Preparations in Petersburg

19 August 2020

On SKA’s official website, we have long-awaited news about the upcoming Puchkov Tournament. For us, this is long-awaited because it’s the Dragons’ first pre-season tournament of the summer and only now we get to know our full schedule.

It’s the second time Red Star has gone to Petersburg as part of its pre-season preparation. Two years ago, we had a successful time of it by the banks of the Neva. After starting with a 1-4 loss to SKA, the Dragons reeled off three successive victories, beating Sochi 3-2, Jokerit 2-1 (OT) and Severstal 5-1. With eight points in total, we came third in the overall table, behind SKA and Avangard. At that time, wins in regulation earned an extra point and that alone enabled the Hawks to get away from us.

That year, the tournament featured six teams, and each played four times. This time, we have six competitors again but each will play three games. Once again, we won’t be playing against Avangard – which makes sense, since we’ll be seeing plenty of our Chernyshev Division rival in the coming KHL season.

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Here’s the Dragons’ schedule (all times are local):

Aug. 24, 19:30 – HC Sochi

Aug. 25, 19:30 – SKA

Aug. 27, 14:00 – Torpedo

All the games will be played at SKA’s Ice Palace but, unfortunately, fans will only be able to watch on TV. For obvious reasons, spectators will not be permitted in the arena.

Speaking of those ‘obvious reasons’, today saw the team undergo its latest coronavirus tests – and once again, we had not one positive result. Great news! It means we can quietly get on with our work, preparing for the tournament and the final stages of our pre-season program.

Two years ago, Alexei Kovalev was at the Puchkov as assistant to Jussi Tapola. Now he returns to Petersburg as head coach in his own right. It’s a significant moment in his coaching career – a familiar environment, but a whole new range of responsibilities. We believe that Kovi is ready for the next test and we hope his team won’t let him down.

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