(Original Story by Soviet Sport’s A. Lipkin, English translation by RMNB’s Fedor Fedin)
As of a few weeks ago, the prospects for the Russian National Team at the World Championships did not look very rosy. Injuries to Zaripov, Morozov, coupled with not very good play of the goalies in the Gagarin Cup gave Russian fans legitimate concerns. And the failure of Vancouver is far from forgotten, which will cast a negative shadow on everything regarding the Russian team.
However, the results from the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs were like balm to the soul of our fans. New Jersey Devil Ilya Kovalchuk, Los Angeles Kings Alexander Frolov, and Nashville Predator Denis Grebeshkov were eliminated. And the Washington Capitals struggled against the Montreal Canadiens and ended their season, thus releasing Alex Ovechkin, Alex Semin and Semyon Varlamov to the national team.
As it turns out, throughout the season we can root for our hockey players in the NHL, but when it’s playoffs time, we are all together in wishing them defeat.
But the real question is, what’s the mood of the NHL players who are coming to the team? Especially of those who were looking for a better result in their NHL seasons.
– The atmosphere of the team is good. We’re ready to fight. Everything has just begun. On Friday we fly to Germany (interview was published yesterday). We’ll fight for the gold. – says Alexander Ovechkin.
– Is there a desire to take revenge for the defeat of Canada at the Olympics?
– As I said, the world championship and Olympic Games – these are two very different tournaments, so we can only take revenge in Sochi. So we go to Germany to protect our title.
– Have you managed to forget the failure of Washington in the Playoffs?
– Here it is a different atmosphere, different people. I arrived back home in Russia. Of course, we can not say that we’ve already forgotten the defeat in the Playoffs, but I’ll begin to gradually readjust. If I did not want to come here, I would not come, so I have strength and desire to play for the national team.
– Will the losses of the NHL players have an affect on the team’s emotional conditions?
– No, it will not. There’ll be new emotions. Emotions are always a part of hockey.
– Waiting for Datsyuk?
– Of course, we all wish him good luck. I wish him once again to win the Stanley Cup, God willing.