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Germany before the Ice Hockey World Cup: Will the NHL professionals help?

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Germany before the Ice Hockey World Cup: Will the NHL professionals help?

The German Ice Hockey Association (DEB) had a good hand when choosing the venue. The spectators in Augsburg proved to be an extremely grateful audience. There was no lack of support for national coach Harold Kreis’s team in any situation, quite the opposite: the longer the back-and-forth encounter with the strong Slovakia team progressed, the more impulsive the response from the visitors became, many of whom were there We have recently seen frustrating club appearances by the local Panthers in the league in everyday life, which may result in the traditional club’s final relegation to the second division in a few days.

The men in the black, red and gold jerseys, who dominated the action on the playing field on Saturday, did not capitalize enough on the 4:5 defeat (0:1, 3:2, 1:1, 0:1). their dominance, which meant they couldn’t get more than a 4-4 draw in regular time and then had to accept the crucial fifth goal in overtime, will soon want to continue their ongoing rise in the hierarchy of the top nations. The World Championships begin in the Czech Republic in mid-May, and the Germans are currently preparing for their mission to once again cause a sensation on the big stage.

“We are no longer underdogs”

At the 2018 Olympics in Pyeongchang they did this brilliantly by winning the silver medal, last year they also came second at the World Cup in Finland – and now they want to lay the foundation in seven games in the preliminary group at the Ostrava location that will ensure they get into the Capital Prague will be allowed to move, where the showdown for the precious metal awards will take place.

“We are no longer underdogs,” said Kreis, describing the self-image that has matured through many positive changes at the start of the intensive preparation. The 65-year-old was pleased to see how his team made up for the three-time deficit, but what bothered him was that they were continually unsettled by the Slovakians’ physical pace and became careless.

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The ensemble, led by captain Moritz Müller in his 200th international match, quickly advanced to capture the puck in front of 6,100 spectators, but failed to secure it. “Overall, the team worked well,” said Kreis, “we are finding our identity more and more, that is the progress we are making.”

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The ideal of the experienced coach is for everyone to put their ego aside and consistently contribute their individual talent so that they help the collective to develop strong resilience. Last year, on his debut as national coach, he and the group made it to the World Cup final in Tampere, where even record champions Canada faced problems for a long time. “You can’t deny the boys’ commitment,” said Kreis after the fifth defeat in the sixth international test match since the beginning of February, “but nothing is finished.”

Reinforcements from North America are actually on the horizon, but no agreements have yet been reached. Christian Künast reported that he had heard “positive signals” from JJ Peterka (Buffalo Sabres), Philipp Grubauer (Seattle Kraken), Nico Sturm (San Jose Sharks) and Moritz Seider (Detroit Red Wings) that they wanted to join the squad soon.

“There’s nothing easy about it”

The DEB’s sports director nevertheless spoke of complicated negotiations with the clubs overseas who want their staff to be protected against injuries: “It’s not easy.” With the help of insurance, the Germans recently managed to get the NHL grandees, who are only a little outside of the Stanley Cup universe is really interested in getting the players approved for what they see as a lower-ranking World Cup tournament.

The insurance contributions are based on the age of the athlete and the contract term; The economic hurdles are particularly high for the 23-year-old Seider, who is expected to sign a new contract in Detroit in the summer that will secure him the equivalent of 30 million euros until 2032.

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Künast didn’t want to give any specific figures, but Marco Sturm, the former national coach who now works for the LA Kings, gave a useful hint when he said that the bonuses have now reached six-figure dimensions – which is likely to cause a headache for the DEB .

Seider himself used the weekend to send a message from overseas, which Kreis heard with joy: “I would like to play for Germany if we get everything sorted out,” the world-class defender signaled his willingness to travel. It was an important word in our own case – just not the decisive one.

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