“If I get to the Olympics, it won’t be fair.” Interview with Martin Bakos


“If I get to the Olympics, it won’t be fair.” Interview with Martin Bakos

In the offseason, HC Sochi significantly renewed its roster, and 31-year-old striker Martin Bakosh became one of the main newcomers to the team . The Slovak forward has already played on the Black Sea coast in the 2018/2019 season, after which he defended the colors of Admiral and Spartak. In an exclusive interview with the Championship columnist, Martin shared his emotions from returning to Sochi, talked about his work under the leadership of Oleg Znark and shared an unusual point of view regarding his possible participation in the 2022 Olympic Games.

“I’m already old if we talk about our team. How fast life goes! “

– With what feelings did you return to the club after a two-year absence?
– The best feelings were at the moment when I signed the contract. After the first season, it was not possible to sign a new contract, although I did not want to leave. But now my family and I are happy to return back to Sochi.

– Is the housing issue in Sochi one of the most painful moments?
– There is. But last season I lived in Moscow.

– In my opinion, renting an apartment in Sochi is even more expensive than in Moscow.
– Probably. But everything is clear here, because Sochi is one of the most popular resorts in the country. People come to rest, and living near the arena is expensive. We live in the Imereti region, and in the summer the prices there were crazy, but in the fall everything becomes normal.

– I had a chance to see the performance of one of the Sochi fans, who said that this season she again had hope for a positive result, because Bakosh returned to the team. Are these words pleasant?
– It is very pleasant to hear such words. But at the same time, this means a great responsibility that lies with me. If people are happy about my appearance in the team, then it is necessary to show yourself on the ice.

– In general, you feel the burden of additional responsibility, because you are one of the most experienced players in a very young team?
– Yes, and at such moments you understand how quickly life goes! It turns out that I am already old, if we talk specifically about our team. I remember the moment when I myself came to the team young and looked around at other hockey players. And now everything is changing in hockey – young players have a great chance to prove themselves, they are given playing time. And I want to help them with some advice, if possible, I always try to suggest what can be done better. But the most important thing is to be a good example on the ice.

– Did the transfer of the Swedish goalkeeper Magnus Hellberg significantly strengthen the team?
– Exactly. 200%. I don’t want to say that one player makes a team, but the goalkeeper is different. Even before Magnus came to our team, there was already Maxim Tretyak, and he is also a good goalkeeper. And now Hellberg has also appeared – the top goalkeeper of recent years in the KHL. As they say, in hockey, 50-60%, and in the playoffs, all 80% of success depends on the goalkeeper. Magnus’ crossing really strengthened us.

“If you work correctly on the site, happiness will definitely come to your side.”

– Your trio with Vikharev and Pilipenko had a very bright start to the season, but then the scoring process slowed down. What do you associate this with?
– Oh yes. If we talk about our performance, then this is true. But we have good points to use. But this is hockey. I am glad that in principle we have these chances. Goals, assists, points will come if you do well on the ice. I hope that this will come to us in the next match.

– What can you say about Pilipenko? For a long time he was considered a promising hockey player, but only at the age of 24 he is trying to fully gain a foothold at the KHL level.
– You know, it’s like with grapes. It all depends on maturation. You can mature by the age of 20, and then you will be the best. And someone at the age of 24 reaches the level – someone earlier, someone later. I saw Pilya back in Vladivostok, when we were on the same team. But at that time in “Admiral” such a situation developed that each player already had his own prescribed role. It was clearly defined who was playing where. And, unfortunately for him, our five scored goals, and he had no playing time in the first line. I think that in Sochi he should show himself this season. And then everyone will say – “And this guy can play in the KHL, in the first or second fives and in the majority.”

– One of Kirill’s specialties is the ability to score goals in the lacrosse style. Don’t you try these tricks in training yourself?
– As a child, I scored, but now it seems to me that at this level it is no longer possible for me. Now there are a lot of young players in hockey, and I won’t say that they play high, but they just have a little less responsibility for the result. And now they show that you can score goals in this way.

– At the start of the season, we suffered four defeats in a row, while in three matches they were leading. What is the team lacking to bring the games to a winning result?
– First of all, we need to improve the implementation of the moments. Take the last games in Nizhny Novgorod, in Mytishchi with Kunlun, and the match against Ak Bars. If our squad had scored at least one goal in these matches, then we would have had six points in three games. And everything would have looked different. But this is already the past, and we need to look forward, as always. I think we are doing the right steps, working well on the ice and completing the task. And in America there is such a phrase: “If you work correctly on the site, happiness will definitely come to your side.” Yes, maybe now we don’t score our own, we don’t get into an empty net, but we don’t need to think too much about it. It is clear that everyone wants to score goals, but there is a period when something does not work, and then you need to work even more and correctly perform game moments,

“The znarok said:” Take the medal, we have a gold one “

– How did you take Spartak’s decision to part with you?
– I had a contract for one more season, but the management of the club changed. You know, everyone has their own point of view – some people like the player, and some don’t. For me, the most important thing is to have fun in the end. Yes, we do hard work, but at the end of the day, you have to get high because we do what we love. When I accepted that the new management of Spartak had a different position on foreign players, we talked to the agent about this. We decided that we would go ahead and look for a new club. Everything is fine. This is a business.

In the NHL, such things are not even noticed – there are exchanges, because some club has a full payroll or one team needs a right-handed striker, and the other needs a left-handed one. And then deals happen. This is hockey life. And I am very glad that in a few days we reached an agreement with Sochi, which means that everything is in order.

