Beat your own so that strangers are afraid. Sochi players staged a bright brawl in training

Egor Torishny

Egor Torishny

Sochi players staged a bright brawl in training

Hockey players “leopards” in the truest sense of the word are fighting for getting into the main team.

Sochi Hockey Club was founded in 2014 and made its debut in the Kontinental Hockey League at the same time. The dynamics of the performance of the southern club in the KHL has long outlined a negative trend. If at the beginning of their stay in the league, the Sochi team were a pretty nice and interesting team that managed to get into the playoff zone at a stable level, but recently the Leopards have firmly established themselves in the last places in the Western Conference.

Such a result could not but have a negative impact on the fall of spectator interest in the club. At the beginning of last season, Sochi had a disastrous start to the regular season, effectively depriving itself of any chance of returning to the playoffs long before the end of the season. The team showed a depressing game in attack, for a long time not even getting to the mark of three goals scored per match.

For the better, the situation began to improve after the appointment of Andrei Nazarov as head coach. An experienced mentor managed to breathe life into the southern team – and at least it became interesting to watch the Sochi game. Sochi very quickly turned into a bright, sporty, daring team, trying to play attacking hockey that the audience likes.

Andrey Nazarov

Andrey Nazarov

Photo: Dmitry Golubovich, Championship

Even during the season, Nazarov managed to change the playing philosophy and thinking of hockey players. Under the leadership of the new coach, the Leopards recorded the historic defeat of the Admiral (8:2), which was the biggest victory in Sochi history. The team also played a number of beautiful matches that remained in the memory of the audience.

So at the start of the current pre-season, the southerners immediately marked a bright history. A week before the start of the home tournament, the southern club played a two-sided match in the “white” against the “blue” format. The game ended with the victory of the latter with a score of 6:5. According to the official telegram channel of the club, in one of the game episodes a fight broke out between Donat Stalnov and Nikita Ushnev.

Both young players joined Sochi’s roster this off-season and are now trying to gain a foothold in the club’s first team. 23-year-old Stalnov played only 12 games for Torpedo during his career in the KHL, and played the entire last season in the VHL, starting it in the Voskresensky Khimik and ending it in Lada. 28-year-old Ushnev has never played at the level of the best Russian league. The entire career of a pupil of St. Petersburg hockey by this period of time has passed in the VHL.

Yesterday’s match was the crowning achievement of Nazarov’s training camp. Based on its results, the Sochi head coach had to decide on the names of the lucky ones who will continue preparing for the new season with the KHL team. In this regard, it is absolutely not surprising that the players, even in a two-way match, fought for getting into the squad in the truest sense of the word.

The episode from the two-sided match certainly added whists to the players in the eyes of the Sochi coaching staff. If hockey players are ready to fight among themselves even in a training match, then they will certainly not give up in front of rivals in the season and will always be ready to fight if necessary. And now I would like to engage in moralizing and talk about such methods that such methods do not color our hockey.

Summer hockey will begin with a status tournament in Sochi.  The ultimate guide to KHL pre-season games
Summer hockey will begin with a status tournament in Sochi. The ultimate guide to KHL pre-season games

The ratings of the KHL are steadily falling every year. There are fewer spectators in the stands, and views of materials about the Russian league continue to decline. The original Sochi in such a situation can become a breath of air for the KHL, because it was interesting for everyone to watch Nazarov’s teams, wherever this coach worked.

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