Russia’s ice hockey captain Aleksey Morozov says the food at the Olympic village has been so bad he has been forced to eat at McDonalds.
Russia play Latvia in their opening game at the Olympic hockey tournament on February 16, and RT takes a look at their final preparations.
“I am more worried about the Latvians than anyone else. Our team is just getting used to our new surroundings like the Olympic Village. It’s not like the World Championships where everyone is together all the time. This is a completely different setup. I’ve been to four Olympics and you need to be organized,” Vladislav Tretyak, Russia’s general manager, said.
Following a 14-hour flight from Moscow, half of Russia’s Olympic Hockey team was already on the ice training a few hours later.
“I’m feeling ok, and had time to freshen up. It’s a bit strange as it’s morning in Russia and evening here – but we’ve just got to get on with it,” defender Ilya Nikulin said.
Due to the NHL contingent of Team Russia only finishing their season recently, preparations for Morozov & Co. have not been ideal, and they have been forced to play 3-on-3 in practice sessions.
“We knew we would face such difficulties, and our main goal was to keep the KHL-ers in shape, so that when we go into our first game, they will still be match fit. So even if they were playing three on three, two on two – it still serves a purpose,” Vyacheslav Bykov, Russia’s coach, said.
Despite being 11 time zones from Russia, the players will have a few home comforts, with the players’ wives, girlfriends and children also in Vancouver, though they will not be staying with the players in the athletes’ village.
“It’s support and gives our guys extra motivation. So I don’t partially see anything wrong with this. Sport and the family are one. Our players are professionals and know why they are here and we will hope it will give us extra motivation and strength to achieve a miracle,” Russia’s coach added.
Russia’s big guns, the likes of Ovechkin and Ilya Kovalchuk, are back with the team, which is surely a frightening prospect for opposition blue-liners. They will be crucial if Russia is to win gold come February 28.