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Andrei Popov getting ready for new season

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Traktor Chelyabinsk returned home after training camp that was held in Pinsk, Belarus. Andrei Popov admits it was a tough camp.

"The practices we had in Belarus were quite severe, though I can be pretty confident in saying that every single one of us could handle the load. So everything is fine. Besides, after returning from Pinsk the team was given two days off. It was possible to spend that time with just relaxing and recovering. Two days was enough to rest."

"I was definitely satisfied with the conditions there. Everything was at hand and we didn't have to take the bus to go anywhere. We went to the pool and the sauna every day."

Traktor has a new coach for this season and Popov says the difference is noticeable already now after a couple practices.

"Yeah, the differences are visible. Every coach has their own approach in principle, as usual."

Traktor didn't only switch coaches, but rebuilt their whole team by adding a lot of key veteran players, such as the Czech world champion Petr Vampola, Slovakian Roman Kukumberg and ex-NHLer Vitali Yachmenev. Popov isn't afraid of the competition, but just happy that the team seems strengthened.

"The players we added are all good and well known. They all came from good teams where they had big roles. I'm confident that every one of them will strengthen the team."

Traktor starts playing preseason games on August 13th.

"First and foremost these games are important for coaches where they can test their tactics and try different line combinations for the season."

Popov is careful with his expectations for this season when the team has changed so much.

"It's difficult to draw any conclusions. We have another month of training, to reach the ideal condition, so let's wait for September."


Source: Traktor Chelyabinsk