One Time Canuck Igor Larionov Gives Interview On New Role As Head Coach of the Nizhny Novgorod Torpedo In 2022-2023 In The KHL.

In Nizhny Novgorod, the team board and new head coach Igor Larionov talked about the new season and the preparation for the upcoming 2022-2023 campaign.

According to the team’s General Director Alexander Kharlamov, all teams in the club’s vertical are preparing for the new season according to plan: The guys are out of vacation, so we can call the season open. The main team began training, Chaika is working on the training camp, and the guys from the sports school began their classes. Everything is going according to our plan.

Torpedo changed coach this offseason, when David Nemirovsky left the team’s bench to be replaced by the famed Igor Larionov. The Professor talked about the condition of the players: “I won’t say that everyone came in bad shape, but not in the best condition. We have time to improve some things and make them better. We want to bring some good, interesting hockey to the team, and we want the players to understand the principle. To go further step by step, without referring to any circumstances — neither on a small budget, nor on heavy loads, nor on anything else.”

Larionov also noted that it’s important for players to understand which club they represent: Me [and the coaching staff] came to a team with a rich and deep history. For guys who are new to the team and don’t know where they came to, we put up 25 pictures of former players and coaches in our locker room. When you come to the team, you don’t have to think about what name is written on your back. It’s important that they understand where they came. It’s a very important nuance to connect the team to the city so that the players exactly understand where they are. Nizhny Novgorod is a hockey town with a rich history. We need to pull ourselves together for success.”

The coach talked about what motivated him to accept the offer from Torpedo: “I’m interested in a project where I can prove myself. All the more, I have roots in this region. My mom was born here in the village of Gorelovo, Borsky District. The financial issue for me is always in fifth or sixth place. It is important that I had enough freedom for creativity. To win something, you need to understand where you can apply your experience so that it would be useful. And in the conditions that we have. I have already explained to the players — we aren’t going to buy here, we want to develop. It’s always easier to buy than to grow. We forget that we have Russian talent that can become good players. That’s the number one challenge for us. If we raise four or five players that few people knew today to the next level — that will be our biggest success.”

Speaking about the style of play he would like to see the team play, he stressed: We want to play some exciting hockey, which should be fun to play. And the creativity, the hockey intelligence and the physical condition of the players have to be at the highest level to bring it all out. Not only do you have to run fast with your feet, but you also have to have balance with your hands and head. We must have four units that can attack. Last season, eight players scored 14 goals. That’s not good for anything. Our job is to give the guys confidence that they can play. If everybody is 10-15% better than they are now, it will be a big result. Our game will be aimed at attacking. We are not interested in playing for a 1-0 result. We want to score a lot in every game. That is what our trainings are already aimed at. In the KHL we can be guided by Metallurg. We want to play some combinational, ‘creative’ hockey.”

The Professor noted that for him and his coaching staff the team is important: “We don’t rush anywhere and that’s how we’ll build the team. It takes 12 hours to build a Toyota, and it takes six months to build a Rolls-Royce. So, there’s no need to force anything. We will examine step by step every young player under the microscope and correct those nuances that are necessary. As for the coaching staff, I’m not afraid to say that Andrey Kozyrev is one of the most promising professionals who is deeply involved in the game and understands what we want to do. Mikhail Vasilyev has a lot of experience not only in Russia, but also in Europe. And Nikolai Khabibulin is a legendary character who can pass his experience to our goalies. The coaching staff consists of people who are ready to give an opportunity to our players to move forward not only in the game, but also in life. The coaches are open to communication around the clock. Both with the players, the fans, and the press. Soon we will go to the training camp in our region. The doors will be open for everyone there so everyone can come and look at their favorite team.”

The coach concluded by stressing the importance of an individual approach to each player: There will be no sprints this season, there will be a marathon. That’s why we have to reconsider a lot of things in terms of preparation. Training, daily regime, meals… It’s very important to eat right and take a rest. Twelve games in twenty-four days in September is a serious load. To make sure we won’t fall into a hole, to make sure the players are good in every game, we will monitor everyone every day.”

Main photo credits: HC Torpedo


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s