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Author: Alexei Bautin (Football/Hockey Newspaper)
Translated By: Alexei Belousenko
Date: 10/18/2005
Kiril Safronov (Nashville Predators): In Yaroslavl We Simply Got Caught Up

2006 Russian Super LeagueAfter the movement of players from Metallurg (Novokuznetsk) to SKA (St.-Petersburg) during the off-season period many specials started following SKA as one of candidates for medals. But so far the club from Petersburg isn't fulfilling the high expectations. Though, after each game the team's performance looks increasingly better.

Six-game winning streak, and now, all of a sudden, a knock-out 1:6 loss in Yaroslavl...
K. Safronov: Lokomotiv played a super-match against us. We just ended up flattened under the roller. At the same time, quick goals affected the game. Actually, we had good chances to score, unfortunately, we didn't use them. Anyway, I consider this defeat completely appropriate. And, I agree with all of the poor grades that media gave us after the game.

In what aspects of the game is SKA weaker than the Super League leaders?
K. Safronov: We are not stable enough. But if we keep playing as we did in the home game against Ak Bars, when we played fast-pace offensive hockey, then we would get closer to the top teams of the league. We should.

Last season you played for Lokomotiv and then Khimik. Home games for these teams mostly mean sell out crowds. Do you have an explanation why the stadium in St. Petersburg is half way full most times?
K. Safronov: I don't know what attendance of home games last season was, but according to witnesses, it was far from sell outs there as well. Our team's poor start this season didn't add a nice mood to our fans, as well; therefore, as you noticed correctly, we have to play in a half empty rink. At the same time, as soon as we started winning, people little-by-little started coming to our games, as a result, there were about seven thousand people at our home match against Ak Bars. You know, people in St. Petersburg like the sport very much, and if our team performs during the regular season, than, I'm sure, the fans won't give up on us. Thus, the recipe of packing the rink isn't new: we have to win more often.

Why didn't you come back overseas after the end of lockout in the NHL?
K. Safronov: Due to certain family issues, I'm not going to leave St. Petersburg within the next couple of years. Nevertheless, I keep the NHL in my mind.

What can SKA contend for this season?
K. Safronov: First of all, we need to finish the regular season among top eight teams. It's too early to talk about medals; especially SKA didn't qualify for a playoff for a long time. But this season we'll get in the playoff for sure, and then we'll see what we are all worth.

Written By: Alexei Bautin (Hockey/Soccer Newspaper)
Translated By: Alexei Belousenko (RussianProspects.com)

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