Ilya Kovalchuk: “At the Olympics you should shove your ‘I’ up a certain place” (Photo © Bruce Bennet/Getty Images)
Ilya Kovalchuk talked about the bad powerplay of team Russia in the 2010 Olympic Hockey Tournament, the changes that the team will undergo for the next game against Czech Republic and his ice time in an interview to the Russian newspaper Sovietskiy Sport.
RussianHockeyFans.com offers you a translation.
– The coaches created “the great line”, made up of Ovechkin, Kovalchuk, Semin, Malkin, Gonchar. But it didn’t work out well. Why this line failed in playing simple hockey?
Kovalchuk: “It’s not enough to create ‘the great line’, you have to work on the ice. We try hard to improve the powerplay during the practices. We get so many penalties in our favor, they must be used better.”
– Ilya Bryzgalov said that your line played too much on the flanks and that you guys need to crash the net more.
Kovalchuk: “I agree. Someone must stay in front of the goalie. We will make some changes”
– Instead of Semin now there will be Datsyuk.
Kovalchuk: “First of all we should not give up. A single game in such a tournament means nothing. I’m not looking for excuses. We played very badly the third period against the Slovaks and we also allowed a goal. All the players who went for a try in the shootout, including me, should have done a better job. I don’t remember the last time we lost to them. Only in 2006 we lost 3-5. It’s unpleasant. But it’s better to lose a game now than in the play-off. We will learn from this defeat and will support each other. It’s like that for us, the worse, the better.”
– Do you consider shootouts to be your strong side?
Kovalchuk: “Well, it’s fifty-fifty. I tried doing what usually works, but I couldn’t score.”
– During last year’s World Championship in Bern you played 30 minutes a match. Now you spend less time on ice. Is this the reason behind your relative lack of success?
Kovalchuk: “I’m happy by my ice time. Here you should shove your ‘I’ up a certain place. You need to hit the ice and do what the coaches and the partners ask you. We can win only if we do like that. If we start complaining and look offended, then it’s better to stay at home.
– Maybe it’s good that team Russia drove itself into a corner? Now we need to beat Czech Republic to secure a spot in the quarterfinals.
Kovalchuk: “We didn’t really drive yourselves into a corner. We should relax and play our way. We will drive ourselves in a corner if it happens in the quarterfinal or the semifinal (knock on wood), and then we would have no chance to redeem. But now we should go to the game against Czech Republic head-high.”