Is Sidney Crosby underestimated?
Crosby: "That looks very dangerous"
The 2014 Olympic Games are primarily Alexander Ovechkin's Games. The Russian ice hockey star was the first to carry the Olympic torch and already announced at the time that he would definitely play in Sochi, regardless of whether the National Hockey League approves it or not. The NHL actually stopped playing for two weeks - all eyes are now on Ovechkin.
The 28-year-old is the most valuable player in the Russian selection. "Ovi" has been named the NHL's top scorer three times and has been voted Regular Season Most Valuable Player just as many times. The winger, nicknamed "The Great Eight" because of his number on his back, has been spinning for the Washington Capitals since 2005 and has scored 411 goals (795 points) in 656 games during that time. Not least because of this, the right-handed shooter is considered one of the best skid cracks in the world.
Ovechkin is not the only prominent name in the star-studded "Sbornaja": Evgeni Malkin (Pittsburgh Penguins) is a feared sniper, Pavel Datsyuk (Detroit Red Wings) is considered the best two-way striker on the planet and Alexander Semin (Carolina Hurricanes) is just as dangerous a striker as veteran Ilya Kovalchuk (St. Petersburg). These examples are only the tip of the iceberg of a squad that was recruited exclusively from players from the NHL and KHL (Continental Hockey League).
Top series with Ovechkin, Malkin and Semin
"The Great Eight" and "Sid the kid": Russia's Alex Ovechkin (left) and Canada's Sidney Crosby (right). Getty Images
The respect of the competition is correspondingly high, especially since Ovechkin, Malkin and Semin are said to form the Russian top row. "We'll see some excellent combinations there. Again, that looks really dangerous to me," says Crosby, a hockey prodigy as the 2009 Stanley Cup winner and as the captain of Canada himself.
According to "Sid the kid", Russia's home advantage should not be underestimated. "You really want to win and you know that is exactly what is expected of you. But you always have to remind yourself that this is why you became a hockey player," said Crosby, who painted his colors in Vancouver four years ago even led to the gold medal in his own country. "Playing at home has given us a big boost," said the 26-year-old Pittsburgh Penguins center.
Canada starts the Olympic tournament against Norway on Thursday. Russia starts with Slovenia. "We have great guys on the team and some leaders on our team. We have to get used to each other now, that's the most important task in the first few days," said Crosby.
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