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We will see an interesting game

Vladislav Tretiak did not deny that the Russian team will struggle to win the world championships, but at the same time he declared that any medal would be a success
By Kirill Karin

After end of the formal ceremony of the raising of flags of the participants of the 78th Ice Hockey World Championship, the Head of the Ice Hockey Federation of Russia and legendary Soviet goalkeeper, Vladislav Tretiak, appeared in the centre. And it is quite logical, after all, according to many fans and the state of betting shops, the his national team is the favourite for the tournament.

Vladislav Tretiak did not deny that the Russian team will struggle to win the world championships, but at the same time he declared that any medal would be a success.

“I’ve just spoken with the President of the International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF), Renй Fasel, who watched the test match Switzerland-Canada, in which the founders of hockey whitewashed their opponents 4:0,” says Mr. Tretiak. “In the composition of the ‘maple leaves’ are a lot of young players who have already proved themselves. The strong teams are the USA and Sweden. ‘Tre Kronor’ will be represented in Minsk by 8 hockey players who are playing in the NHL. Therefore, do not think that this tournament will be an easy walk to the podium for anyone. Remember, how last year at the World Championship in Sweden and Finland we lost in a quarterfinal to the American national team — 3:8, which was also experienced and young. Many teams equal in strength will fight in Minsk. I hope that new stars will shine at the IIHF World Championship-2014, while veterans will sparkle with their skill. Whatever happens, we will see some interesting hockey.”

Does it mean that this tournament is less important compared to last year’s tournament?

Not at all, every young hockey player, the participants of the IIHF World Championship-2014 will want to glorify their own name and to be assured of a national team position not for a year, but for several years. Therefore, I am sure that all players will have high speed and give their maximum dedication. I saw Finland, the Czech Republic and Sweden in ‘Euro-tour’. These are potentially strong teams with healthy ambitions.

In all national teams there are many refusals, including the Russians, how optimal is their claim for IIHF World Championship-2014?

In general, this year we did not complain about those who refuse. We have never had them before the Olympic Games, unlike the Swedes and Finns who constantly complain of them. And if we have them, they are necessarily connected with important reasons, for example, traumas. Radulov received a serious trauma, Kovalchuk had an operation and Zaripov has not yet recovered. Therefore, we have not any players who refused because they did not want to play in the national team.

Yet the Internet is full of comments about the best goal-scorer of the KHL and the most valuable play-off hockey player, Sergey Mozyakin, not being in the team.

We consider this question, but, seemingly, it is justified by his state of health. It simply happened so — his error is that it was necessary for him to arrive to the national team and to see the doctors. There are no problems, because the trainers are adequate and understand everything.

But maybe Mozyakin was offended that he was not included in the Olympic team.

I doubt it. The national team had other coaching staff in Sochi. What has Bilyaletdinov to do with Znarok?! That was an absolutely different team. I think that we have not offended any hockey player.

Has the team managed to prepare and to approach the World Championship being fully armed?

We will see. I was at the training in Novogorsk and in Sochi. Both goalkeepers, and forwards and defenders have prepared seriously. Certainly, Switzerland is very serious contender, and the first duel of the group stage will be very difficult for us.

It seemed that Russians perceive this team somewhat indifferently, but it was the silver medallist last year.

Earlier this was true, but after last year’s ‘silver’ in Sweden and Finland, it is necessary to be fully prepared for the Swedish players.
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