Zagreb Bears are in Karlovy Vary where they are diligently working to prepare for the new KHL season. “Camp in Zagreb was tough mostly because of the heath and ice conditions. It’s cooler here, so it’s easier to breathe, although the tempo went up. We’re on the ice twice a day and focus mostly on tactics we didn’t have time for before. We’re working a lot, but we feel good. We’re looking forward to the game to put in practice what we’ve learned,” new Bears D-man Goran Bezina said.
New Bears forward, Alexandre Giroux is of similar opinion and says everything is going according to plan: “It has been good so far, last week was more about being in shape and now we’re focusing more on our system. It’s good to be back on the road. We’re spending a lot of time together and we’re getting to know each other better both on and off the ice.”
Gordie Dwyer’s team played their first exhibition game this past Tuesday. The Bears overcame Avangard Omsk, not at all an easy opponent, and went right back to work.
“We played against a very, very good KHL team a day after we came to the Czech Republic. The win gave us a dose of confidence, but, it was clear that we have a lot of work ahead of us. New players need to fit in, get accustomed; for us it was a first game, and a third for Omsk. Among other things, we really have to stay out of the box,” Bezina commented.
How much work is ahead of them and how far they’ve progressed, Medvescak players will have an opportunity to test tomorrow (Saturday, 6 August) starting at 5:30 PM CEST in Ivan Hlinka Winter Hall in Litvinov where they will face off against homonymous club. HC Verva Litvinov won the Czech Championship in the 2014/2015 season and fell into a problem last season to finish it second last in the standings. For the Czech team, as well as for the Bars, this will be a second exhibition game. Litvinov celebrated in the first one against Plzen after a shootout (3:2).
“I am very happy to have a part of our training camp in the Czech Republic, so I can be home for a little while. I look forward to the next game because I will play against my friends and my whole family will be here, so it will be fun,” another new D-man Jakub Krejcik said, and added:
“First games are always important, although not for the result this time, but the approach. It’s still early, it’s normal that mistakes will happen. We need to learn to play with each other, and that’s a process.”
It’s a process of finding their game and creating line combinations and D-pairings. In the last game Bezina was paired up with Thomas Larkin. He thinks the two of them had a good start, but can do much better:
“Everything’s still new and we need time, but Thomas and I had a good understanding on the ice. He’s a good player and we get along off the ice, so that also helps. There’s a lot of room for improvement, we’re lacking automatism in our game, but that’s normal in this phase. We’re not worried, it will come with more games and ice time.”
Giroux explained what will be the focus of tomorrow’s game against Litvinov: “As for the game on Saturday, we want to play our system. We don’t want to worry too much about the other team. We just want to get better as a team to get ready for the real season.”
Textual transmission of the game is announced HERE.