On Thursday in Helsinki the Russian hockey team played its first match of the Karjala Cup European Tournament second stage.
Despite the fact that the Russian team lost 2-3 to the Finnish team, the leader of the European Tournament, head coach of the Russian team Viktor Tikhonov was satisfied with the play of his players. Tikhonov stated at a press conference in the wake of the match that he only wished they had won.
The coach explained his satisfaction with the team's play by a number of reasons. First of all, 50% of the team was made of novices. Viktor Tikhonov reported that "actually three-four days before the departure to Finland more than 10 first team regulars failed to join the team due to various reasons." Secondly, according to the team's coach, because of such unforeseen circumstances he managed to "test in practice" new players who otherwise would not have been invited to play for the national team.