Ramsay calls for courage, he was angry in training. He knows what a derby is: I know your history, it was the most beautiful division in history – WC 2023 – Hockey

One-hour training on Thursday, short ice-skating on Friday and off to the Czech Republic. Slovak hockey players are waiting for their first match at the World Cup in Riga. If we let only emotions speak, then the most important one.

Before him, Slovak journalists talked to coach Craig Ramsay. “The boys are trying, sometimes too much, I just want them to be ready for the Czechs. I believe in them, but it is important that they also believe in themselves,” he repeated.

Can a Canadian even imagine what the Czech Republic – Slovakia derby means?

Of course, we also have such big games in the NHL. For example, there have been sparks between Montreal and Buffalo for a long time. I know that for you Slovaks, the match with the Czech Republic is very special.

I know the background, I know about your history together, and what happened between you. It was the most beautiful division in history. However, we want to show that it is possible to compete with them.

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Don’t you have to suppress excessive emotions before the match?

Yes, that happens sometimes. You know how it goes, such a duel cannot be won in the first five minutes, but it is definitely possible to lose. When you want too much, sometimes it happens. We have to focus and play what we say in the booth. For a full sixty minutes.

I try to make the players understand that. However, this does not only apply to the match against the Czech Republic, but in general. All the time in the tournament.

You prefer active offensive hockey, the Czechs like to wait for their chance. Do two different styles collide?

(smile) It seems so. Everyone has their own idea and way of conducting the match. Yes, for many years in several clubs I also pushed for us to play from a secure defense, but when I came to Slovakia, I got the feeling that your game needs to speed up.

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Even today, a few clubs in the NHL play in the style of waiting for pucks in the middle zone, but most attack high and try to take them away from their opponents as quickly as possible.

The Czechs have a much more experienced team in Riga. It will not be a problem?

I don’t pay attention to these things at all. I know, many opponents will have several veterans on their team. Often also with experience from profiliga.

But you know what? I don’t care at all. I focus on myself and my team. I want my players to believe in what they are doing. I consider this the most important. Let’s not worry about what others are doing, let’s deal with ourselves.

You say that the players have to believe in each other. But is it happening?

I think yes. We talk about it a lot, practically since the beginning of the camp. I tell them it’s important to trust the coaches, but it’s even more important to trust themselves.

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Do you find it most difficult to choose the right goalkeeper?

Probably yes. We talk about it a lot. I still maintain that although it is a team issue, the final decision must be made by the goalkeeper coach Peter Kosa.

I am the head coach, I have the last word, but I will listen to him. Only once did I go against the goalkeeping coach’s decision and assert my opinion. I made a mistake. I try not to do that anymore.

After arriving in Riga, you said that the players seemed afraid to shoot at the goal. Has it improved since then?

(laughs) Not really. In the last practice, we dealt with this problem again and – I’ll admit it – I got angry again. But we are heading there. It’s easy to pass the puck around. it’s easy to pass it on to someone else. However, the player must take responsibility.

You split up the proven duo Cehlárik – Hrivík. Was this decision difficult?

Not very much. It is possible that they will be together again before the end of the tournament, but we wanted to change our face a bit. During my time in the NHL, it often happened that they changed my partner in attack. It worked and then things went back. I don’t make these changes often.

And what about power play? Five forwards on the ice is an unusual thing…

True, our powerhouse is quite fragile. It’s frustrating. I believe we will find a way.

Source: Pravda – Športweb – Futbal – Hokej by sportweb.pravda.sk.

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