Tonight, RMNB is pleased to present our first translated interview from the 2010 Vancouver Olympic Games. Earlier today, Sovsport.ru caught up with Alexander Ovechkin after Team Russia’s Morning Skate and posed The Great Eight questions about one of Russia’s biggest rivals in the Olympics: The Czech Republic and their enigmatic superstar Jaromir Jagr. Many people have been overlooking the Czechs in the Olympics, but don’t lump the Russian Machine into that group.
The Czech Republic has been a huge thorn in Team Russia’s side over the past decade. They beat the Russians 1-0 in 1998’s Nagano Winter Games to win Olympic Gold behind the stellar play of Dominik Hasek. And then they kicked the Ruskies completely off the podium in the 2006 Olympics, beating Team Russia 3-0 to win Bronze in Torino.
Below the jump, RMNB’s Fedor Fedin translates the interview between Ovechkin and Sovsport. Find out how Ovi compares himself to Jagr in his prime, what the Czech’s chances are to win the Olympics and his opinion on fellow Caps Tomas Fleischmann and Michal Neuvirth .
Soviet Sport – Alexander, what do you expect from Jaromir Jagr in Vancouver?
Alexander Ovechkin – He’ll try to prove that he’s still good. He’ll relive a bit of the past.
Soviet Sport – If we’d compared the Alex Ovechkin now to the Jaromir Jagr at his best – who’s the better player?
AO – Let journalists answer that question. I’ll only say this – about 10 years ago he was a crazy forward. Do you remember when Jagr played with Lemieux? It was amazing hockey.
Soviet Sport – What do you think about Jagr’s bold promise in an interview for Soviet Sport where he told the interviewer that the Czechs will win the Olympics?
AO – Anything could happen.
Soviet Sport – Does it hurt you?
AO – No. What could he say? He’s Czech, he’ll play for his country. Could he say that they have weak team and gold will go to Russia? Never!
Soviet Sport – Russia lost to the Czech Republic in the Torino Olympiad and at the World Championships in 2006. Do you desire to get revenge?
AO – It’s long forgotten. Vancouver will absolutely be a new challenge. And we got revenge – we defeated the Czechs at 2007 World Championships in Moscow.
Soviet Sport – Don’t you think that the Czechs have worsened since the 1998 Nagano Olympics?
AO – Time doesn’t spare anyone. Leaders of the past became older. There are new players still at hand.
Soviet Sport – What do you think about Czech #1 goalie Tomas Vokoun?
AO – He plays for Panthers in our division. He’s a good goalie.
Soviet Sport – Like Hasek?
AO – No, just a good goalie.
Soviet Sport – Have you ever played against Dominik Hasek?
AO – Yeah, he was in Detroit while I played.
Soviet Sport – How was it?
AO – I scored.
Soviet Sport – Once you came up to Vokoun [on the ice] and said: “Hey, I’ll score twice!”. And you scored!
AO – Words mean less. I have moments when I’m lucky, for example, I get rebounds. I was lucky there.
Soviet Sport – Who’s the best Czech player in the NHL?
AO – Defenseman Tomas Kaberle from the Toronto Maple Leafs. He’s one of their leaders. He’s reliable and an experienced player.
Soviet Sport – What can you say about the Czech players on the Caps – forward Tomas Fleischmann and goalie Michal Neuvirth?
AO – Top-level young players. Flash becomes better every year. Neuvy has been growing before our very eyes… Czechs will have a very interesting team at Vancouver. But I don’t think that they’re our only opponent in our group. The Slovaks and Latvians are not easy teams either.