Talking with Tretiak
Talking with Tretiak
"A pity that Russia hasn't played in the final"
The IIHF Council member and Soviet goaltending legend first spoke about Russia’s bronze-medal finish on home ice:
I wouldn't want to give to the Russian national team a school mark: A or B. The nation made it by itself. Everyone comes up to me and congratulates. They feel regret for not winning the gold medal. But nobody says that the guys haven't worked hard on the ice. They have clawed their way through and were playing a beautiful hockey game.
I respect the Finnish national team. But should we take it for a model and concentrate on defence? Should we practise such tactics as well? The match between Russia and Canada might have made for a more exciting final game. You know both teams play open hockey, as it was in the battle for the bronze medal between Russia and the USA (7-2). It was an excellent game for fans.
Are you happy with the attendance in Moscow and St. Petersburg? The average of 6,522 was lower than in the years before. What’s your take on this?
The capacity of the arenas should be considered. The arena in Moscow is optimized for 12,000 spectators, and in St. Petersburg for 7,000. In comparison with it, next year the arena in Cologne will hold 18,500 and the arena in Paris 14,500.
In addition to it, it was very hard to get a spare ticket this year. The World Championship was organized well. Everyone is satisfied. And I would like to thank the fans for their support. There was a very pleasant atmosphere at the arena. We tried to create a festival of hockey and we reached it.
It was a World Championship of the 18-19-year-olds: Auston Matthews, Patrik Laine, Sebastian Aho, Connor McDavid became heroes. And are there such players in the Russian team?
We had six new players, who took part in the World Championship for the first time. Finland is a small country, 5.5 million people in all. But they have 260 ice rinks. It’s a better situation than in Russia. We have only 540 ice rinks for 140 million people.
The Finns work very well. But youth hockey is also well developed in Sweden, as well as in Canada. I understand that in certain years it can be different. There are young top players in Finland, yes. But apples do not grow every day.
For example, I have no one apple in my garden this year. And the last year there were a lot of apples. There is the same thing in hockey. One year there is a stream of stars, and the next one there is nobody. That's the way life is.
Have a look at Canada. 600,000 hockey players are there. They always hold up Canadians as an example for us. But how many medals did they win at the World Juniors and the U18 World Championship this year? None! So, does it mean that the things go poor in Canada? Of course not!
What can you say about Alexander Ovechkin, who scored only one goal in six games?
He didn't score on the power play. But this rink is larger than in the NHL so he couldn't make such powerful shots like in Washington.
I have no complaints about Ovechkin. He always comes to play for the national team. He’s a patriot of our country. If he had scored a goal against Finns, when he had been in front of the goalkeeper, the score would have been 2-0. It would have been easier to win the semi-final game. But Alexander is the team leader and sets an example.
I will be glad if Ovechkin beats my record. I participated in the World Championship 13 times and he 12 times. I will with pleasure give the record to him. And one other thing: Ovechkin's appearance always takes up the status of the World Championship. He is loved even in Canada.
After seven years Cologne will hold the 2017 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship again. Moscow did it after nine years. Is there a wish to put forward Russia's candidature for holding such a tournament?
I will just say it's perfect that the Russian national team will play in Cologne. You remember how many Russians live in Germany! We will play as if we are at home. We are always supported very well.
We haven’t thought about the next World Championship in Russia so far. We only work on bidding for the 2023 IIHF World Junior Championship in Novosibirsk. A new arena will be built in the city by then. It's our primary target.
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