Andy Potts Andy Potts
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Amid the celebrations, CSKA’s players and head coach shared their thoughts on lifting the Gagarin Cup at last.

Igor Nikitin, head coach, CSKA

The guys were 100% prepared for this one, they played great, they kept their concentration. We won today because we didn’t want to give Avangard a chance. We had a collective that was truly united behind a single aim, I’ve been with this team for a long time and this season it felt from the very start like we could finally win the cup.

What would it take to make you smile?

I’m smiling, I’m just really tired.

Maxim Mamin, forward, CSKA

That cup’s really heavy! I think I strained my shoulder! What can I say about this season? It was worth coming back from the NHL. I could only dream about ending the season like this.

Tell us about your winning goal?

I saw that the puck was flying towards the net and automatically lifted my stick. Maybe I was just lucky. But when I saw the puck in the net, the feeling was unreal: I just wanted to run, first one way, then the other. We knew we could get back into the game, even when we were down 0-2. There was never any panic, we understood that everything would be OK. Once we got our first goal nobody had any doubt that we would win.

Ilya Sorokin, CSKA goalie and playoff MVP

It’s hard to talk about how it feels, right now everything’s a bit of a blur. My head is still in the game. I need to step back, get myself together and then the feelings will come. In this series we didn’t have any nerves, we just enjoyed our hockey. We believed in each other and believed that we would win.

Every one of our players is an MVP. We couldn’t have done this if we didn’t have all these guys. I’d like to say a huge thank you to all the guys for their fantastic work. Nobody could have imagined that we could finish the final in four games. You look at all the games, every time it was on a knife-edge and could have gone either way. But it turned out that this was our time.

Mikhail Grigorenko, forward, CSKA

We spent the whole season working towards this moment. It’s hard to put into words, it’s just great that finally, we are the champions. The series was really hard, we fought tooth and nail and 4-0 doesn’t reflect what was happening on the ice. Avangard played really well all through the series. But last year’s experience really helped us, when we lost to Ak Bars. Without that loss, we wouldn’t have today’s victory.

Kirill Kaprizov, forward, CSKA

You can’t compare winning at the Olympics with today. But it’s always good to win any tournament. It only seems like we won the series easily. In reality, it was a harsh battle in every game.

Sergei Andronov, CSKA captain

It’s just unreal. We’ve been on such a long journey to get here. Maybe it was even worth losing two Gagarin Cup finals so we could really understand what it means to win. All that contributed to our victory today. There’s been so much work over those years, it’s been a huge part of my life and now I’m so happy. I’m proud of all our guys.

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