Update Post: November 30, 2023 1:12 am
The next round of the KHL regular championship began with a brilliant match in Vladivostok, where Admiral hosted Dynamo Moscow. Alexey Kudashov’s players arrived at the Fetisov Arena in a luxurious atmosphere. In the first match of the Far East series, Dinamo broke Amur’s resistance (2-1 overtime) in a difficult match, extending the winning streak to six matches. Furthermore, the victory in Khabarovsk allowed the blue and white team to return to first place in the Western Conference.
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Riding a positive wave, Dynamo was quick to storm the Admiral’s gates from the start, creating a dizzying first period. Only thanks to the incredible play of local goalkeeper Pavel Khomchenko did the result on the scoreboard not change for a long time. In the opening period, the 28-year-old goalkeeper stopped 23 shots, making an average of more than one save per minute. But the field hockey players did not support their goalie’s efforts. Early in the second half, Jordan Weal finished to put the visitors ahead, and then Pavel Kudryavtsev scored the first goal of the season.
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A power-play goal from Alexander Shevchenko helped the “sailors” maintain intrigue in the game, but the first half of the third period was once again left entirely in the hands of Kudashov’s team. Ivan Muranov scored after winning a throw-in, and then Wil, who scored twice, scored a spectacular goal on the power play. And only when the score was 1:4, the “Admiral” finally recovered and went into desperate pursuit.
Young defenseman Yegor Nikitin, on loan from the Moscow Club Admiral, scored the first goal of his KHL career, and then another defenseman, Alexey Solovyov, scored on the power play. After 35 seconds, Eric O’Dell again reinforced the guests’ lead and another goal from Solovyov could no longer affect the outcome of the match. Dinamo took the match to its seventh consecutive victory and headed to the airport to finish its trip to the East with a match in Novosibirsk. And the “Admiral” coach, Leonid Tambiev, came to the press conference to express the delicate point.
Last season, the Primorye Club became the main discovery of the KHL season. Under the leadership of Tambiev, who was in his first season in the league, the “sailors” reached the second round of the Gagarin Cup, where they imposed crazy resistance on the future finalist of the playoffs, Ak Bars (2:4). In the off-season, the Vladivostok club suffered significant losses in its squad and could not adequately replace the deceased leaders. At least that’s what it seems for now. And not only in the eyes of journalists, but also in the eyes of Tambiev himself.
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The loss to Dynamo was Admiral’s sixth in eight games. It’s worth noting that the Mariners began the regular season with a six-game road trip. Those from the Far East are out of the playoff zone and occupy only 11th place in the Eastern Conference standings with six points. And in the next match “Admiral” will play against SKA. Meanwhile, Tambiev publicly rebuked his team today at a press conference.
To begin with, the 52-year-old specialist made a brief protocol comment on the match, immediately identifying a “big problem” in his team.
“The comment on the match will be brief: we have a big problem with the central forwards. This match proved it once again. You don’t need to be a great specialist here. And, in principle, congratulations for fighting until the end. But today, again, not all of our players corresponded to the level of hockey that was in the arena. I repeat once again that the big problem is in the center backs. There is no Berlev and this axis in our team sinks a lot. That’s all he wanted to say.”
And then came the journalists’ questions and, while answering them, Tambiev could no longer contain himself.
“A timid start to the game? It’s a question of level. Yes, Dynamo looked very powerful and we couldn’t cope with them, I agree with you on that. Congratulations to Khomchenko for keeping us in the game in the first half. But here it is all together. We lost battles, single combats… Well, almost the entire fight was lost. During the last 12 minutes we played in three lines. I had to seat people who were sitting out the game, and that’s when the game started.”
“Do we start playing with the score 0-2? The team loosened up, but to do so I had to seat three players. The game is made of mistakes, lost micro-duels, lost confrontations and lost things. Half of our attackers today simply lost the entire fight. Here they bring out a fresh player who did not play in the last game and brings us two goals. Lost throw-in and foul goal when they run over him as if he were standing. To be honest, there are enough problems. We will try to solve them. I liked the last 10-12 minutes, when we played with three lines. That’s when the command sounded. You can be happy for the young defender Nikitin, who scored the goal today.
We get a lot of chatter from some of us. They talk a lot, but do little. I would like them to stick their tongues out and get to work and plow, like Dinamo did. This is what I want to see. Last season I didn’t have as many talkers on my team. Some players talk so much it’s amazing. Honestly. Sorry for the emotions.”
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Then the head coach of the “Admiral” and his legionnaires got it. From the context, it is clear that these were two forwards: Tyler Graovac and Giovanni Fiore, who clearly did not stand out in the Admiral lineup today, although they did make an assist between them.
“Sheng’s team is a little tired and there is no one to shoulder the burden of leadership. This is natural. Young players cannot, like locomotives, drag everything. Where are the rest of us? Where do we have these two legionnaires? I do not see them. So far I don’t see how foreign players should play. “I can tell you this objectively and honestly.”
At the end of the emotional game, Tambiev supported goalie Khomchenko and spoke about the field hockey players who let their team down time and time again.
“Serebryakov is sick. Nikita was supposed to play. But for Pasha Khomchenko there are no questions. He kept the team together as long as he could. I tried and I fought. But we have people who just let the team down. They shake their heads, shake something else and just let them down. In all the lost games we have people like that. The games just fail. Because of his poor preparation, because of his ability, because of his hockey intelligence. I wish there weren’t people like that at Admiral.
If we include such people in the composition, then I am wrong, but we do not have many personnel resources. I would love to make some personnel decisions regarding players, but there is no one on the market, plus there is a financial question, but that is not a question for me. The selection and signing of players is a normal work issue. I would like to see other players on this team. Strengthen the team, but we have to work with these players. It is what it is. We will sign what we can afford, but taking just for the sake of taking… I don’t want that either. What I want from these players is for them to benefit the Admiral. This is what I want, not for you to sit and nod your head, pretending to be worried. You show it on the field when the stadium is full and you concede three goals after missed throw-ins. And what can we talk about here?
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Interestingly, at the same time in Khabarovsk, less harsh in content, but in the same sense, another coach of the Far Eastern club was outraged. Amur coach Andrei Martemyanov also harshly criticized his team after the big defeat against SKA (0-4). The Russian coach especially attacked his players, stating that at the moment he does not see the team in Amur.
I wonder if these methods of Tambiev and Martemyanov will work positively, or if the emotional state of their teams will become even more unstable due to such harsh speeches. “Amur” will play its next match only on September 27, but “Admiral” will play the day after tomorrow, with SKA gradually gaining momentum. And now it will be incredibly interesting to watch the performance of the Primorsky Club in this match. Will the “sailors” recover from so much emotional beating or will they continue to sink?