VANCOUVER -- After practicing hard for the full hour over at the Brittania Centre, Alex Ovechkin walked off the ice sporting his usual gap-toothed smile. The superstar left wing was in good spirits less than 24 hours before Russia's pivotal game against the Czechs on Sunday.
It appears that Ovechkin will have a new center for Sunday's game. He was skating on a line with Evgeni Malkin and Alexander Semin while Pavel Datsyuk, who was centering Ovechkin and Semin, was between Ilya Kovalchuk and Maxim Afinogenov.
Ovechkin stopped to chat with NHL.com about that and more.
NHL.com: What is your mindset going into this game after two days of rest?
Ovechkin: Well, it's a good time for us. We have a couple of days off, a way to reload our weapons and reload our minds and get ready for tomorrow's game.
NHL.com: If you are going to play with Malkin, it probably doesn't change at all the way you play, but what is the difference in playing with a bigger center like him?
Ovechkin: You know, here in Russia we have great players and very skill guys and experienced guys. Probably we don't need lots of time to feel each other out, but tomorrow is going to be a hard game. Everybody has to play better and harder.
NHL.com: You play with Nicklas Backstrom in D.C. and then you were with Datsyuk here, and those are two very skilled guys. Malkin brings more power, so does it enhance your game at all to play with a guy who has more power?
Ovechkin: I think for me right now and for this team it doesn't matter who is going to play with who. The most important thing is the result at the end of the game and right now we give everything for the results. Everybody wants to be on top.
NHL.com: How do you feel your tournament has been so far?
Ovechkin: It's OK. You know, of course last game was pretty bad for us (2-1 shootout loss to Slovakia), but it's good to lose right now than in the future.
Contact Dan Rosen at: firstname.lastname@example.org.