Why did the Russian national hockey team fail at the World Cup? Interview with Valery Bragin – 06/06/2021

The Russian national team on Thursday in overtime lost to the Canadian team with a score of 1: 2. Bragin spent his first season as head coach of the national team.

“After the World Championship, we at the headquarters made the first conclusions, analyzed the team’s preparation for the World Championship. We make such reports after each tournament. Boris Petrovich Mikhailov raised the topic in the media. We respect the opinion of the eminent player and coach, and therefore decided to make this report public. The preparation plan for the World Championship was made up of four micro-cycles, the volume of loads was distributed between them in order to bring the team to peak form during the tournament on the rise, ”Bragin said.

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“The first microcycle consisted of strength training with moderate weights, no explosive strength, working with your own weight to bring the players to a common denominator. The second microcycle was basic, it added explosive strength and speed, and working weights increased in strength training. The third microcycle (shock and the heaviest in terms of loads) included tests on a bicycle ergometer and the use of a maxi gas analyzer, added the agency’s source. – The test results helped to understand the state of the players, and based on this, the loads were distributed in the cycle. The fourth is a recovery and maintenance cycle, which is aimed directly at preparing for the games of the World Cup. “

Explosive work

Bragin noted that after the release from quarantine, the training loads of the Red Machine hockey players were aimed at explosive strength and speed and muscle tone.

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“After the release from quarantine, already in Riga, work was done on explosive strength and speed in the gym. In the course of the World Cup, work was performed with a load leading to the games, which allowed the players to maintain muscle tone, explosive strength and speed throughout all games, the coach said. – During training, hockey players were constantly monitoring the tolerance of training loads. After the game, the athletes performed recovery work and maintenance work in the gym. After arriving in Riga, NHL players worked according to an individual program before joining the team training. “

“As for the selection, before the World Cup, the team was recruited from the strongest KHL players who were healthy,” added Bragin. – Hockey players such as Mamin, Semenov, Shipachev were injured at the time of the call to the national team. At the same time, they fully counted on the played three Mamin – Shalunov – Okulov. In addition to them, during the preparation and during the World Cup, Okulov, Grigorenko, Tolchinsky, Kuzmenko, Karnaukhov, Zub experienced health problems. “

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Tough season, pandemic and shortage of players

According to Bragin, many factors influenced the result of the Russian national team: from the effects of the coronavirus pandemic to the reduction in the number of candidates for some positions for the team from the Continental Hockey League (KHL).

“Some KHL hockey players were physically squeezed out after a tough season in which every club experienced a pandemic. It is also worth considering the fact that the current regular season in the NHL began later. due to pandemics, continued Bragin. – In the course of preparations for the World Cup (after the matches against Switzerland and at the Eurotour), it was decided that it was necessary to strengthen the lines of attack and defense at the expense of NHL players, since according to the latest information the OI-2022 will be held with the players of this league. For various reasons, goalkeepers Georgiev, Shesterkin and Samsonov, defender Zaitsev, forwards Ovechkin, Panarin, Buchnevich, Guryanov could not join the team. “

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“The number of candidates for the national team from the KHL clubs that meet the requirements of the international level has been decreasing for several years. As a result, the competition for a place in the squad is reduced, at the moment there are fewer than two players per seat in certain positions, and there is a shortage in such positions as defenders, center forwards and goalkeepers. So, for example, only one Russian goalkeeper played in the Gagarin Cup semifinals, – said the head coach of the Russian national team. – The recruitment was carried out taking into account that there was a balance between the lines, between attack and defense, that is, in modern hockey, players must have universal playing skills, nevertheless, they tried to use the strong qualities of one or another hockey player. Because we planned to play aggressive fast hockey with a quick transition from defense to attack and back, with the observance of density and an emphasis on puck control, creativity and aggressiveness at the opponent’s goal, since our traditions were also taken into account when completing and building the game. “

Equal play

The Russian national team reached the quarterfinals of the World Cup from the first place in the group, gaining 17 points after seven games. In the group stage, the Russians won six wins (one in the shootout) and suffered one defeat, scored 28 goals with 10 conceded.

“If we say that it didn’t work out as a result, then if you look at the statistics, you can see that we, in principle, had an advantage in all games, or at least equality in terms of performance, but I want to say again that everything is decided by nuances and details”, – said Bragin.

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“For example, throughout the tournament we experienced difficulties with pressure, withdrawal from under pressure, as well as when playing positional attacks, – continued the specialist. – We failed to score more than one goal in the ¼ final. Yes, the individual game segments were good, but to crack the tight and organized defense that teams like Canada have, you need to play all 60 minutes without losing quality and pace in team and individual technical and tactical actions, systematically perform the game task. “

“For example, for all 60 minutes it is necessary to regularly close the goalkeeper, technical defects and losses should not exceed a certain threshold, turn on the legs at the necessary time to ensure consistency, open faster, turn the body and legs as required by the game situation, play with sticks in martial arts are better. These are all the nuances and details in which we conceded a little and which could not be fulfilled at the proper level, ”summed up Bragin.

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