Time became scarce as Helsinki IFK prepared for the hockey semifinals. Head coach Jarno Pikkarainen had time for three rehearsals and Monday morning ice, and then everything had to be ready.
IFK faces the Oulu Flies and seeks a rematch or compensation for a meager semi-final loss two years ago. The flies became an opponent through the first round of the playoffs. IFK took second place in the regular season.
A large proportion of the IFK team contracted the coronavirus at the end of the regular season. The virus also hit Pikkarainen, whose return behind the bench went straight to the playoffs.
“I’ve been two days at work,” says Pikkarainen HS for the team celebrates freedom.
“Norm life is ok, but you can’t physically strain or raise your heart rate.”
Corona tracers located the Pikkarainen infected team on a bus trip from Lappeenranta to Helsinki on March 13. IFK had faced SaiPa in an away game.
“For two weeks, the fever saw between 38 and 40, and then I ended up in the hospital for a week. Recovery takes time, ”says Pikkarainen.
He emphasizes that he has no need to raise the illness but also no need to conceal it.
Korona clung firmly to Pikkarainen and pressed into her lungs. He said he was not actually afraid or aware that he was in great danger.
“I never know. In the beginning, as the disease took a worse day by day, it occurred to me that this might become a hospital trip. ”
Upon his return, Pikkarainen, 48, soon realized that he had to start cautiously. I had to focus on the essentials, and the rest of the time went into recovery.
A bit like more than twenty years younger players: the relationship between exercise, strain and rest has been more important in recent days than ever during the season. The bangs need to be put in the right things.
Three last year, when the playoffs have been played, IFK and Flies have been at odds. The clubs have a lot of the same players as in previous years, are familiar to each other and have a strong respect.
However, Pikkarainen doesn’t think much about Kärppi. He is busy enough with his own work as well.
“Nice to meet Flies. There is an experienced team and they have the experience to win, but of course this is our own performance and figuring it out is a priority. ”
As the regular season curved for the spring season, IFK played a very strong puck at its best, but the long break left its mark.
The old game seen this season should be restored and won’t work with a single click. Pikkarainen talks about buying time.
“Time can only be bought by winning. For us, the steps must be determined and of sufficient length. ”
IFK encountered the Flies in the regular season three times when he should have done six times. Two matches were wiped out in the corona quarantines, and the Helsinki team had to give up the last mutual match when the team had not yet recovered well enough.
The semi-finals start with a rumble. Helsinki is played on Monday and Tuesday, Wednesday is a break. This will be followed by two consecutive game days, Thursday and Friday. A possible fifth match will be played next Sunday.
“It’s literally about how oxygen goes through the rest of the week. No one can know that, and we have to find out about it, ”says Pikkarainen.
Top promising central striker Anton Lundell, 19, played against Pelicans at the end of the regular season but was missing from the lineup in the last match against Sport. He’s getting to the opening of the Flies series, and his successes IFK really needs.
Lundell scored 16 goals in the regular season and competed for a long time for victory on the paint exchange until he contracted the coronavirus after the Lions national team tournament in mid-February. Still, the number of goals he scored was the highest in IFK.
Captain Jere Sallinen nailed 15 hits, and there’s enough demand for his two-way game.
Goal scorer Joonas Lyytinen will stay away from the start of the playoffs, but Pikkarainen says there are hopes that he will return during the first week.
Pikkarainen coaches at IFK for the fourth season and the second overall as head coach. It has never been easy to pull a puck team, but there have been more bumps on Pikkarainen’s road than requested.
“The corona cannot be forgotten, but it is a place so undone for us humans that it can only help to adapt and accept the situation. It would have been nice to fill the hall. ”
He calculates that IFK has had to rebuild four times during the season.
The first phase was in the early fall, when injuries piled up full of sick list. The second phase hit the arrival of NHL players, who waved the game and brought a mental change within the team. The third stage came after their departure. A fourth phase of renewal is now underway as the team recovers from the coronavirus.
“It can be a spiritual resource for us to have experiences of those constructions.”
Even for the coach, the season has brought lessons, a lot of talking and communication.
IFK lives on the terms of the coronavirus but not quite as tight a bubble as Flies. Pikkarainen has an answer to that.
“We have immunity over a reasonably wide area.”
The semi-finals of the league on Monday: Lukko – Ilves, TPS – Pelicans, HIFK – Kärpät, Tappara-KalPa at 6.30 pm. C More and Telia show matches.
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