Where did the crisis come from at the start of the season?
On the eve of “Ak Bars” lost to CSKA (1: 2 OT) in the home match of the KHL regular championship. The Kazan team was leading in the score with six minutes left, but did not retain the advantage and lost the third match in a row. Now the team has two main problems – poor implementation and defensive play.
Where they came from at the start of the season and how to solve them, the club will have to determine in the near future.
KVARTALNOV CRYCHAL AFTER THE MATCH
It was hot in the Tatneft Arena under the stands after the match. Dmitry Kvartalnov, judging by the loud screams that reached the press center, he was furious. At the same time, the head coach came to the press conference calmly and answered questions from journalists without unnecessary emotions. But after her, leaving home, I still could not calm down, actively discussing the defeat from CSKA with my assistants.
Emotions Kvartalnov can be understood: his team missed the victory six minutes before the end, conceded in overtime and lost the third home match in a row. At the same time, “Ak Bars” yesterday played definitely no worse, and if there were no problems with the implementation, then it should have won easily with a score of 3: 0 or 4: 0. By the way, Kvartalnov made a special emphasis on this on the eve while communicating with journalists. “We, of course, needed to score and take the lead 2-0. It would be easier. We had to endure six minutes, but a couple of mistakes – and a loss, ”said the head coach.
If the first period was absolutely equal and boring in terms of playing, then in the second period Ak Bars was much better. Kazan threw over the opponent, owned the puck more and played in a foreign zone. As a result, the hosts scored one goal (DMitri Kagarlitsky) thanks to a quick attack, but they should have scored a lot more. Mostly in an empty corner he threw Kirill Panyukov, but managed not to score, but to hit the goalkeeper, Ilya Safonov loaded into the barbell, and Stephen Kampfer, finding himself alone in front of the gate, threw it above them. If Ak Bars had realized at least one of these moments and, as Kvartalnov said after the match, it would have been calmer and easier.
In the last two matches, Ak Bars have scored only two goals. In general, at the start of the season, the team scores little, although it should be the other way around, because it is full of strength and emotion from the start of the championship. “You have to try very hard to score. Apparently, we are not trying hard, ”answered Kvartalnov.
Many fans are already sending Kvartalnov to retirement after three defeats in a row. Obviously, there will be no dismissal either now or even after five defeats. The game of “Ak Bars” can not be called terrible, but yesterday the team played better than CSKA. The fact that the players go out and do not hit the empty goal is clearly not because of the head coach.
IN KAZAN TRYED TO INCREASE THE QUOTA OF FANS, BUT YET DIDN’T COULD
There was a big sports day in Kazan the day before. In the morning, the forum “Russia is a country of sports” started, which brought together almost all the hockey leadership, and the captain of the “leopards” Danis Zaripov presented his “Zaryad” sticks to the President of the International Ice Hockey Federation Rene Fasel… And in the evening the first big match of the season took place in Kazan – there were no rivals of CSKA level in “Ak Bars” at the start of the championship yet.
Especially for the big match in Kazan, they tried to increase the quota of spectators in the stands of the Tatneft Arena. Now 50% of the spectators of the arena’s capacity (about four and a half thousand spectators) are allowed to attend Ak Bars matches. The Kazan club sent an application to the Rospotrebnadzor department for 75%, but was refused. Obviously, on the eve of the stands, the stands could easily have been filled by 75% and 100%. Kazan missed the big matches after the defeat to Avangard in the last Eastern Conference final.
KHL President attended the game in Kazan Alexey Morozov, who said that he did not expect Zaripov’s decision to end his career. Two legends of the Kazan club watched the match together in one of the boxes of the Tatneft Arena. Other hockey functionaries were also expected at the match after the forum. For example, the president of the FHR Vladislav Tretyak or Fasel. But the first one flew from Kazan in the afternoon, and Fazel was at a gala reception in the Piramida recreation center in the evening.
For the second match in a row, the presence of the Karolina striker in the Tatneft Arena remains almost invisible Andrey Svechnikov… The 21-year-old NHL star may not be recognized as often yet, but some fans are coming up for a photo. The hockey player himself is still refusing to communicate with journalists and could not come on the air of “Ak Bars Show” due to the ban of “Carolina”. In the summer, the striker signed a long-term contract for $ 65 million with the club and he must give his first interview overseas.
AK BARS NEEDS TO STRENGTHEN DEFENSE
The Kazan team conceded both goals the day before after making mistakes in defense. In the moment with the first goal did not finish Stephen Kampfer, who could not intercept the puck and missed the player behind his back, and in overtime he pressed too hard against the goal and did not block the winning shot of the CSKA player. As a result, the American finished the match with a -2 rating.
In general, this is a significant moment when the best and most experienced defender of a team makes two gross mistakes. In this situation, it is not clear what to expect from the rest of the Ak Bars defense players, who are less experienced and so far clearly do not play at their level. The problems in the defense of Ak Bars are obvious: for example, there is absolutely no player for the majority. Nikita Lyamkin clearly does not cope with this role and, in general, regresses for the second season in a row. Looked good in the match with Torpedo Rinat Valiev, but with CSKA he was in reserve.
And, again, it’s not about the coaching staff now. It’s just that the current level of defense of Ak Bars is very weak. Kvartalnov spoke about this back in the summer, hinting at the need to strengthen protection. “It is unlikely that we will be able to quickly strengthen. There is no one on the market now. We want to strengthen, but for now we will play with those who are, ”said Kvartalnov the day before.
If while Kazan is still able to play with those who are and bring results, then in the long run and, especially in the playoffs, this will certainly have an impact. The current level of the team’s defense is definitely not the one with which it is possible to win the Gagarin Cup. Strengthening is necessary and, according to our information, in the near future there should be transfers of defense players in Ak Bars.
KHL. Regular season
Ak Bars (Kazan) – CSKA (Moscow) – 1: 2 OT (0: 0, 1: 0, 0: 1, 0: 1)
8 September. Tatneft Arena
1: 0 Kagarlitsky (Galimov, 28:01)
1: 1 Guskov (Slepyshev, Walmark, 53:34)
1: 2 Dalbeck (Nordstrom, Plotnikov, 64:33)
Goalkeepers: Bobkov – Fedotov