Dhe voltage drop was chosen deliberately. Toni Söderholm allowed the players a form of idleness that they were not allowed to experience before during their stay in Latvia. A special form of sightseeing was on the program for them on Thursday.
Accompanied by a police escort, the selection of the German Ice Hockey Federation (DEB) was chauffeured to the Baltic Sea coast, where they got the opportunity to “breathe deeply” for two hours on an otherwise deserted sand dune, as sports director Christian Künast described it: “There they could move freely and let your mind wander. ”It was the first time at this World Cup that the team – away from the hotel balconies – was able to get some fresh air.
Franz Reindl described the circumstances under which the 16 best nations in the world are currently competing for the title in Riga as “life-limiting”. In view of the corona pandemic, the tournament is associated with a large number of restrictions for everyone involved. The interim conclusion of the DEB President was all the more positive. He was “very, very satisfied” with the performances of his own team so far, but also with the willingness of all competitors to make the best possible out of an unusual situation: “There are many unexpected results, and thanks to all athletes,” said Reindls Findings from the first week of the event.
No planning security
Söderholm’s ensemble also had to painfully realize that there is no planning security this time around so quickly. Nothing came of the early qualification for the quarter-finals, which would have been determined with a probability bordering on certainty with a victory over Kazakhstan. Anyone who thought that the newcomer to the A-Division would continue to be as successful as in the first three games won, including the high-voltage performance against Canada, was proved wrong in the fourth match within six days.
What hurt Söderholm and Reindl more than the annoying 3-2 defeat was the failure of Lukas Reichel. The 19-year-old striker from the Eisbären Berlin, who moves to the NHL for the Chicago Blackhawks in the summer, was no longer available from the second third; and so the attack lacked an element that had been animating until then.
The youngster was the victim of an attack by the Kazakhs Ivan Stepanenko, who knocked him down regardless of the losses. It was an action that should no longer be seen in a sport whose masterminds have tried for years to minimize the health risks associated with the hunt for the puck. Particularly inconsiderate checks are frowned upon. All the more astonishing that four referees did not intervene. Reindl was accordingly angry. “The shoulder hits the head, it doesn’t work, it has to be stopped,” said the DEB President. “That’s a no-go.”
Health above all
He was sure that Stepanenko would be held accountable to the disciplinary judges for his offense. In the second game against Norway, Markus Eisenschmid and Maximilian Kastner fell victim to head checks, and there was only one penalty. “It doesn’t help us that a player is subsequently suspended,” complained Söderholm, who announced that he would exercise caution before reinstalling Reichel, who is at the beginning of his career. Health is above all, said Künast, who reported that the team doctors would have to examine the teenager more closely to determine whether he had suffered a concussion, which could mean he was unable to play at the World Cup: “Lukas is doing well so far. “
The Germans don’t have to work again until Saturday. Then against Finland, the 2019 champion, who has not yet been in dominant form. And that’s why Dominik Kahun believes in a convincing reaction from his colleagues, despite or perhaps because of the setback against the Kazakhs. The Edmonton Oilers NHL professional arrived on Wednesday retrospectively and immediately went into individual quarantine in the hotel room.
If all the corona tests turn out negative, he can train with the group from the weekend, and his World Cup debut will be possible against the United States on Monday at the earliest. It was an “honor” for him to be part of the national team, said the 25-year-old, who decided to leave for the Baltic States within an hour of leaving his Canadian club in the battle for the Stanley Cup.
He was still “very, very tired”, he reported of the consequences of jetlag, but he could “hardly wait to get out of the room and get on the ice”. At the Oilers he only sat in the stands during the final games of the season. “Now I’m hot and want to step on the gas here,” said the former Munich man, who was one of the pillars of the team that won the silver medal at the Winter Games in Pyeongchang. The balanced starting position reminded him of the Olympics, he said.
“Everyone has the chance to tear something at the World Cup.” The team spirit could make the difference in favor of the Germans. “Everyone is there for each other,” said Kahun, “that is the best prerequisite for winning something.” Although he traveled late, he wanted to stay longer. And that means: it is best not to leave before the medals are awarded on the first weekend in June. “I came,” said the striker, “to get as far as possible.”