During the recent LG Hockey Games (an annual World Championship preparation tournament in Stockholm and Helsinki), Bykov confirmed that two-time Hart Trophy winner Alex Ovechkin, 2009 World Championship MVP Ilya Kovalchuk, high-scoring Capitals forward Alexander Semin and promising young Capitals goaltender Semyon Varlamov all said they will answer to call to help the national team defend its World Championship gold medal. In addition, enigmatic Los Angeles Kings forward Alexander Frolov and Nashville Predators defenseman Denis Grebeshkov will join Team Russia for the start of the tournament.
In a recent interview with Sovetskiy Sport translated through Russianhockeyfans.com, Kovalchuk explained that he and other top Russian players already had discussed possible World Championship participation immediately after the Olympics, and pledged to one another that they would play in the tournament if possible. He also said he spoke with Ovechkin and Semin shortly after the Caps lost Game 7 to Montreal. Although Kovalchuk is an impending free agent, he said his contract status will not be a deterrent to playing in Germany.
“We must win and make this season end well,” Kovalchuk said. “My wife Nicole understood me at once, told me that the whole family would be watching games on TV and cheer for us. She and the kids stayed in Miami. I spent a week there and flew to Russia.”
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