On April 22, after the end of the friendly match between Lokomotiv and Loko, a press conference on the results of the 2021/2022 season was held at the Arena-2000 press center, during which the President of HC Lokomotiv Yuri Yakovlev answered journalists´ questions.

- With what do you associate the unsuccessful start of the team in the season and the problems in September? What you guided by when Andrei Skabelka was fired?

- I think that the problems started much earlier, and not in September. It all started during preseason. There are many reasons. Here is the preparation for the season - not only the coaching staff, but also the players themselves. Maybe the pre-assigned role of the favorite of the season influenced, some guys, reading the opinions of experts, unfortunately, do not quite correctly react to the meaning of what was written. There were enough good reasons that made us change the coaching staff and try to rectify the situation.

- The team played for the first time after the tragedy on September 7th. Do you still agree that it was worth playing that day?

- When we announced that we would play on September 7, we wanted to give all the fans an opportunity to come together and honor the memory of the departed guys, because time goes by, we see that fewer people come to commemorative events. Life is life, people have many worries. And when a hockey match takes place that day, this is an occasion not only to watch the game, but also to remember the guys. We believe that this is correct.

- How would you rate the first season at the MHL level for the Loko-76 team? Did the guys cope with the task and will this project be continued next season?

- Yes, this project will continue. As for the evaluation of the performance, I would divide the answer into two parts. Firstly, the players who formed the basis of the youth teams last season do not represent the strongest ages of the schools, but despite this, I think that everything is not so bad. Loko-76 started the season very well, eventually making it to the playoffs. Two teams are needed to follow the club´s strategy: mass character, plus the implemented methods, plus our great desire to invite guys to the first team. To do this, we need a wide choice. Many experts believe that we need a Major League team, but I don´t think so. Guys who show themselves in the JHL, as a rule, can immediately get into the main team. In addition, we have signed a cooperation agreement with Molot Perm, and the guys have the opportunity to take a “higher league course” there. We believe that having two schools, we need two youth teams.

- What was the reason for the change of coach at Loko and did Alexander Ardashev stay at the club?

- Alexander Ardashev, as far as I know, will work as a coach in Ryazan. We will help him in any way we can. As for the changes, then such a coaching share: if the situation is somehow not very successful, it can not always be corrected from the inside. I had to make this decision.

- How do you feel about the possible tightening of the limit of legionnaires to three? Is it true that Lokomotiv can do without legionnaires at all next season?

- I´m fine with this decision, because there are fewer and fewer qualified legionnaires. You also need to seriously think about how to raise your own. Not only mine, but also the general opinion - there are not enough Russian qualified players. Many teams, few players. Now it is easy to make such a decision, it is unlikely that anyone will score even three, so the decision is normal. As for us, we are preparing for the fact that there will be no legionnaires. If someone appears from those who suit us, we will certainly invite. But now we are preparing for the season without legionnaires.

- A question about the situation with Boucher. How unexpected was this story and how did they part, did they pay compensation?

- For us it was a complete surprise, a man did something there 11 years ago, we even theoretically could not know about it. Of course, for us it was a slight shock, because this player went out on the first link, a three was built on him, for us it was very unpleasant. On dismissal - we are dealing with this issue, in a month, I think, there will be complete clarity.

- Contracts are being extended now, and Lokomotiv retains players who failed to raise the team to some new level. Was there any thought to update something in terms of composition, to exchange someone?

- There is a collegial decision of coaches, scouts. We work in accordance with our strategy. If there were players who could be taken for normal money and who would suit us, we would certainly take them. But the situation is developing in such a way that for various reasons it is not possible to take the right people. Something I want to update, but it does not always work out.

- There are rumors that Artur Kayumov may leave Lokomotiv and wants to try his hand overseas. How can you comment on these posts?

- My opinion is that Arthr will not leave, although anything can happen. Arthr is growing as a player. In my opinion, it´s too early for him to go. So far I have not heard anything official on this subject, I hope that he will play with us.

