News : DEL Playoffs: The EHC is suddenly vulnerable – sport
Tim Stützle is only 19 years old. You should keep this in mind when you now say: Stützle made a mistake. Even a cardinal error: he has committed himself. Stützle, professional ice hockey player in the North American non plus ultra league NHL, scored for the eighth time this season in his Ottawa Senators’ 3-0 win against Vancouver on Thursday night. He has more profound expertise to contribute than many who classify this sport for professional reasons, journalists or other so-called experts. That is why they always leave a door open so that afterwards they have definitely been with the right-wingers. The prognoses before the start of the playoffs in the German Ice Hockey League (DEL) were therefore: Adler Mannheim will be champions. Or the EHC Red Bull Munich. The Eisbären Berlin would also be an option. Possibly Ingolstadt. Or one of the four other teams in the quarterfinals. Even in this Corona-complicated season, the league is more balanced than ever … That’s what experts say.
But Stützle said in the Sport-1 podcast: “I would be very, very surprised if Mannheim didn’t win this year.” A remarkable sentence, which was possibly triggered by the fact that Stützle played for Mannheim until his move to the NHL (after all, he did not say that Krefeld will be champions, his youth club, which was consistently last this season, the Ottawa of the DEL, so to speak ). The Adler promptly lost their first quarter-final game against Straubing 2: 3.
To her and to Stützle’s reassurance, they then won 3-1 on Thursday and forced the decisive third game on Saturday to make it to the semi-finals of these shortened playoffs. The Grizzlys Wolfsburg (3: 2 against Bremerhaven) and the Eisbären Berlin (6: 0 at the Iserlohn Roosters) equalized their best-of-3 series. What even experienced experts have been able to say since Thursday evening but without a back door: Munich will not become champions in 2021. Coach Don Jackson’s team also lost the second game against ERC Ingolstadt, despite a two-goal advantage in the meantime, 4: 5 after extra time. For the first time since 2015, Munich is not in the semi-finals.
The difference to the master’s years: Munich makes mistakes
The end for the master of the years 2016 to 2018 comes as a surprise at this early point in time. It’s not a sensation. Ingolstadt had won three of the four main round games against Munich and tactically cleverly levered the EHC at 4: 1 in the hall on Tuesday. On Thursday, the Munich was eager to dent this dent. After 40 minutes they led 4: 2 and showed the often tried play-off ice hockey: hard in the duels, swiftly without detours to the opposing goal, on the defensive less counter-prone than last.
But the EHC Munich of 2021 is not the EHC of the master years. To draw against that Munich team with a 2: 4 deficit in a final playoff third would have been tantamount to a suicide mission. Pointless. On this Thursday, however, Munich allowed Ingolstadt to equalize: Goalkeeper Danny aus den Birken slipped a shot from Wayne Simpson through the schooner, Louis-Marc Aubry was allowed to deflect in front of the goal without much distress – and after exactly two minutes of extra time was the supposed favorite out of the championship race. Brandon DeFazio had dusted the 5: 4 for Ingolstadt, a copy of the 2: 1 by Tim Wohlgemuth. “Every mistake counted,” said EHC coach Don Jackson. “And they made sure they count.”
That was part of the truth. The other, surprising one was that his team suddenly makes mistakes in the first place. ERC coach Doug Shedden said after the game at Magentasport he felt “like a slain dragon”; For two thirds, his team could not keep up with Munich. Instead of starting the death blow as before, hardened by the bath in the dragon’s blood, the Munich-based Ingolstadt let escape. Shedden said respectfully, “They are champions and they have the pedigree of champions.” The situation in Munich is reminiscent of the era of the Eisbären Berlin, who won the title five times between 2008 and 2013 under Jackson, the most successful trainer in DEL history. At the end of this era, the once invulnerable team looked worn out. Success was at the expense of renewal.
From the Kölner Haien national player Frederik Tiffels is to move to Munich
The tribe has also played together in Munich for years. Without captain Michel Wolf, who resigned in 2019, Jason Jaffray, who resigned in 2020, and injured captain Patrick Hager, the current team lacked important drivers. It is said to have been loud in the dressing room several times during the season, and not because the players were singing mood songs. Despite a number of additional commitments, there was no rest. Goalkeeper Danny aus den Birken, 36, who was injured only 20 times this season between the posts, was not a stabilizing factor and did not make a happy figure on Thursday with at least three goals against. Already in 2019 in the final against Mannheim, the EHC was clearly inferior. The tribe is getting on in years. And the tree looks increasingly rotten.
They probably recognized that in Munich. Ex-captain Wolf is to support Christian Winkler in the management, who as ice hockey director at Red Bull is also responsible for the sister club Salzburg. Wolf’s areas of responsibility are team development, scouting and planning. Don Jackson, now 64, is considered inviolable. After the end, he said the defeat was “difficult to put into words”. But he feels good and can hardly wait for the next season: “We’ll be ready.” According to SZ information, one of the planned changes is the change of national player Frederik Tiffels, 25, from the Kölner Haien to the Bavarian capital. “There are places to fill,” said Jackson. After the coming season, the people of Munich finally want to move to their new hall in the Olympic Park. And please not as the incumbent quarter-finalist.