“There’s too much attention on these two players!”. Amirov and Bashkirov can’t help Tolpar

Playoffs
03.04.2021 в 17:30
“There’s too much attention on these two players!”. Amirov and Bashkirov can’t help Tolpar
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Attendance record, KHL players adjustment, series prognosis – all that and more in today’s review of events in Moscow.

JHC Dynamo Moscow beat Tolpar Ufa 4-1 in Game of the semifinal series. We spoke to head-coaches about the key events of the game.

Attendance records

After Dynamo Moscow’s KHL team got eliminated from Gagarin Cup Playoffs its major junior team made their first appearance at VTB Arena. A total of 2,354 fans came to the venue, which set several attendance records at once.

• Club record. Previous record of 1,000 fans was set in the 2013-14 season when the team was named HC MVD
• Season record. Until April 3rd the most attended Junior Hockey League game was the first round bout between Avto Yekaterinburg and Irbis Kazan (2,100 fans)

JHC Dynamo Moscow played their first game of the season with fans in the stands. Until the semifinal round the blue-and-white played in Krasnogorsk with no fans in attendance. Incidentally, the latter rink is of a different size.

Yaroslav Lyuzenkov. JHC Dynamo Moscow head-coach.

“Moving to VTB Arena is a good idea. It’s gives extra emotions to the boys,” believes Lyuzenkov. “We had a bigger ice surface in Krasnogorsk but we practice more often in Novogorsk where the rink size is that of VTB Arena. We gladly accepted hosting our games in Moscow because it gives the boys an extra impulse. Obviously, we were worried that the boys would forget about defense under these circumstances. We spoke to them about it.”

Igor Grishin. Tolpar Ufa head-coach.

“This is our first trip to the West. What an ambience. What an arena. Our boys have never played in such a situation. They aren’t experienced in this. Perhaps, this is why we felt a little uneasy and tightened up,” says Grishin.

Bashkirov and Amirov didn’t adjust to Junior Hockey League

Tolpar got reinforcements in Rodion Amirov and Danil Bashkirov in the quarterfinal round and were able to squeeze Chayka Nizhny Novgorod out of the playoffs. However, Tolpar stars were almost invisible in Moscow. Late in the opening period Grishin matched Bashkirov’s line against Dynamo’s second trio. There was a late goal in the frame but it was Ufa who allowed it. Daniil Gutik got the marker, which he later turned into a brace.

Moreover, it wasn’t Salavat Yulaev players who were close to getting on the board but Alexander Pashin, who had two breakaway chances, and Pavel Yelizarov, who almost buried a pass to the slot by Amirov.

Dmitry Rashevsky and Yegor Alanov, who have dressed for Dynamo in KHL, also picked up points. Rashevsky had an assist, while Alanov scored the empty-netter. We spoke to head-coaches about their players adjusting to Junior Hockey League.

Igor Grishin. Tolpar Ufa head-coach.

− It seemed that Dynamo players, who were sent down from men’s teams, adjusted better than Rodion Amirov and Daniil Bashkirov.
-
We pay too much attention to Amirov and Bashkirov and the fact they have played in KHL. We got a different brand of hockey here. The boys are getting used to play at KHL level – they have different teammates, goals and tactics up there. It’s very difficult to come from a KHL team and play at a high level in Kharlamov Cup playoffs right away. Dynamo players, who were sent down from KHL team, already played in Junior Hockey League this season. They knew the difference. Amirov and Bashkirov didn’t have the opportunity. Perhaps, I have certain reproaches to my players but they also need to adjust. It’s not that simple.

- Could Amirov and Bashkirov do more today?
-
Tolpar players as well as Dynamo players could have achieved more today. Some are able to and some aren’t. Gutik, who scored two goals, had everything going his way. We don’t know if it’s going to be the case in the next game. The opposition plays well and they have their own aces. Some play better and some play worse. We’re not going to discuss the way Bashkirov and Amirov played – well or not. There’s too much focus on these two players! We have a team. These players are just a part of it.

Yaroslav Lyuzenkov. JHC Dynamo Moscow head-coach.

“You can see the desire of player in the way he practices,” says Lyuzenkov. “Sometimes you can feel that a player who was sent down to Junior Hockey League acts like he doesn’t want to be down here. Today was different. You can see the players with passion in their eyes. They want to play, score goals and dish out assists. Dmitry [Rashevsky] was really motivated today.”

− Amirov and Bashkirov scared Chayka Nizhny Novgorod but not Dynamo. What was your gameplan to contain Tolpar’s first line?
-
We had a gameplan for the whole team. We didn’t give any tasks to play against anybody personally.

“It’s going to be a tough series”

Dynamo beat Tolpar not only in goals. Moscow took almost twice as many shots (41 against 22), while Ufa technically didn’t score a single goal – Dynamo defenseman Arman Iritsyan sent the puck into his own net and past Vadim Zherenko for Tolpar’s sole tally. However, both coaches are certain that Dynamo shouldn’t be congratulated on making Kharlamov Cup Finals just yet.

Igor Grishin. Tolpar Ufa head-coach.

“Hopefully, today was about reconnaissance and the boys will put their best qualities on display in the upcoming games”, says Grishin.

- What was different about Dynamo
in comparison with Eastern Conference teams?
-
Dynamo is just a very strong team. They have a really good choice of players and some really skilled players. Perhaps, Dynamo is the strongest team we faced in this playoff run.

- Did you expect Dynamo to have the momentum?
-
We studied Dynamo and we knew they had a very strong team with some really good players. I don’t think they had a huge advantage. You know, every game is different. [Alexander] Pashin had a golden scoring chance in the second period. Had he scored, the game could have been very different. With every goal scored, the team gets an emotional jolt, while the opposition gets depressed. We look at the game as if it was a reconnaissance. Even though we allowed two goals late in regulation, we battled hard, did our best to turn it around, pulled our goaltender for the extra attacker and – most importantly – we had our chances.

- Dynamo took almost twice as many shots. Are you going to change anything in Game 2 or you’re going to stick to the same gameplan you had today?
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We tell our guys to take more shots. It’s a Canadian-sized rink so every shot is a menace. Actually, Bashkortostan hockey is different, it lacks shot aggression. The boys want to pass the puck and go for neat plays. Perhaps, they make one extra pass when it would be better to take a shot. When it goes our way, it’s a beautiful brand of hockey. We told our boys to take more shots but Dynamo outdid us in that regard.

Yaroslav Lyuzenkov. JHC Dynamo Moscow head-coach.

“It’s a good opponent, they play aggressively,” believes Lyuzenkov. “Tolpar kept it a tight game all day long and it was pretty intense. We did a good job pulling through and won the game.”

− How would you compare Tolpar to Western Conference teams?
-
Their style is similar to Krasnaya Armiya’s [Moscow]. Their defensemen move around a lot and they’re aggressive in the offensive zone. Their offense is well-balanced and the play as a team.

- It seemed that Krasnaya Armiya posed more problems for you. Is that a wrong impression?
-
The final score 4-1 doesn’t mean that Tolpar didn’t pose any troubles for us. The opposition played well from the get-go and until the final buzzer. They were aggressive and hard on our defensemen. I think, this is going to be a tough series.

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