The Russian Hockey Federation announced Monday that Washington Capitals skaters Alex Ovechkin, Evgeny Kuznetsov, and Dmitry Orlov will join the Russian National Team on Tuesday.
The three star Russians were invited to the team after the Capitals lost Game Seven to the Hurricanes late last week and all accepted invitations to play.
The team is currently training in Novogorsk, which is near Moscow.
Ovechkin, Kuznetsov, and Orlov will join superstars like 2019 Hart Trophy finalist Nikita Kucherov and Evgeni Malkin who have already arrived.
“I have mixed feelings,” FHR president Vladislav Tretiak said to sports.ru of Ovechkin joining the team. “I wanted Ovechkin to repeat last year’s success, once again taking the Stanley Cup. Unfortunately, it did not work out. But now there is an opportunity to participate in the World Championship, and come along with his friends from the Capitals.”
According to Team Russia, the current five-man lines are as follows.
Whites: Sergachyov, Lyubushkin – Gusev, Malkin, Kucherov;
Blues: Nesterov, Blazhievskiy – Grigorenko, Anisimov, Kaprizov;
Reds: Khafizullin, Zub – Kovalchuk, Andronov, Plotnikov, Telegin;
Greens: Kiselevich, Elesin – Barabanov, Kadeikin, Dadonov, Mikheev.
Goalkeepers: Vasilevskiy, Georgiev, Sorokin
The Russian Hockey Federation dismissed defensemen Artyom Sergeev, Yegor Yakovlev and forwards Pavel Kraskovskiy, Anatoly Golyshev and Vladimir Tkachyov from the team to make room for the new NHL players.
Despite having some of the top superstars in the world, Russia has only won one gold medal in the World Championship since 2014 (1 gold, 1 silver, 2 bronze). The team did not medal last year in Copenhagen, finishing sixth overall.
“Maybe Evgeni Malkin should not play on a line together with Alexander Ovechkin,” Tretiak said. “They played together in Sochi – and scored one goal each. It is not right and they seem weaker together.”
While Tretiak said that the lines would ultimately be up to the head coach, Ilya Vorobiev, he suggested that Ovechkin play with Kuznetsov during the World Championship because Kuzy understands Ovechkin’s “strengths” and best places to score.
From May 1-5, the Russian national team will participate in the final Euro Hockey Tour stage of the 2018-19 campaign in the Czech Republic before beginning play in the World Championship.
May 1: Sweden – Russia, 16:00 (Stockholm, Sweden)
May 4: Russia – Finland, 15:00
May 5: Czech Republic – Russia, 19.00
All start times are in accordance with Moscow time.
The 2019 IIHF World Championship is being held in Slovakia this year and begins on May 10.
Headline photo: Sovsport.ru
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