One reason why the World Championship can be fun is the awkward situations it creates. For example, on Monday, Russia played the Czech Republic, pitting five Capitals teammates against each other. The Caps troika of Alex Ovechkin, Evgeny Kuznetsov, and Dmitry Orlov suited up for the red machine while Jakub Vrana and Dmitrij Jaskin donned white and blue for the Czechs. It went exactly how you would predict.
“[P]ersonally I was trying not to let [Ovechkin] get in my head,” Jakub Vrana said in a Czech TV interview as translated by Alexandra Petakova. “He was trying to provoke me a bit and make me lose focus on my game, but I was more trying to concentrate on my game to help the team the best I could and I didn’t want to allow myself to be distracted.”
After the game was over, the Caps opponents high fived and hugged each other in the handshake line, letting bygones be bygones. Ovechkin even gave Jaskin a respectful tap to the calves from his stick.
“Well, as for me, he’s my captain and I respect him a great deal, but when we play against each other, we are opponents and you can’t consider the season,” Vrana said, seemingly conflicted. “He might be my captain, but right now we’re opponents.”
Vrana’s TV interview is translated below.