When he removed his helmet from his sweaty head, Alexander Owetschkin had to grin. So much so that his distinctive tooth gap came to light. Even the superstar of Russian ice hockey may have been surprised how playfully easy the record world champion so far has the World Cup competition in their place. Seven wins in seven rounds, on Tuesday even a superior 7: 4 triumph against defending champions Sweden at the end: It's almost too easy.
That's what Nikita Sadorov, who plays in the North American league NHL at Colorado Avalanche, seems to see this way: "When we play our game, I do not think anyone can compete with us," he confidently said after defeating Sweden. "If you look at our lineup, any row can hit. So we do not need many chances. "Now the Americans have to adjust, because this Thursday the US must compete in the quarterfinals against the Olympic champion from Russia.
Although the Americans have some top players like Patrick Kane and Jack Eichel in their ranks, but the squad of Sbornaja is a lot better occupied. Ovetschkin once again whirls in a row together with Yevgeny Malkin, and the world-class duo harmonizes again in Slovakia. Malkin even prepared for Owetschkin's goal against Sweden by sliding the puck casually through his own legs.
Even the NHL top scorer, Nikita Kutscherow, knows how to convince with six tournament hits, and the other players barely fall behind. Even the strong Swedes were not up to this superiority: in the middle third of the defending champion got a six-goal after a 1-0 lead poured. "Sometimes they just fool you and then fit instead of shooting. A lot has happened compared to earlier times. So they will remain dangerous for the rest of the tournament, "said Sweden goalkeeper Jacob Markström.
It almost seems as if the 28th World Cup title of the well-oiled "Red Machine" is only a matter of form – even if the players still have a lot of understatement to hear. "We go game after game. There's always a big rivalry with the US, so we'll prepare as well as possible, "said Ilia Kovalchuk, referring to the traditional heated duel.
After all, it's also about a lot of prestige. For the last time, Russia was crowned world champion five years ago, and it was not until the previous year that the title hunger of the successful ice hockey team could be satisfied with the Olympic victory in the final against Germany in Pyeongchang. It was balm for the Russian soul, because the days of total dominance, when the Soviet Union became world champion for every (!) Year from 1963 to 1971, are long gone. But the heirs of the heroes of that time now make hope for a new era. SID / nd
. (TagsToTranslate) Hockey (t) Russia (t) Sweden (t) United States