Riga, April 26, LETA. Elvis Merzlikins has expressed a desire to protect the goal in the last test match of the national team before the world championship, the head coach of the Latvian men’s hockey team Harijs Vītoliņš said in a conversation with journalists on Tuesday.
The Latvian national team will play test matches with Switzerland on April 30 and May 1, and compared to the matches in France, there are changes in both the training process and the choice of line-up.
“Players also need to relax a bit, there are many ways to create trainings with different elements of hockey. We have made the trainings more intense, but shorter,” said Vītoliņš.
The head coach also revealed that after the match with France, no player was removed from the list of candidates. “Covid-19 has not gone anywhere, so we play with six shifts, which are divided into two groups. All those who stayed at home before the match will play in Switzerland, because most hockey players do not have practice practice. We have been working on speed and explosiveness for the last two weeks. “is one of the most intense teams in Europe, which will show us whether we are catching up with our opponents in terms of speed. After that, we will have ten days to analyze the situation,” explained Vītoliņš.
The expert also said that after the games with Switzerland, it is likely that there will be a reduction in staff. “We’ll see how we play, hopefully we’ll get injured. Those who won’t be new players. But I thought it was a good step in their careers to” kick “the air on the national team, got to play. I saw many players from North America for the first time “It ‘s unfortunate that they can’t be evaluated more often, but there are a lot of new promising players,” said Vītoliņš.
Speaking to potential candidates from the U-18 national team, the American Hockey League (AHL) and the National Hockey League (NHL), Vītoliņš admitted that if necessary, everyone available will be invited, but preference will be given to NHL representatives.
“The U-18 national team will have to wait for the end of the championship, then we will see the situation. and it would not be right to save space for AHL players, because AHL is not the NHL, I know their level and how they played for NHL players, “said Vītoliņš.
“Some of the substitutions after the test matches in Switzerland will not change, some will change, because after the accession of Rūdolfs Balcers there will be a change in the line-up. But I want to put experienced players together to play. Merzlik expressed his desire to play in it, “Vītoliņš told about the changes in the matches in Switzerland and the composition of the national team in the last games.
On April 30 and May 1, Latvians will visit Switzerland, and on May 8 and 9, they will have matches with Kazakhstan at home.
The Latvian national team at the World Championships in Group B in Tampere crossed sticks with Finland, the United States, the Czech Republic, Sweden, Norway, Great Britain and Austria. Canada, Germany, Switzerland, Slovakia, Denmark, Kazakhstan, Italy and France will play in Group A. Helsinki.
It has already been reported that after the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the International Hockey Federation (IIHF) suspended all Russian and Belarusian national teams and clubs from competitions organized by the IIHF.
Russia and Belarus will be replaced by France and Austria, which ranked the highest selection of countries not expected to play in the top division.
The 2022 World Championships in Finland are scheduled for May 13-29.