Despite the fact that Team Russia came in first and second at the Black Sea Cup, their coaching staff didn’t like everything they saw. Sergei Golubovich was very critical regarding physical conditions of the hockey players.
The players weren’t euphoric after the win either. Everybody understands that the competition for making Team Russia’s World Juniors roster lies ahead. Junior Hockey League media relations department spoke to the players and found out about the difference between two Russian teams, how Team Russia White won the tournament, what was it like working with Yuri Babenko and what positives and negatives were taken away from the Black Sea Cup.
Team Russia White
“We didn’t celebrate the win at the tournament. Nobody even drank from the cup. We just hoisted symbolically and that was the end of it,” says Oskin. “In general, I had a good season. Even though Tolpar didn’t go very far in the playoffs, during the season I was called up to Toros and even played a few games in VHL Playoffs. This win in Sochi was a great way to end the season.”
- In the final game of the tournament you beat Team Russia Red. How did the game go?
- We had beat them twice in scrimmage games before the tournament as well. All games were intense and both teams played hard. Everybody wanted to show what he’s worth in front of the coaching staff. Those wins weren’t very emotional. Although, it was great to beat a pretty strong opponent.
- You also faced Team Denmark and Team Switzerland at the tournament. How did you like them?
- It was tougher to play against Denmark. We didn’t fully regroup after a blowout win over Switzerland and it took us a while to realize that the Danes were serious opponents. Incidentally, despite the blowout win, the game against Switzerland wasn’t easy either, especially in the beginning.
- Yuri Babenko coached Team Russia White. How did you like working with him?
- Yuri Ivanovich just recently finished his career. He won two Gagarin Cups so it was interesting to work with him. We studied tactics a lot on our team. Valery Bragin wasn’t getting involved. He was Team Russia Red coach. He held their practices and spent the rest of his time watching others practice from the stands.
- Yuri Babenko said in an interview that he wasn’t happy with physical conditions of the players.
- I think the coaches knew that everybody was going to come in different conditions. Some players finished their season a long time ago, and some, on the contrary, had almost no rest since the end of the playoffs. For example, personally I had some rest after Tolpar and Toro got eliminated from the playoffs. I began getting ready for Team Russia in early May. Anyway, the camp before the tournament was very intense, and then we had to play three games in three days.
JHC Spartak Moscow
Team Russia Red
- After the tournament Yuri Babenko said that the players should come to play for Team Russia in such physical conditions.
- Yes, he said it in the dressing-room as well. A lot of guys joined the team right after the season ended in North America. For example, Klim Kostin came to Sochi right after AHL playoffs. I went on vacation right after Spartak got eliminated from the playoffs and I began getting ready for the camp only on May 10th. I didn’t come to Sochi in optimal physical conditions. Nevertheless, I managed to cope with practices. We came to the tournament ready to play. We had a good camp before the Black Sea Cup.
- You played three games in three days at the tournament. Were you given any days off before such an intense tournament?
- Coaching staff gave us one day off. I went with some other guys to the beach. We swam, looking at Olympic venues and got some tan.
- You faced Team Russia White three times. Were those games special?
- I didn’t feel there was anything special about them. I have faced a lot of those guys in Junior Hockey League. There were a few SKA-1946 players on Team Russia White. They had eliminated Spartak from the playoffs a little earlier. It bugged me a little and I wanted to get my revenge. Although, everybody was thinking about their future on this team rather than JHL playoffs.
- Team White won all three games. Why?
- We don’t know ourselves why that happened. We didn’t lack chemistry. I was paired with my Spartak teammate Akim Trishin.
- How did you like Denmark and Switzerland at the tournament?
- They have decent team but they lack chemistry.
- What can you take away from these games against Team Denmark and Team Switzerland regarding the upcoming World Juniors, where Russia is going to play them in round robin?
- What can I take away? We’re going to win the championship!