- © RIA Novosti. Grigory Sokolov
© RIA Novosti. Grigory Sokolov
BRATISLAVA, Slovakia, January 11 (R-Sport) - As the debate hots up over who will captain host team Russia in next month’s Olympic hockey tournament, leading candidate Ilya Kovalchuk said the title “means nothing” to him.
His remarks are in stark contrast to fellow contender Alex Ovechkin of the Washington Capitals, who has said he would consider it “a huge honor” to be selected. Kovalchuk and Ovechkin were both alternate captains at the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver.
“A patch on your chest means nothing,” Kovalchuk said, referring to the sewn-on "C" on a captain’s uniform. “To win at the Olympics, everyone in our team must be a captain.”
Speaking ahead of the KHL All-Star Game in Slovakia, the ex-New Jersey Devils wing joked that he decided to quit the NHL for Russia’s SKA St. Petersburg in the summer just so that he could get personal tuition from Russian figure skating champion Evgeni Plushenko.
“He gave me several lessons,” Kovalchuk said. “So if there’s a chance, I’ll definitely be demonstrating my skill on the ice today.”
A figure skating competition is a regular, if somewhat unorthodox, inclusion on the All-Star Game program in the KHL, alongside the traditional hardest shot and fastest skater events.