After Russia’s 5-3 bronze-medal win over Finland Sunday, Capitals teammates Evgeny Kuznetsov and Dmitry Orlov reflected on the Russian national team’s performance in the 2017 World Championship. The theme of the day was missed opportunities.
But Orlov then added, “we were disappointed that we missed chances, both yesterday [against Team Canada] and today. But you can’t do anything about that. This was a game where we needed to needed to come out and win. Penalties broke up the flow of our game, both yesterday and today.”
When asked what memory he would take away from the tournament, the star forward responded, “that third period [against Canada]. That’s huge for me, I will learn a lot from that game.”
Kuznetsov shared similar thoughts in a longer interview with Sovietski Sport’s Dmitry Ponomarenko.
Kuznetsov: Today was a very important game, in that it was the last one of the season. Everyone wanted to finish it off on a note of victory. We were all thinking about our mistakes during the game against Canada. But I really liked how within the team we reacted to that loss. We talked calmly, and there was no pressure or panic. Everyone stayed on the positive [aspects of our game]. That’s the main difference with the new national team: even after a loss, the coaches and staff try to end on a positive note. And that gets transferred to the whole team.
Ponomarenko: Was yesterday’s loss to Canada the most upsetting of your career?
Kuznetsov: I’m not ready to talk about that. Remember, I told you when I first came to [the World Championships] that there would be time when I got home for me to think everything over calmly. Well, yesterday after the game against Canada, my soul was empty. And I tried to forget about it, because up ahead was a very important match, during which you just can’t allow yourself to mull over past losses. We would have just exhausted ourselves, and today would have been very hard.
Ponomarenko: What happened in today’s game against Finland? We had all the momentum and confidence, and then we just stopped playing when it was 4-0.
Kuznetsov: We let in a really soft goal at the end of the period, which gave the Finns the momentum. But I really liked how we reacted to the time-out that we called when it was 4-3. We got ourselves together, and got the game under total control again.
Both against Canada and against Finland today, Russia started strong, only to break down late. Yesterday, Russia allowed four unanswered goals to Canada to give up a shot at the Gold Medal. Today against Finland, Russia similarly appeared poised to to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory, before narrowly eking out the win.
Photo: Aleksandr Safonov
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