Training of the Czech hockey team before the Swedish Games, February 7, 2023, Prague. Pictured is coach Kari Jalonen.
Malmö (Sweden) – despite the threatening result (1:6), the coach of the ice hockey team Kari Jalonen assessed the duel with Finland calmly and deliberately. And he still had an effect on the team even with a six-goal deficit after two thirds. As he said in a postgame interview with reporters, the team recruited him because he made too many mistakes. The experienced coach expects to make amends in Sunday's game against Switzerland.
“It was an amazing game in a way. We played very good hockey in the first period, but we got two cheap goals. After the first one, we were the team we wanted to be, but the second one was preceded by too many mistakes . And other mistakes resulted in more goals. Then it looked like the match was over,” Jalonen assessed the unsuccessful match in all respects.
Despite the threatening score and poor performance, he remained faithful to his principles even after the second period – he did not shout at the players. “I don't yell at anyone. I don't believe it can work. It's not even my style and it won't help anything if I start yelling at 0:6. That won't help anyone,” he explained.
“After the second period, we talked with the players mainly about the fact that we have to show character, fight. I asked them to show fighting spirit and win fights. Because I don't believe you can win if you don't win fights. And you could see it in the third period. I think it was already good from our side. However, if you make as many mistakes as before all those goals, it's difficult. And you all know the result,” he added.
He was clear about what made such a big number of errors were coming out. “We allowed them to be outnumbered too much. They scored from three when they turned the game around and went on a quick counter-attack. That was too much. We have to take it with humility and honestly admit what was wrong. We have to recognize the result, Finland played well but they took advantage every opportunity they had,” Jalonen said.
When asked what positive can be taken from such a defeat, he paused for a moment. “We definitely don't feel good about her,” Jalonen agreed. “We have one more match against Switzerland ahead of us. We have a chance to show character. At the meeting, we will analyze the match, prepare for the situation and decide who will catch. We will get some sleep and be ready for the next match,” assured the experienced coach.
Both goalkeepers Petr Kváča and Aleš Stezka, who replaced him after the fourth goal, did not have an ideal day today either. “But we don't want to throw the blame on the goalkeeper. The whole team is responsible for this and we all play together as a team. Of course, they also had their work to do. However, they were part of the whole team just like other players,” emphasized Jalonen.
For the third period, the coaches rearranged the composition of the formations. “I liked how Musil played the whole match. It was a positive message from him. We will now change the line-up for the last match, maybe a little more than we planned. We will still think about what we can do before the match against the Swiss,” concluded Jalonen.