SCHENINGEN (dpa) – National ice hockey coach Toni Soderholm has major concerns ahead of this World Cup, which is so special to him, in his home country of Finland.
Even with the short-term reinforcement by a total of seven domestic players from the Berlin champions and vice-champions Munich, not all of the team’s weaknesses should disappear. In addition to the previously skeptical defensive, there were also problems in attack. The short-term absence of former National Hockey League striker Dominic Cahoun means the next serious cancellation of the tournament starting Friday for Söderholm.
NHL pro Kahun will miss the World Cup
“Dominic tried everything to get fit. In the end, unfortunately, he got injured,” said Söderholm. The coach explained, “There were a few players who canceled in a short time, who probably had strength a month ago. It was different now that the season is over.”
The plane, which qualified for the semi-finals of the 2021 World Cup and the tenth Olympic Games, will board a chartered plane from Beijing on Tuesday, heading to Helsinki, amid doubts despite its victory over Austria in the last World Cup test. Kahun was injured in preparation. The 26-year-old played in a 3-1 draw in Schöningen on Sunday, when the squad was not ready for the World Cup.
Kahun’s elimination further complicates Team Söderholm’s already complex puzzle. Until the end, the coach was looking for a stronger crew who could take on the first challenge on Friday (7:20pm / Sport 1) against defending champions Canada. The fact that other rackets such as former North American professional Manuel Federer in Berlin, and Patrick Hager and Frederic Tevils of Munich have further canceled out the weakness in the selection of the intended Olympic compensation. In Beijing, the team was disappointed with the finish before the quarter-finals. According to DEB, the World Cup goal should only be set in the coming days.
Cedar hopes for a ‘boost to the team’
After all, the national coach can count on the main goalkeeper Matthias Niederberger, Berlin defenders Jonas Muller and Kai Weismann as well as Isbreen strikers Marcel Knoebbels and Leo Pföderl. Striker Yassin Ahliz is the only one from Munich besides Maximilian Kastner who was published on Sunday.
An added challenge now is to quickly incorporate the new forces into a few training sessions and, in the case of Berliners, after a prolific tournament party.
“No matter who’s coming in, it comes with a lot of tailwind. I think that can give the team a really good boost,” said NHL defender Moritz Seider. The 21-year-old from the Detroit Red Wings is one of three NHL professionals on the team along with Ottawa forward Tim Stutzel and world goalkeeper Phillip Grobauer of the Seattle Kraken — and the pre-eminent defender.
The defense worries DEB
The defensive occupation raised little hope of a successful performance to the finish. But also in the attack in Schwenningen, five days before the World Cup kicks off, a formation emerged that should not have a minimum quarter-final goal normal, even in the preliminary round the weakest group on paper. Söderholm listed lack of competence, puck losses, and inconsistent swordsmanship as problems. It’s actually the things that are important to us, and we have to improve there,” Finn said.
It is not uncommon for players to forgo a World Cup in an Olympic season. The consequences of the Corona pandemic took additional energy, and other players were injured. It was already clear that former NHL pros Tom Kühnhackl and Tobias Rieder were missing before DEB announced the team. So it will be even more important if other North American pros rise up the championship path. It’s unlikely that National Hockey League star Leon Drysittel will come.
The national team was nowhere near as bold as it was before the Olympics. “There can be a lot of criticism very quickly if the game doesn’t go well,” said Ottawa striker Stutzel. “That’s why I don’t want to say much.” But goalkeeper Grobauer did not depart from his firm belief in the team. “Our goal, of course, is to win the gold medal,” Kicker said.
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