Sergei Gonchar: “Would like to be paired with Andrei Markov at Olympics” (Photo © Getty Images)
Russian defenceman Sergei Gonchar of the Pittsburgh Penguins, whose inclusion in Russia’s Olympics roster came as no surprise, talked about playing on one line with Andrei Markov of the Canadiens at the Olympics in Vancouver, main rivals of Team Russia, compared the Stanley Cup and the Olympic Games and said that he expected European referees to give more penalties.
RussianHockeyFans.com offers you a translation of Gonchar’s interview to Alexander Chekhov of Sport-Express.
Q. What do you expect from the Olympic Games in Vancouver?
Gonchar: “Just have a look at our roster and you will see what I expect. We have a great team and there is no other aim except the gold medals.”
Who would you like to have as your line mate?
Gonchar: “Well, we played together with Andrei Markov of the Montreal Canadiens at the last World Championship in Moscow. I think we did pretty well. However, I don’t know what partner will the coaches choose for me this time. But I’m ready to play with anyone.”
What team is going to be the main rival of Russia in Vancouver?
Gonchar: “Oh, there are a lot of strong teams. I can’t say that one particular team stands out. We’ll have to be very responsible preparing for every single game. The Olympics are very short and any fault or underestimation can result in a loss.”
What is harder to win, the Stanley Cup or the Olympic Games?
Gonchar: “These two are completely different tournaments. But the way the best team is determined in the Stanley Cup is more objective. Any accidental episode can become decisive, say, the puck bounces or there is a rebound. When you have a series of games the number of such cases is way down.”
What can influence the result more, the small Canadian rinks or the international rules?
Gonchar: “None of these. What I’m anxious about is that there will be a lot of penalties as European referees usually pay much attention.”
So the games will be less physical?
Gonchar: “No, small rinks just won’t allow that to happen. But I think there will be more penalties than we usually have in the NHL.”