"If I get to the Olympics, it won't be fair." Interview with Martin Bakos

– What feelings did you get from working under the guidance of one of the most titled Russian coaches, Oleg Znarka?
– I can say that this is a very good coach. You know, his strong point is the great feeling of his players. He feels the command and makes such small changes. And then the next shift comes and the person scores a goal. This has happened many times. I think we had a good season, but, you see, from the point of view of sponsors, we did not fulfill the task, and there was a change of leadership.

– In personal communication with him, did you remember the victory of Slovakia over Russia at the Olympics in Pyeongchang?
– Once we joked about this. Andrey Zubarev started everything, with whom we looked together at the photo where I ended up on the bench of the Russian national team. It happened in the same match at the Olympics in which I scored a goal. We laughed, and then Znarok said: “Oh, you already wanted to play in my team then.” I joked in response that I was the only one who defeated Russia, because your team lost only to us at that Olympics. And then he said to me: “Okay, take the medal, we have a gold one.”

“I feel at home in Russia”

– Are you surprised that your compatriot goalkeeper Julius Gudacek could not find a new club in the KHL?
– Julius spent several years at Spartak, and everything was already settled there. And after this change of leadership, they did not renew the contract with him. And he has a pregnant wife, who will give birth in a few days. And Julius decided to stay with his family. In addition, a team from our hometown has made it to the elite division of the Slovakian championship, and it will play at a high level. Therefore, now he decided to stay at home, and only then look for something new.

– In “Spartak” you had such a Czechoslovak brigade, because the team also had Radil and Ganzl. Do you miss them at Sochi?
– Lukash and Robin are great guys. And I think that all the guys who played for Spartak have learned a little Czechoslovakian. I have been in Russia for several years and already feel at home here. I know that I already understand everything in Russian and can speak. But if the team has compatriots, it’s still nice. The four of us were at Spartak, and it was very good.

"If I get to the Olympics, it won't be fair." Interview with Martin Bakos

— You yourself speak Russian very well – did you teach in a Slovak school or already in the KHL clubs?
— During the performance in the KHL, because at school my group no longer learned Russian. When I just started playing for Slovan, I gradually began to learn and understand something. There were good guys in “Kunlun” with whom I spoke in Slovak. Those who wanted to understand me understood and helped me learn Russian. So I added and added little by little. And now I can speak more or less.

“Getting to the Olympics is not fair play”

—Have you watched the Olympic qualification matches, where your team managed to win a ticket to Beijing?
—Looked. It is a pity that he himself could not take part in the selection. There were two reasons. First, I had a viral infection, not a coronavirus, but a different one. And secondly, I had no right to play, according to the protocol. I underwent surgery in the spring to recover for pre-season training with Sochi. And we agreed with the national team: this time the situation has developed in such a way that I must refuse.

—Is getting to the Olympics one of your priority goals for the current season?
— HM. My priority goal is to play for Sochi and get into the playoffs. The last time I was here, we played in the playoffs. And the whole team wants to bring that feeling back. And the Olympics … I did not play for the national team in qualifications for medical reasons. And from my point of view, getting to the Olympics is not fair play.

— Do I understand correctly that you do not want to take away a place in the squad from a player who, together with the team, won a ticket to the Games?
— Yes. Together they qualified for the tournament, and it is not fair to oust someone from the squad. We’ll see how it goes. I have a pregnant wife, and sometime in December we are expecting an addition to the family. I will accept any decision of the coaches. If I don’t go to the Olympics, I won’t be offended. I will stay with a small child and two more children. I was away with one for three months, with the other for four. For hockey reasons. Yes, if they call me, I will go. But if this does not happen, then I will be able to devote more time to my family.

“Several years ago there were wow-teams in the KHL, now everything is more or less on the same level”

— Another former club of yours, Admiral, has returned to the KHL this season. Are you waiting for a trip to Vladivostok?
— Yes, I’m waiting, because there were good and beautiful moments. Literally the day before yesterday, Vikharev and I revisited one moment – and he said to me: “Nostalgia.” You always look forward to returning to the city where you have already played. But now I am in “Sochi” and give my best 100% for our city. And playing for “Admiral” is my story, which must not be forgotten. I had a good season there, so I will be glad to return to the city, but flying there is, of course, difficult.

"If I get to the Olympics, it won't be fair." Interview with Martin Bakos

— From the hockey player’s point of view, who has a harder time with these long flights – the Admiral or the guest teams in Vladivostok?
—At the beginning of the season, the home team has an advantage in the first period, because we understood how hard it was for the opponent in flight. But already at the end of December, when you start counting how many kilometers you have already flown, the advantage passes to the other side.

— You have been playing in the KHL for a long time and have found different times here. In your opinion, did the introduction of the salary cap really have a positive effect on competition in the league?
— It is better for the fans when there are 10 teams that qualify for the Gagarin Cup than one or two. Ultimately only one wins, but there is interest in the game all season. In my opinion, if you compare the current situation with the one that was in the league a few years ago, then there were teams at the bottom, there were average teams and wow teams. And when I played for the same Slovan, we understood that now we would go to St. Petersburg or Kazan and there the powerful SKA and Ak Bars were waiting for us. And now everyone is playing more or less at the same level. And this is what the audience wants because they understand that their team has a chance to win.

– In the Russian information field, the question has been discussed for a long time – whether it is necessary to open the salaries of hockey players. Your point of view as a foreign player is interesting, is it necessary to do this or not?
– It doesn’t bother me at all, because in Europe everything is open and everyone knows even bank accounts. This helps to fight corruption. If salaries are opened, then they will. On the other hand, there is an element of, as they say, privacy. You don’t know how much the other person is making. But in general, I don’t even think about this question. There is a league guide for such decisions.

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