NHL star Ilya Kovalchuk, whose New Jersey Devils are currently vying with the NY Rangers for the second Stanley Cup finals berth, spoke in between games about team Russia’s success at the ice hockey worlds.
The two-time world champion said he couldn’t miss the final game in Helsinki, where his teammates thrashed Slovakia, 6-2.
“I admired the guys, who didn’t give a single chance to their opponents,” Kovalchuk told Sport-Express paper.
“Everyone played well, especially Aleksandr Semin and Sashka (Alex) Ovechkin, who looked solid side-by-side with Pasha (Pavel) Datsyuk. As for Malkin, without many words, he is currently the best on the planet.”
Kovalchuk admits though that the Russians were lucky to see Canada and Sweden knocked out early.
“The Canadians had a good team in Finland, made up of strong NHL players. Same can be said about the co-hosts, Sweden. When those teams were eliminated, the Russians saw a green light in front and capitalized on that in style,” he noted.
The 29-year-old specially mentioned the team’s defense and power-play teams. “It’s very important now not to rest on our laurels. In two years’ time in Sochi it will be way more difficult,” he added.