scored one of these goals.
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The match with Amur, which was brought to Novosibirsk by Andrei Martemyanov, who worked for Sibir for two years, became critical. Those from the Far East were coming off a tight six-game trip, they had two days less rest than their opponents, but at the same time they looked much more convincing in attack for most of the match, finally winning on penalties. Novosibirsk teammates write that it was after this match, and not after Avtomobilist’s embarrassing 1:6, that Nemirovski gave a reprimand in the locker room. Kirill Fastovsky, after the KHL board of directors, said that there is no adaptation period, and this is only after five games? Let’s think about what the problems of Siberia are.
At one point, Nemirovski began his coaching career at Torpedo, radically moving away from the style of Peteris Skudra. With a very large stretch, one can compare this with the situation in Siberia, although the team in Martemyanov’s second year played more aggressive pressure hockey than in the first year. And then Torpedo, if you remember, immediately took off from the start, overtaking the SKA, which was full of stars; perhaps the Novosibirsk leadership expected the same effect. But there is a significant difference.
If we take the top ten scorers of Torpedo in the 2018/2019 season (David Semenovich’s first season in Nizhny), then only three of these players played for Skudra’s team: Parshin, Galuzin and Barantsev. The rest of the leaders (including Damir Zhafyarov and Andy Miele, who determined the face of that team) remained under the command of the new coach. That summer, in Nizhny Novgorod, the management assembled another team, a completely new brigade of foreign players, specifically adapted to the style of the new coach.
At the time of Nemirovski’s arrival, “Sibir” had mostly strong and feisty guys who corresponded to the old philosophy of the club, in addition, the club lost the key combination of Sharov and Pyanov from the first link. The club first invited a couple of role players and then hired a group of American minor league hockey players. The transfer of Nikolai Prokhorkin, who perfectly suits the hockey that Nemirovski plays, occurred after the preseason was over. Korkinsky’s coach, Georgy Belousov, has just signed a contract with the Club today. In general, the Novosibirsk leadership seemed to simply decide: I don’t want to be a courtyard peasant, I want to be a pillar noblewoman, and did almost nothing to implement this ambitious program.
This is especially evident when it comes to the selection of defenders. Now the Siberians have been out for a long time with Trevor Murphy, perhaps the best offensive defenseman in the KHL and the cornerstone of last year’s fiery power play team. At Torpedo, Nemirovski always had a wide selection of offensive defenders who knew how to play deep in the opponent’s zone: you can remember Chris Wideman, who returned to the NHL after the Nizhny Novgorod restart, or Theodor Lennström, who became a player of the national team. from an unnamed team. Now the Siberians, for the most part, have young defenders with a defensive approach, and Martemyanov, who knows them well, said at a press conference that his players tried to put pressure on them.
David Nemirovsky and his assistants
Photo: Victoria Trufanova, foto.khl.ru
In addition, the Novosibirsk school still does not have super talents of the level of Yurov, Kantserov and Grebenkin, who largely help Andrei Razin restart Metallurg. Ivan Klimovich looks great at the beginning, he scored the first goal for Siberia in the history of the new stadium, but Nemirovski is still dosing his playing time and, it must be said, at Torpedo he never forced the introduction of youth into the lineup either.
But, of course, questions will inevitably arise for Nemirovsky. If many coaches, who at the beginning of this season quickly established their signature hockey in new clubs, have a clear and long-recognized system, then, in the style of David Semenovich, many things are decided by a kind of anarchic chaos and improvisation . The players, for whom for two years the highest value was “fulfilling the task of coaching,” do not seem to understand very well what exactly they want from them. In the same match against Avtomobilist, which I had the opportunity to watch live, Nemirovski’s players did not even press most of the time, although their opponents did not have the fastest and most agile defense.
The Russian-Canadian coach himself still complains that the team is not very fast and takes a long time to make decisions, but last year Sibir again showed great control in many games and played very well in the third periods. Maybe Nemirovski took too many risks when choosing a fitness trainer? Upon his appointment, David Gutshon, 26, was presented as a coach who worked personally and in preseason camps, but is he aware of all the details of Kahael’s schedule and working with big teams?
In any case, Siberia has no choice but to support Nemirovski. A possible attempt to push back the “new KHL vector” after five failed games would be simply ridiculous, and the signing of Belousov indicates that the necessary personnel is on the way to the new coach. If after creative agonies another team appears in the KHL with its own face, the league will only benefit.