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Russian Hockey Players are Ready for World Championships
May 8, 2014 00:15


Hockey players, coaches and team personnel of Russian team laid flowers at the legendary Soviet player Valery Kharlamov's grave and listened to the parting words of the veterans before leaving for the World Cup. Russian team arrived to Moscow's Kuntsevskoye Cemetery in full force: all the line-up, announced on Tuesday; the team personnel; head coach Oleg Znarok and his assistants as well as general manager Andrey Safronov. At Kharlamov's grave they were met by Soviet hockey veterans, who uttered parting words. "Thanks for coming today to the grave of our best friend. Soon you are to play at the World Cup. Our entire country will watch you. Show off your best game, do not yield to opponents in the character and then the victory will come," two-time Olympic champion, eight-time World champion Boris Mikhailov said.

“You will play the first World Cup match on Victory Day. It would be good to show great hockey from the very start of the tournament," the double Olympic champion and nine-time World champion Alexander Maltsev wished. After that every player put two carnations on the grave.

"I estimate the readiness of our team for the World Championships as 95%," national team captain Alexander Ovechkin shared with ITAR-TASS correspondent his expectations from World Championship starting in Minsk. "I estimate the readiness of our team for the World Championships as 95%. We still have two more days to achieve 100% mark. The team gathered together the guys, who played in the NHL and CHL playoffs. All, who came from across the ocean, will acclimatize in remaining time," Ovechkin said. "We have got lots of new gaming combinations. Let’s see how it goes," he added.

Ovechkin said the decision to appoint him as a captain of the national team was taken by coaching staff. "But I guess the guys fully support me. There shouldn’t be any questions,” he explained. The forward believes the upcoming World Cup will be an opportunity for the Russian hockey team to rise to the top in the eyes of their fans after the failure at Sochi Olympics. On Sochi Games, the Russian team lost the quarterfinals to the team Finland. "There are no any revanchist sentiments because of Sochi failure. Yes, we lost the most important tournament of last four years. Now, we need to tune up our minds and to make steps so that, in the eyes of our fans, we could climb up to that summit, where we used to be," Ovechkin said. Commenting the team visit to Valery Kharlamov's grave, which took place on Tuesday, Ovechkin noted the necessity of this event. "It was first time I came to the grave of the great hockey player Kharlamov. The fact of coming here as one team before the World Cup was a very correct decision," Ovechkin noted. The World Cup will take place in the capital of Belarus, Minsk, from 9 to 25 May. The Russian team will play first match on May 9 against Switzerland.

Author: Anna Dorozhkina

Tags: Russian Hockey     

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