WJC: Interview with Raffaele Sannitz

By pbadmin

Was it possible to beat Canada ?

We were convinced it was possible, we have lost but we could have won. For sure it’s a very strong and complete team, but we had our chances too in the first period. Unfortunately we took some stupid goals.

After Beat Forster’s mistakes, did you support him ?

Everyone makes mistakes, we all know such things happen. We tried to motivate him, he knows we won’t blame him. It’s a collective responsibility, it does not depend on one player.

You dominated the third period. Could you have done the same if Canada wouldn’t have led 1-0 ?

Yes, I think so. They were more compact in defence as they were leading, but we got our chances throughout the whole game. Also in the first period when it was 0-0, we could have scored.

Was Canada better than in the first round game ?

No, I think they were the same. As far as we are concerned, we put more heart in the game today, and I think they did the same because it’s a semifinal.

Your group was probably the better one as all semifinalists come from there. Does it help you to have a better pace in the quarter final ?

It has helped us, but it wasn’t only that. Slovakia had a good team, but we knew them quite well. We played them twice in August, lost once and had a tie, I think. Yesterday we fully deserved our victory.

The fourth place often looks like a malediction for Swiss teams…

That’s right. But last year I achieved a second place in the Under 18 World Championships. We managed to win the semifinal. It won’t be possible this year and we still bid for the bronze medal, which is our main goal now.

Do you prefer playing Finland or Russia ?

We defeated Finland and lost against Russia, but we’re sure we can beat both of them anyway. As for Russia fight, we don’t care about that, we just want to play hockey to win the medal, nothing else.

You just talked with a scout from Columbus. Do they follow your career pretty close ?

In fact, it was the first time I met him, the World Junior Championships is an opportunity for this.

Would you mind playing in the minor leagues ?

I think it could be a good idea because it’s another style of play, it would be a good experience. They play more physical there. I was drafted (by Columbus), but it doesn’t mean I will make it to the NHL. It’s just a first step, but I’m far from there. So I could adapt to North American style.

You’re the only player from Tessin (the Italian part of Switzerland) here.

I’m used to it. In fact it’s the same in Lugano, where we use either English or French in the locker room.

What about your future in National Teams ?

Next year I have still an Under 20 to do, then I know it will be hard to make it soon to the A team. So I will try to play for Swiss B team first and go up step after step.

Is it hard for a young player to play in a team like Lugano, who needs good results ?

Our previous coach Zinetulla Bilyaetdinov trusted me, he let me play and gave me self-confidence. I hope it will go on, I played only one game before leaving for the junior team, we had a long preparation with seven games.

Why did Lugano fail in the Continental Cup ?

Italian style of play is very different. Milan has a physically strong team. They were waiting for us at the blueline, we’re not used to that.

Was it the first step of the end for coach Bilyaetdinov ?

I don’t know, anyway it’s not the responsibility of the coaches, you have to blame the players the most.

It’s common in Switzerland to fire a coach, in North America the players too are under pressure.

That’s right. I always do my best in every game. I didn’t experience long seasons like in North America, here we play 40 or 50 games, it will be an interesting experience, I will try to play there as soon as possible, may be next year, I will see what Columbus will do.

Which NHL team would you like to play for ?

Columbus, of course. Or may be Los Angeles, because of the beach… No, seriously, I don’t care, just wait and see.