It’s always cloudy in St. Petersburg. Does anyone seriously think that SKA is no longer the favorite?
Dmitry Storozhev September 16, 2023, 13:00 Moscow time Audio version: Your browser does not support the audio element.
Even four losses in a row are no reason to write off the Army team.
SKA’s losing streak in the KHL regular season is now four games. And this despite the fact that only six games were played. The next victim of the army team’s unprecedented generosity was Dinamo Moscow, which, following its neighbors Spartak, also took two points from St. Petersburg, scoring three goals for the Ice Palace hosts.
Review of the match with Dynamo:
SKA sinks deeper and deeper. A controversial decision by the judges and a terrible mistake caused a new fiasco
All SKA’s detractors, who for various reasons abound throughout our vast country, rub their hands with joy: after the first six games of the season, the club from the northern capital has only four points earned in matches. with the same Dynamo and the newcomers to the Lada league. . Roman Rotenberg’s team is currently in 10th place in the Western Conference; only Vityaz was below SKA and finished at the bottom of the standings with two points. At the same time, the team is perhaps the one that scores the least: the St. Petersburg team only beat its opponents 11 times. The aforementioned “gentlemen” and the players of “Lokomotiv” did it less, which has a reserve match with respect to the army team and two points ahead in the classification table.
There is a stark contrast to the previous season, when SKA went on a nine-game winning streak at the start (which was interrupted by Dynamo themselves), and subsequently St. Petersburg did not allow themselves such steep dives as they do now. , losing at most three games in a row (that was a trip to the Far East followed by an unsuccessful visit to Novosibirsk in November).
At the same time, it cannot be said that the army team has irretrievably lost its matches: at the end of the away series, its offenders were the Nizhny Novgorod Torpedo team, which is now a threat to absolutely any KHL team, and Lokomotiv, which is traditionally a difficult opponent for SKA in their place. On both occasions the final advantage of the winners was only one goal: the fight in these matches always lasted until the last second.
The young and daring “Torpedo” does not yet know defeat:
Easy teenagers. Larionov is destroying the KHL, with 17-year-olds and no leaders
The Saint Petersburg team had a frankly disastrous match against Spartak, and specifically the first two periods. That match can really be considered one of those in which they could do little to counteract the opponent: then the Muscovites completely crushed the opponent and took two points, without allowing SKA to score a single goal.
With Dynamo, Petersburg appeared in a different way: it was a hungrier and more aggressive team that had every chance to compete for a positive result if it had not been let down by discipline problems and Stepan Falkovsky’s serious mistake. who had just recovered from an injury.
Maxim Dzhioshvili scores Dynamo’s third goal against SKA
Photo: Ilya Smirnov, foto.khl.ru
I see no point in insisting on other reasons for the recent failures of the SKA: a detailed text about them was recently published in the “Championship”. But I would like to remind you that the army team suffered longer falls two and four years ago. In 2019, the military team, then led by current Dynamo coach Alexei Kudashov, managed to lose five games in a row, two of them against the not stronger Neftekhimik.
Text about the causes of SKA problems:
Five reasons for the sadness of St. Petersburg. Why isn’t SKA playing as a favorite?
Two years earlier, the situation was even worse: SKA, even with Valery Bragin, set a personal record, suffering six defeats in a row. Only the lazy did not ask the 67-year-old specialist to resign: Valery Nikolaevich still left his post, but only after the army team emerged from the crisis and returned to the leading group of the Western Conference. And this happened in the regular season with 48 games, where there was much less time to correct mistakes than now.
All the last seasons of the St. Petersburgers are united by one thing: despite the series of anti-record defeats, changes of coaches and endless roster turnover (even the newcomer with the highest status in the league, Alex Galchenyuk, is not immune to this), SKA finishes the regular season at the top of the West and reaches the conference finals, where they lose safely to their Moscow teammates. And the main problem of the Neva CSKA team is precisely this, and not in such, albeit unpleasant, segments during a quiet championship.
Photo: Ilya Smirnov, foto.khl.ru
After all, does anyone seriously think that these four (or even five, six) consecutive defeats will leave SKA out of the playoffs or take away its favorite status? You can make fun of Roman Rotenberg’s press conferences as much as you want, selflessly repeating from match to match that SKA will improve and savoring every mistake of the army team. But it makes no sense to believe that the current Continental Cup champions are being clouded. In St. Petersburg it is always cloudy, and even in these conditions the club is still among the best in the country.