Alexander Ovechkin: We should follow Canada’s example
Washington Capitals captain Alexander Ovechkin has shared his opinion on the national team’s preparations for the Sochi Olympics, lack of playing practice for youth in Russia, and compared the levels of the KHL and the NHL.
«For now we are not ready for Sochi. We should follow the example of the Canadians who have been assiduously preparing for Vancouver. They did not only gather the team wisely, but also studied their opponents one by one. Both the NHL players and each KHL player selected to the Russian national team! Canada’s general manager Steve Yzerman has been personally watching many Russians play. He knew us inside out.»
«Maybe, we should also switch to the Canadian system? The general manager would be responsible for everything and the coaches and players would be under him.»
«I don’t know about the system. But I don’t think anything bad would happen if we copied the Canadians’ approach to team preparation. There has to be a video coach and an detailed plan for each game. «Hit and run, I’ll meet you at the goal»? Such tactics won’t work in Sochi.»
«Why do our young players progress so poorly?»
«Because they’re not trusted. For a Russian club it’s easier to sign a contract with an NHL player than to grow up its own young star. Why are there so few 2011 world champions playing in the KHL? That’s what we have to think about. Young players need a chance. When I played in Russia, I always had an oppotunity to play. I was in the third or fourth line, getting my 10-12 minutes per match. It was enough to gain experience and become a real hockey player.»
«It is good or bad that fewer Russians are playing in the NHL now?»
«I understand why the guys leave North America for Russia. It is a matter of finance. But I don’t think that the KHL is now able to compete with the NHL in terms of game quality. Does it affect the national team? You may guess,» said Ovechkin in an interview with Sovetsky Sport.