(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.
Earlier today, RussianHockeyFans.com broke the news that Team Russia’s First Line was getting an upgrade for tomorrow’s game against the Czech Republic. Alex Ovechkin & Alex Semin will now be centered by Evgeni Malkin. Talk about instant offense…
Yes that’s right, the Russians have now reunited the friends–turned enemies–turned friends again in Ovechkin and Malkin. Awesome. Also, RussianHockeyFans.com has the new Powerplay & Even-Strength Line Pairings for tomorrow as well:
New power play lines
According to Mikhail Zislis of Sport-Express, here are the new powerplay lines:
1. Alexander Ovechkin – Pavel Datsyuk – Evgeni Malkin, Kovalchuk – Gonchar
2. Alexander Semin – Viktor Kozlov – Alexander Radulov, Andrei Markov – Ilya Nikulin.
Ovechkin and Radulov were positioned in front of the goalie, screening him.
According to sports.ru, the new top two lines look like this:
1. Alexander Ovechkin – Evgeni Malkin – Alexander Semin, Sergei Gonchar – Fedor Tyutin.
2. Ilya Kovalchuk – Pavel Datsyuk – Maxim Afinogenov, Konstantin Korneev – Denis Grebeshkov.
The other two lines remain the same:
3. Alexei Morozov – Sergei Zinoviev – Danis Zaripov, Ilya Nikulin – Andrei Markov.
4. Viktor Kozlov – Sergei Fedorov – Alexander Radulov, Dmitriy Kalinin – Anton Volchenkov.
Evgeny Nabokov will start in Goal
And don’t worry, nothing’s changed on the PK. Viktor Kozlov is still one of the forwards. Man, if that’s not a chink in the armor, I don’t know what is.
Anyways, a few hours ago, Ovechkin discussed Evgeni Malkin moving to the first line with Soviet Sport’s V. Slavin. And RMNB has the translation first. Check it out:
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 .
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