HC Dinamo Minsk general manager: I am responsible for Dinamo's loss in KHL playoff

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HC Dinamo Minsk general manager: I am responsible for Dinamo's loss in KHL playoff

General manager of the hockey club "Dinamo Minsk" Vladimir Berazhkou answered the questions of the CTV program Hot Ice.

Vladimir, your first season as the general manager of Dinamo Minsk ended with a record 100 points in the regular season and an incredible failure in the playoffs. Could you play against Jokerit in any other way?

Vladimir Berazhkou: We could but we had a lot of key players injured. Solving the problem of playoffs, the team acted selflessly for the entire season, and without sparing the stomach. That is why so many players, including the key players, were injured.

At the meeting with the fans at the end of the season, you took the blame for the loss in the playoffs on yourself. 

Vladimir Berazhkou:
I sincerely think I am to blame because I am sure that the coaches have done everything possible with the players they had. Strictly speaking, the task of a general manager is to provide them with these players. Unfortunately, I was unable to provide a complete squad who could compete against Jokerit. 

But I am not going to resign. I think it would be cowardice. And in the next season those who may come instead of me will have it much more difficult because they will be expected to earn those 100 points again. 

The most bizarre episode, according to many, is the absence of Alexei Kalyuzhny in Helsinki, in the fifth match. Such a crucial match, and no captain. On the Internet, there was information that the captain had a conflict with the club's international players.

Vladimir Berazhkou:
This once again demonstrates the essence of the Internet, including not only the forums, but also online resources. Journalists take responsibility and write such nonsense.   This is a serious statement. There was nothing like that of course.  Alex wanted to go but we decided that the national team will need him and the World Championship is ahead. There was a risk of injury. And he would be ruled out for months. And then the team would be left without a captain. But this World Championship is crucial in terms of the ranking and selection for the Olympics. This is the most important tournament of the season for us, for Belarusian hockey. If Kalyuzhny had got an injury, this would have been irresponsible.

Will Lubomir Pokovic remain in the team?

Vladimir Berazhkou:
This is the most difficult question, the most painful and most important.  But, in principle, Lubomir expressed his intention to leave the team because he believes he is tired, he has worked in Dinamo for many years - three years. That's enough from his point of view.  In my opinion, Lubomir has managed to create a team of like-minded people in the coaching staff. And the respect of the players to him is absolute. Many players, including Jonathan Cheechoo, called Lubomir the best coach in their career.

What to expect this summer, what positions are you planning to strengthen?

Vladimir Berazhkou:
First, the goaltender. We need a number 1 goaltender.  Without heroism on the back line, there is nothing to do in the playoffs.

Second. We need a strong defenseman who can play under pressure.

Incidentally, one of the guests of our program, the chief editor of the portal by.tribuna.com Oleg Gorunovich believes that you need to apologize to the former leadership of Dinamo. This is due to international players. I quote: "Berazhkou criticized the leadership of Dinamo for the naturalization of players, for the abundance of foreign players. In principle, nothing has changed, the picture is the same, but we have a better result.

Vladimir Berazhkou:
This once again shows the irresponsibility of these statements, because, in fact, I can tell you what has changed. Firstly, the formula has changed. When we played in the playoffs against Lokomotiv and Dinamo Moscow we had more foreign players and no limits existed. In addition, the salary budget of that team and the present version is incomparable. Back then it was 25% higher. What is 25% of the salary budget? It's five players who we lacked in the match against Jokerit. These 25% were sent on the development of youth hockey.  I think that no one is ashamed at the player to whom we have given a passport this year (Nick Bailen). And this is a very good purchase for the whole Belarusian hockey. So I am not going to ask anyone for forgiveness.

Vladimir, you probably watch the championship in terms of search for some talents for Dinamo. Can you tell us about some hot prospects?

Vladimir Berazhkou:
I don't want to specify anyone. We are now watching new players.  We are watching the most capable and the best. Because one thing is the regular season, and another thing is the playoffs. There are guys in the Youth Hockey League and the championship of Belarus. We will invite some guys to the training camp for trials.

This week, the fixture calendar of the Belarus team at the Youth World Championships became known. In late December Pavel Perepekhin's charges will compete against Finland, Slovakia, Russia and the Czech Republic.

The playoffs are guaranteed for teams that take places from 1st to 4th in the group. Otherwise, our guys will have relegation playoffs against the last-placed team from the other group.