TORONTO (CP) - You can count superstar Alex Ovechkin among those who wasn't surprised by the outcome of the recent Canada-Russia Super Series.
The Canadian junior team beat the Russians 7-0-1 in the eight-game series that wrapped up on Sunday. Ovechkin, who plays for the Washington Capitals, is arguably the best Russian player in the NHL right now. He knew his home country was in tough against Canada.
"You know, right now junior Canadian hockey is better," he said Tuesday. "Everybody knows it.
"I think the Russians are learning. They watched how they worked here. It's good for us - the kids, the guys that played in this series now understand what they need to do to be better."
Canada has beat Russia in the gold-medal game at the last three world junior championships.
Despite the recent Canadian dominance at the junior level, Ovechkin thinks it might have been closer had the series pitted the best professional players from each country.
That was the original intent of Russian Ice Hockey Federation president Vladislav Tretiak, who proposed the event to commemorate the 1972 Summit Series between the countries.
"Juniors are juniors and the national team is the national team," said Ovechkin. "I think it would be interesting (if the national teams faced each other)."
The 21-year-old Ovechkin made a stop in Toronto as part of his involvement with Right To Play, an international charitable organization that uses sport to improve the lives of children and communities affected by war, poverty and disease.
Ovechkin skated with some minor hockey players on Tuesday night. He's been involved with the organization since last summer and is interested in visiting Africa as an ambassador, just as Andrew Ference of the Boston Bruins and Steve Montador of the Florida Panthers did in July.
"I'd love to go on the same trip some time," said Ovechkin.