Four defeats in six test games: The German team will look very different at the World Cup.
The fourth defeat in the sixth World Cup test in Dresden Hakte Toni Söderholm quickly, his gaze immediately went to Munich and Berlin. Because what the national team will look like in Finland is decided in the final of the German ice hockey league (DEL). “We take a day or two until we know who is still fit,” said the national coach after the 2: 3 against Slovakia in the penultimate preparatory game at magenasport.
The Finn has not yet had time to play for the World Cup, so far there were predominantly “new faces” for the future, for the World Cup, the games were more of patterns without value. At the end of the season extended due to Corona, the players of the present still fight for the German championship title every day. “It is clear that the schedule is not exactly optimal for us,” said Söderholm.
Should the final series between the Eisbären Berlin and Red Bull Munich go over the entire distance, numerous international players would not be available to him even at the World Cup general rehearsal next Sunday (5:00 p.m.) in Schwenningen against Austria. And the anxious question is: Who will survive the stress of possible five finals in seven days in seven days?
First of all, Söderholm wants to clarify who is physically and mentally fresh enough for the World Cup from the retired DEL semi-finalist Adler Mannheim. In addition, according to the DEB sports director Christian Künast, “The official promise” of the clubs of the NHL professionals Philipp Grubauer (Seattle Kraken), Moritz Seider (Detroit Red Wings) and Tim Stützle (Ottawa Senators) is available. John Peterka (Buffalo Sabres) and Lukas Reichel (Chicago Blackhawks) must first compete in the AHL playoffs. With the battered Sweden legionnaires Tom Kühnhackl and Tobias Rieder, “the chances are rather low”.
Söderholm: “Now there are decisions to make”
The World Cup participation of captain Moritz Müller, who has not yet agreed after the birth of his third child, is also open. Despite all the problems, Söderholm is “confident that we will get a good team up in this short time”.
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Of those who stood on the ice in the six test games in the Czech Republic, Switzerland and Slovakia, not many will be at the World Cup. “I hope that they take a lot from these experiences and increase from year to year,” said the national coach, who helped a total of seven debutants to their first international matches. With the performance, he was “quite satisfied” after only two victories, but four defeats. But “now,” he emphasized, “there are decisions to make”.