Czech hockey player Lukas Radil – about the strange country of Russia, the KHL and the methods of work of Russian coaches

“Russia is a very strange country. I don’t even know how to describe the Russians.” Czech revelations about the KHL

Elena Kuznetsova

Elena Kuznetsova

Interview with Czech hockey player Lukasz Radil

Lukasz Radil remembered the incident with the fans in the Spartak locker room and walked through the methods of work of Russian coaches.

Czech striker Lukas Radil spent five years in the KHL with a break for two seasons in North America. He played for Spartak for four years, having managed to become the team’s fourth scorer during its performance in the KHL, and spent last season in Dynamo Riga. Now Radil has returned to his homeland and gave an interview to the Czech website, in which he spoke about his life in Russia.

“Russia is a very strange country. I don’t even know how to describe the Russians”

– At the age of 25, you left the Czech Republic for Spartak Moscow. How did you adapt to life abroad?
– The hardest part was in the beginning, as always. When I first came to Moscow, I practically did not go anywhere, I sat at home. I’m still such a person, I don’t like change, so it wasn’t easy for me then. But looking back, it was a very valuable experience. After getting used to it a little, you begin to get acquainted with the culture and everything around. I’m not saying that everything has always been positive, but the experience of living in another country is quite interesting.

– We sometimes wondered what was happening there at the Spartak arena. For example, one day, after a series of defeats, fans came to the team’s locker room (This refers to the sensational case six years ago, when the fans of the red-and-whites came to the team’s locker room, swore obscenities, insulted the players and made claims for poor results. – Approx. “Championship”).
– Yes, the fans in the locker room – it’s tough. This is a very strange country. I don’t even know how to describe the Russians. In communication, these are very pleasant guys, as soon as you get to know them better, they become friends for life. But in the group they are so tactless, intractable. They have their own stubborn system, in which they sometimes blindly believe.

This is not football.  Why did Spartak let the fans into the locker room?
This is not football. Why did Spartak let the fans into the locker room?

– What can you say about the departure of the Czechs and Slovaks from the KHL in the current situation?
– I think it’s on everyone’s conscience. Personally, I would be afraid to go there, you never know what will happen there. I don’t think this is the right way. Time will tell whether it was worth going to the KHL in such a situation.

“In the KHL, the game system is not important. If you lose, the players are to blame, not the coach.”

– At the same time, you really liked Riga, you said that the hockey style in the KHL suits you.
— Yes, I really liked the style of hockey. Very technical and fast paced game. I played well there, on a large court, thought is important in the game.

– Have you noticed the difference with international hockey?
– The game is faster there. There are Swedes and Finns who are traditionally good with the puck and skate great. But the main difference is in the observance of the system. In the KHL, the game system is not so important. I don’t want to scold the Russian coaches, but there, if you win, then everything is fine. And if you lose, then the blame falls on the players, because the coaches organized everything well. So the main difference was in the system, which, on the contrary, is well established in the NHL.

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Lukasz Radil: in Spartak I played the hockey that gave me pleasure

What was so special about the NHL?
– Everything is several times faster there.

– Even compared to the World Cup?
– Yes. This difference is achieved due to the smaller platform. This is a huge difference between the NHL and other top leagues in the world – the KHL, the AHL, the championships of Sweden or Switzerland. Everyone there is very smart. Fast, smart and confident. There are strong players, no one makes too many mistakes. Everything is perfect.

Lukas Radil

Lukas Radil

Photo: Edgar Breshchanov, “Championship”

– After three seasons in cold Moscow, you left for the hot west of the United States. Was it another shock?
“Something new again, another interesting place. I was lucky to get an offer from San Jose and play in America. And I was able to play in the NHL, fulfilled my dream. A few positive things came together – we lived in California, and the farm club was located next to the main team. It was a big advantage, I didn’t have to go anywhere. In other clubs, players have to fly for four hours between the NHL and the AHL, and you are transferred between teams quite often. I didn’t have to fly that much, so life in the US was easy. Plus, California is gorgeous, one of the most beautiful places in the world. And one of the most expensive (laughs).

– Now you have moved to Pardubice and said that, perhaps, forever. Do you feel like it’s time to settle down somewhere?
– Let’s see, I will act according to the circumstances, but I like it at Dynamo. I no longer want to go abroad, now the world is not so smooth. This is not the time to go somewhere, but Pardubice is close to me, I grew up here. But in sports you can’t think far, anything can happen in a career, so you only have to think about the next match.

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