ZURICH-KLOTEN – Forward Konstantin Koltsov has not only the honour of representing Belarus here at the World Championships, but is also their captain. It is a tremendous responsibility that demands a lot and Koltsov recognizes that. After a brief NHL career with the Pittsburgh Penguins, Koltsov has plied his trade in the old Russian Hockey League, and now the Kontinental Hockey League. He’s spent the better part of three seasons with Salavat Yulayev Ufa. IIHF.com’s John Sanful spoke with Koltsov after his team lost to Canada on Friday.
What are your thoughts on the game?
Mikhail (Grabovski) had a good game for us but I think the big moment of the game was when we did not score when we had a 5-on-3 power play opportunity. We might have lost our confidence after that. Still, you have to keep battling so we will play hard again in the next game.
Still, do you take something away from the loss that you can use to improve on Sunday?
Canada is, I think, the best team in the world championships whenever they participate. They are so talented. We have so many young guys, especially on our defence and a few at forward. We tried to play our best but it is tough playing against Canada. But when you go up against the best it will improve your game. This I believe.
What is it like having Glen Hanlon back as coach?
I think everybody is happy because we played our best games when Glen was coaching the national team last time. He’s made us a better team. It's like he never left.
When were you named captain of the team?
Right before the World Championship I was told that I’d be captain of the team.
What does being captain mean to you?
Oh, it’s tough. It is tough because you have to support the young guys and be a leader. I know everyone from the coaches to our fans expect me to play at the top of my game at all times and be an example for everyone else.
What must your team do in preparation for the next game against Slovakia?
We have a day off in between so we’ll stay together and talk about the next game. We did a few good things against Canada but overall must improve to be competitive. Again, Canada is one of the top teams but going against them will only make us better in the end.
And Grabovski must have another good game like he did today when he had a lot of chances.
Oh yeah, we’re going to work with him.