During the break, we had time to talk to Georgiy Badalyan, one of the leaders and the best sniper of Mogilev Kuznya.
— Georgiy, your team has been in the leading group since the start of the tournament in Electrostal. As one of the leaders of the team you have conquered the hearts of the fans and the experts with your unorthodox outlook on the game. You are now among the leaders of the whole tournament in terms of points. You, like many players in your past, have gone the way of the professional classic ice hockey player. Is short hockey in hockey or is it a separate sport?
— No, it is the same hockey, just a little different: different speed, different mentality. Individual skill is less of a priority, but teamwork is more important because, banally, you can’t score without a partner.
— Your team has suffered a loss of the goalkeeper. How does he feel and when will he be able to return to Kuznya?
— Yes, it’s a great loss for us, especially before the play-offs. Nikita has added confidence in the back of the net, sometimes only thanks to him we managed to win the games – we went on the attack with the whole team, and Sandyr closed our net. Nikita is feeling better, but his return to the team is questionable. I would like to believe that he will help us in the decisive games, but health is more important, and if it does not allow, then we will go out and fight for him as well.
— In this tournament many teams try to make their squad stronger by bringing in more and more players. Kuznya probably remains one of the most stable teams in Electrostal in terms of roster. It’s already evident that there’s little time before the playoffs to add new players to the roster. If at all, it should be done with players from other teams (Play-offs regulations state that a player can play only if he’s played 18 or more games in the regular season) Maybe your club already picked someone from the opposing camp, or will you still want to fight to the end with your current roster?
— We have a good squad and we are not even thinking of changing anyone. We have been cutting off “passengers” – that’s true, but we have full understanding and good interactions between the players now, so why change something that is already working well. We will finish with those guys who we were with during the whole championship.
— With which of your opponents would you like to meet in the first round of the play-offs?
— I think the Chetyre Ledokola. We didn’t have enough games against them in the regular season and we want to play some more (Laughs). Actually – there is no particular preference. Everything depends on us, the higher we place in the championship, the lower our opponent will be in the seeding. But lower doesn`t mean easier, of course, we must keep that in mind. We’ll be ready and give our best to everyone, it’s not even worth mentioning.
— You were a participant of the Belarusian stage of the World Series. Many people believe that the tournaments are of a much higher level. What do you think? And why such a difference?
— In the Electrostal tournament we had more skillful players than in Belarus. So what can I say, if there are players with experience and potential in the NHL. That’s why I think the games became much more dynamic and interesting. There is no such a lead as there was in Shklov. With one week to go before the play-offs, the champion isn’t even known yet, although at the Belarusian stage everything was clear to everyone long before the end.
— Three matches per day for the team – isn’t that a lot? Do you have time to recover?
— Just in time. Guys have enough time to recover, especially as we have, though a small, but rotation of the squad, someone has the opportunity to rest every game.
— So let`s say, in the outside world, there is the opinion that short hockey is a bookmarking league. What do you think?
— I think it’s a professional league. There is a very good level of both players and organization. I don’t care where the money comes from and I don’t think other hockey players do either. Thanks to the ISHF and the tournaments that the federation holds, I have the opportunity to do what I love, and everything else is of secondary importance.
— Who are Georgiy Badalyan’s personal fans?
— My friends always support me. Sometimes, on weekends, they even come to watch me play. Support is very important for a hockey player – we have to understand who we are playing for.