-- Russia was just coming off the ice after a stunning 2-1 shootout loss to Slovakia, and Alex Ovechkin
appeared as calm as ever.
He knows the stakes are high here, but losing in a shootout in the round-robin is not going to kill Russia's dream of winning gold. Failing to score goals -- now that can put a damper on the Russians predicted success in these Olympics.
Despite scoring only one goal against what should have been a tired Slovakian team -- it played the night before against the Czech Republic while Russia had the night off -- Ovechkin is not overly concerned about Russia's lack of offense.
"No, we don't worry about goals," Ovechkin told NHL.com after leaving the ice following the seven-round shootout. "The goals are coming. We just have to do a more simple game, more simple plays. But, it happens. Sometimes you win and sometimes you lose."
Ovechkin was held off the scoresheet as Alexei Morozov had Russia's goal. Ovechkin scored Russia's lone goal in the shootout, but he also failed twice in the extra rounds on chances that could have given his team and put the pressure on Slovakia.
He never got off a shot in the fourth round thanks to a poke check from Slovak goalie Jaroslav Halak
, and he missed a wide with a backhand in the sixth round. Ovechkin said it was weird to be going so many times in a shootout, but that's a part of the IIHF rules.
After three rounds the coach has the right to choose whatever player he wants for the shootout. He can use the same player over and over again if he so chooses.
"No, we don't worry about goals. The goals are coming. We just have to do a more simple game, more simple plays. But, it happens. Sometimes you win and sometimes you lose." -- Alex Ovechkin
"It's something new, but you know, I think the ice, you can see when I tried to puck handle it, it was just bouncing," Ovechkin said. "It was the third game in the day and the ice was pretty bad, but it is what it is."
Ovechkin again skated with Pavel Datsyuk
and his Washington teammate, Alexander Semin
, during even strength situations for the entire game. He was mauling people physically, but overall the line just didn't look like it clicked at any point.
He does not believe that chemistry is a problem.
"Well, no, I think they played a pretty good defensively," Ovechkin said. "You can see that they wait out our mistakes and you know, it happens. They had a couple of chances and we had a couple of chances. I think their goalie played pretty good but in penalty shots you know it's lucky and on that side they had a lot more luck than us."
Russia picked up only one point with the shootout loss, leaving the door in Pool B open for the Czechs to take command with a regulation win over Latvia on Friday. The Russians and Czechs play Sunday, and Russia may need a regulation win to clinch a bye into the quarterfinals.
Ovechkin said he is not at all surprised with how this pool could shake out.
"Well, look, you know every game here is like the seventh game in the playoffs," he said. "Everybody wants to win. It's pretty cool to play here. I'm not surprised."
Contact Dan Rosen at firstname.lastname@example.org