Cody Franson, defenseman, Avangard:
A shot like Chudinov’s is just great, it gave us all such a boost. If he carries on in that vein, it’s gonna be awesome. I wouldn’t even try something like that in practice, it’s definitely his thing. If we had a shooting contest between him and Zdeno Chara, Chudi would win it. The way he shoots is kinda scary. If there was a contest between him and me, he’d win that too!
In the last game of the final you scored a great goal on Ilya Sorokin, today you scored on Lars Johansson. Maybe CSKA is your favorite team?
CSKA is a really strong team. To stop them, you have to be at 100%. I think we did that today, we played a good game. As for me, if I get a chance to score I want to take it.
Of course we looked at the final again. CSKA hasn’t changed much over the summer and we were up against pretty much the same opponent again. We studied their game, and it worked out for us.
Today you played without Zernov or Voynov...
Our success is down to the way we show character in every situation. Of course Zernov is a big loss for us but we need to play strong in any circumstances.
Maxim Chudinov, defenseman, Avangard:
I’ve already scored a few goals like that, so it gives me confidence. The key thing is to get it on target. To be honest, I practice them. After everyone else is done I stay on specially to shoot at the net. The coach is happy for me to shoot from long range. Even if I don’t score, the puck might bounce to the corners, and our forwards can chase it down and put pressure on the net.
You had another shot like that and Johansson struggled to stop it.
I guess he was nervous.
Have you ever measured the strength of your shots?
No, never. To be honest, I don’t pay much attention to that, and don’t worry about which players have the hardest shots.
How important was it to win today after losing to CSKA in last year’s final?
We’ve already forgotten about last season, we just wanted to take the points. We have the same aim in every game we play.
Kirill Kaprizov, forward, CSKA:
I wouldn’t say that Chudinov’s goal disrupted our game. There’s nothing special about allowing a goal like that. We just needed to find a response to it. In the third period our finishing wasn’t good enough and that also influenced the result. We could easily have score more.
Was it tough playing on different lines during the game?
I try not to pay attention to that, I just get on the ice and try to do what is asked of me.
Bob Hartley, head coach, Avangard:
I’m proud of my team. We were disciplined all through the game, nobody panicked after the first goal and in the end we got a great win. Voynov didn’t play in this one because he has a minor injury, we expect him back in the next game. As for Zernov, he had surgery and will likely miss five or six months.
In my coaching career I’ve seen a few goals from the other blue line but this is the first time I’ve seen the same player do it more than once. Maybe he’s going to be the leading goalscorer from outside the attacking zone. We have some pre-determined plays but within that players can decide for themselves when to try a shot. If the shot gets results, there’s no need to ask permission. The main thing is to get the puck in their net.
All the reports about Shcherbak ending his contract are just empty rumors. He’s a great young player and we have a good relationship with him. In the past few years Nikita hasn’t played as much as he’d have liked and he needs to get his confidence back. We hope that he can enjoy his game and we’re working on that but we have to understand it’s not an overnight process.
Igor Nikitin, head coach, CSKA:
We couldn’t beat a well-organized team because we didn’t have the right spark up front and we lacked concentration at times. It was tough for us to break down a well-drilled defense. But games like this can only help us, we will learn from it.
I don’t think Johansson was affected by Chudinov’s goal – after that he played more than 30 minutes without allowing another one. Anything can happen in life. The mark of a master is how he responds to that situation. As for Sorokin, he had a big workload last season and even back in the spring we worked on how he would prepare for the new season. We decided that the first two games would start with Lars.
Has Avangard changed much from last season?
It’s hard for me to say, I don’t know what Bob Hartley and his team did in pre-season. But I can definitely say that they’ve done a lot of work. Hockey is decided in the details and today they were better than us. At CSKA right now everyone has to earn his place in the team. We’ve no group of leaders and every player understands that perfectly well.