Photo: Russian Hockey Federation Instagram
In Russia’s 3-0 quarterfinals win against France on Thursday, Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin said he felt about 90% playing and was uncomfortable wearing a custom knee brace the Team Russia medical team special-ordered for him after suffering a leg injury four days prior.
Playing Sweden on Saturday, Ovechkin still didn’t feel 100%, but he did switch things up. According to Slava Malamud, Ovi wore a new knee brace. He also tallied an assist in Russia’s 3-1 win over Sweden. Russia will play in the World Championships gold medal game on Sunday.
Sweden took an early first period lead on a breakaway goal by Oscar Moller, but Team Russia’s Sergei Plotnikov, Sergei Shirokov, and Anton Belov (all current KHL players) scored three unanswered goals. Ovechkin assisted on Belov’s second period tally, which ended the scoring. Sweden — without NHL stars Nicklas Backstrom and the Sedin twins, but with ex-Hershey Bear Mattias “I Think Madonna’s Sexy” Sjogren– were simply no match for Russia’s firepower.
After the game, Ovechkin spoke about his injury.
“I had a new knee brace and felt much better,” Ovechkin said to Malamud after the game. “I can’t say I am 100%, but the situation is such that one must be ready for anything.”
Ovechkin also gave props to the Swedes.
“We’re in a good mood, we beat a good team,” Ovechkin said to Russia-2 and as translated by RMNB’s Fedor Fedin. “But the main game of the tournament, what we were preparing for, is ahead of us. We need to rest and get ready to the next game.”
Ovechkin, who was benched in the third period on Thursday, had his ice time regulated for a second straight game. He only played in about 14 minutes of action total. Caps rookie Evgeny Kuznetsov suited up, but for a second straight game was used as Russia’s 13th forward. He did not get any ice time.
Despite not being completely himself, Ovechkin was named one of Russia’s Top Three Players For Their Team.
Vezina winner, Hart trophy winner, Hart trophy winner. (Photo: Andre Ringuette)
Photo: Andre Ringuette