More than a month has passed after Team Russia won the 2014 ice hockey world championship in Minsk (Belarus). THW’s interviewee Oleg Mosalyov commented on the championship’s games in one Moscow’s finest sport pubs – Liga Pap. We asked Oleg to share with us the feelings and emotions that reigned in Moscow during the championship and the final game.
THW: Oleg, how can you explain such an enormous change in the results of the Team Russia during the World Championships as compared to the Olympics?
OM: The sbornaya (national team) recruited many young players with great potential, yearning for big victories. Plus, they starting playing offensive hockey, the forward lines were cleverly matched and obviously the players were giving an extra effort to show the head coach they were worth his choice!
THW: What was the role of the head coach in this change?
OM: The role and the personality of the head coach have been great. Znarok managed to create a family atmosphere within the team, the players were diligently working on the tasks assigned to them, and the Russian hockey family was victorious!
THW: Can it be said that the success was partially due to the failure of competing teams to have equally strong rosters compared with those they had had at the Sochi Olympics?
OM: Of course, the competition was not as fierce as at the Olympics, but still this success seems to be a prelude to future great victories.
THW: What was the atmosphere in Moscow during the World Championships?
OM: The whole city was supporting the sbornaya as one and at the same time wanted to forget the failure at the Olympics. I was working as a commentator of the semifinal and the final games in Moscow’s “Liga Pub” and I tell you that it was quite a sight – all the people in the streets supporting the sbornaya as one! On the pub’s summer terrace, at the roadside the cars stopped and formed three lines of motorized fans, people just stopped and watched. It was just impossible to watch the people without strong emotions!
THW: And what were the victory celebrations in Moscow and in the whole of Russia?
OM: This part was quite traditional – the cars trumpeted the whole night, and people were just having the time of their lives.
THW: And what is your opinion as to who was the most valuable player on the national team roster?
OM: It is really hard to single out one player. So, let me give a line: Tihonov, Shyrokov, Zaripov. And, of course, the young Kalinin played outstanding hockey.
THW: Russian Head Coach Oleg Znarok violated almost all the sanctions imposed upon him by the IIHF for the final game. Do you think he has done it out of necessity or was this a challenge he threw to the IIHF management?
OM: While doing as he did Znarok was just himself, there was no challenge in his actions.
THW: Has the Russian hockey federation already set the next season’s goals for the sbornaya?
OM: We have to and will go to our main goal – winning the Olympics. And we have made the first step towards it. I just wish the national team the best of luck!
Hockey has taught me what passion is about and it continues to do so. That is why I have a strong intention to live my passion for the game.