The last victory – under the neutral flag
On February 23, the Russian hockey team beat the Czech Republic and reachedthe final of the Olympic Games for the first time in 20 years. In 1998, the team with Fedorov, Yashin and brothers Bure lost in the final just the Czech, whose leader – Jaromir Jagr – still plays. At the next Olympics in Salt Lake City and Turin, the team reached the semi-finals, after which there was a lull.
Vancouver 2010 – quarterfinal, 3: 7 with the Canadian team
Sochi-2014 – quarter-final, 1: 3 with the national team of Finland
Even if the team wins the tournament in Pyeongchang, it will remain in history as a team of “Olympic athletes from Russia” (OAR) with a neutral flag and anthem. Russian hockey players have already played without a flag and a hymn: in 1992, the United Team of the former Soviet republics participated in the Games. That team eventually won gold medals.
The lack of NHL players weakened competitors
NHL – the North American championship, where the majority of the best hockey players of the planet are collected. For a long time, the leadership of the league has not let its athletes into the Olympic teams, but since 1998, “Legionaries” have appeared at the Games from overseas. Best of all, this affected Canada – the NHL stars helped her win three of the last four Olympics.
However, in April 2017, the league announced that it would stop releasing players in teams during the Olympic Games. The decision was explained by the need to interrupt the championship for the time of international competitions. League commissioner Gary Bettman even suggested holding a hockey tournament during the summer Olympics, when the NHL off-season.The absence of many of the strongest hockey players has affected the interest in the tournament. The media have already called it “lean” and the worst for many years. As a result, the US team bet on players from the “second class” leagues and students, and Canada called the athletes from the Continental Hockey League (KHL) – the Russian championship. The Americans did not even reach the semifinals, and the Canadians took bronze.
Russia also does not have “legionaries”
The weakening of competitors made Russia the main favorite of the Olympics. The team collected strong players from the KHL clubs, including two leaders – CSKA and SKA, which actually became the “base” teams of the team. Also in the composition there are former NHL stars who returned to Russia: Ilya Kovalchuk and Pavel Datsyuk.
In this case, because of the ban for the national team of the UAR will not play such hockey players as Alexander Ovechkin, Evgeni Malkin, Sergei Bobrovsky, Yevgeny Kuznetsov, Nikita Kucherov and many others. Each of them would become an intensification for the Russians.
In Pyeongchang, the team lost only once
Before the finals, the Russian team reached confidently, although it lost in the first match to the Slovaks. After that, she did not suffer a single defeat.
Russia 2: 3 Slovakia
Russia 8: 2 Slovenia
Russia 4: 0 United States
Russia 6: 1 Norway
Russia 3: 0 Czech Republic
In the final – Germany
Before the Olympic Games for the Germans did not put anybody. In the group stage the national team won only once, but lost twice. But on the Olympic system, Germany still went further, and already in the elimination games in extra time overcame first Switzerland, and then Sweden.In the semi-finals the Germans got Canada, which even in a weakened composition remained very dangerous. However, hockey players from Germany led 3: 0, and by the end of the match they stood and won 4: 3. The players themselves called the achievement of the national team, which was always the middle peasant, “the fulfillment of a dream” and “the greatest day in German hockey”.Germany’s entry into the final was a surprise for Russia as well. The team clearly counted on a “beautiful sign” with the Canadians. Even the president of the Russian Hockey Federation Vladislav Tretiak after the match with the Czech Republic said :. “In the end we need Canada” But the Germans are not going to give up – on the way to the finals they have already beat the Olympic champions and World Champions.
Where and when to watch
he final match will be held on February 25 at the Gangneung Hockey Center in Pyeongchang. Due to the time difference with South Korea, the game between Russia and Germany will start at 7:10 am Moscow time.
Two federal channels – the First Channel and Match TV – and the satellite Eurosport 1 will conduct a live broadcast from Korea. Also, the finals of the Olympic tournament can be viewed on the Internet: for example, in Odnoklassniki or on channel sites.