MOSCOW – The Russian national team will travel to Germany with a roster that is highlighted with several NHL stars, clearly indicating the team’s ambition to win its third straight World Championship title.
During the LG Hockey Games in Stockholm and Helsinki head coach Vyacheslav Bykov and assistant coach Igor Zakharkin confirmed that several NHL players are ready to join the Russian national team including Alexander Ovechkin (Washington Capitals), arguably the world’s finest hockey player who received MVP honours from the NHL and the NHL Players’ Association last year as well as the Maurice Richard Trophy for the most goals scored (56) in the regular season.
On Monday, Russian team GM Igor Tuzik said that the federation has applied to German visas for Ovechkin and the other incoming NHL players, as well as trying to clear the challenge with the insurance.
Ilya Kovalchuk (New Jersey Devils), the MVP of the 2009 World Championship, Denis Grebeshkov (Nashville Predators) as well as Ovechkin’s Washington teammates Alexander Semin and Semyon Varlamov will also join the national team. On the other side, Phoenix netminder Ilya Bryzgalov and Ottawa defenceman Anton Volchenkov will miss the World Championship due to injury, the Russian Hockey Federation announced.
Alexander Radulov, who didn’t join the squad to the LG Hockey Games, is sidelined due to injury, but remains on the roster and is expected to travel to Germany.
The final rosters will be known on Friday evening, May 7, following the first directorate meeting.
Russia will play Slovakia (May 9), Kazakhstan (May 11) and Belarus (May 13) in Group A of the Preliminary Round in Cologne.