- Artyom Anisimov did not take part in the friendly match. Where is he now and will he be in the squad next season?

- Artyom is now in the USA, training, preparing. We really hope that he will play for Lokomotiv next season.

- Which of the players do not plan to renew the contract?

- Now it is difficult to talk about it, because selection work is in full swing. There will be no foreigners, we are in negotiations and discussions with the rest of the guys.

- What will Lokomotiv´s budget be like next season? Are there any financial guarantees from Russian Railways?

- There are guarantees, we are obliged to present them to the League. So far, there is no threat in this situation. We do not know how events will develop, but we believe that everything will be stable.

- Are the team´s pre-season plans for the summer period ready?

- Now everything is discussed. Our first tournament will be in Ufa. We start, as usual, in Yaroslavl. A couple of friendly games are planned in Kazan.

- How do you feel about the departure of Jokerit and Dynamo Riga?

- I think that for the League, and for hockey in general, this is a big loss, if we take the sports part.

-How can you comment on the information that it is planned to increase the number of games in the KHL regular season?

- I think that the calendar is too busy: games every other day, flights. I think we need to reduce the number of pauses in the championship. World practice shows that national teams do not need so much time to prepare. It is necessary to raise the quality of the players, the quality of the games. The guys have no time to recover, communicate with their families - in my opinion, this is not normal.

- What positions are Lokomotiv paying the most attention to now?

- Now we are looking for players for all positions. There are not enough players. It´s good that we have our own strategy, which is especially important at the moment. Goalkeeper position naturally worries us all. Looking for options.

- Will the coaching staff be strengthened by someone or will it remain in its current form?

- I don’t know how to strengthen it anymore (smiles). I think that Igor, together with his assistants, is quite qualified. Powerful coaching team, which is able to solve the highest tasks.


- Probably, the season of Maxim Shalunov turned out not the way Lokomotiv would like?

- Of course, we would like Maxim to play better. I hope so. Sports life is hard: he did not have a pre-season, there were injuries. We hope everything gets fixed. There is potential, a non-standard player, we believe in him.

- How likely is it that Ilya Konovalov will return to Lokomotiv?

- Firstly, he has a valid contract. When it is released and there are specific proposals, we will consider it.

- Why did you decide to sign a new contract with Yegor Averin?

- We think that Yegor is very useful. It happens that players do not fully reveal their potential. He has great potential. There were unsuccessful seasons, somewhere he himself underestimated his capabilities. We believe in him. Now is a time when young people are clearly not enough experienced players. In this regard, we rely on Yegor.

- Some teams pay compensation for the transfer of restricted free agents. Is Lokomotiv ready to go for it or will it continue to adhere to the principle of signing unrestricted free agents?

- Yes, we tried not to "buy" players. Now the situation is such that we may bear additional costs. It all depends on how the selection work goes.

- What updates will be in the "Arena-2000" before the next season? In particular, will there be a new video cube?

- Most recently, we talked with the director of Arena-2000, Sergei Popov. Replacing the cube, in spite of everything, is planned. There will be small updates in the hall. We plan to replace the area of the boxes in terms of a more comfortable finish for the audience. We will change something in the team area. Approximately in this direction. The most significant thing is a new cube, we hope that everything will work out.

- How can you evaluate the work of Rashit Davydov, who joined the team during the season?

- Rashit Davydov is a very highly qualified specialist. I think that he really helps the formation and growth of young goalkeepers. We are very pleased with his work, we hope that he will raise many more young goalkeepers. Thank him for this work!

- Which of the young players are you planning to invite to the summer training camp with the KHL team? And specifically about Yaroslav Likhachev is interesting.

- Now the youth is participating in the training process, both individually and in team activities. Coaches are very attentive to the young. Of course, we really want as many young people as possible to join the team. But there is a difference between youth hockey and adults. Today you yourself saw that someone lacks strength, someone lacks character. I think 10 people will be at the training camp, and then we´ll see. The doors are open for everyone