- © RIA Novosti. Grigory Sokolov
© RIA Novosti. Grigory Sokolov
MOSCOW, January 27 (R-Sport) – Ak Bars Kazan center Alexander Svitov was called up to Russia’s Olympic hockey team Monday as a replacement for injured two-way forward Denis Kokarev.
Kokarev picked up a leg injury last week during his KHL club Dynamo Moscow’s 2-1 win over CSKA Moscow, becoming the second member of the 25-man team to be ruled out of the Games.
Earlier, the same happened to Kokarev’s teammate Sergei Soin, who was replaced with Carolina Hurricanes forward Alexander Semin.
Svitov, 31, has represented his country at the last two world championships, winning the gold medal in 2012.
“Initially Alexander Svitov was in the extended roster,” Russia coach Zinetula Bilyaletdinov said on the Russian Hockey Federation website. “We picked him because he is an experienced player, a world champion, and may play well in the defense and at the face-offs. Besides, Alexander is quite a powerful and big player.”
The 6-foot-3, 245-pound center scored eight goals and made three assists in 46 games this season playing in the fourth line of his team.
Svitov also has NHL experience, spending three seasons with the Tampa Bay Lightning and Columbus Blue Jackets, where he notched up 37 points in 186 appearances.
The Olympic hockey tournament will be held in the 12,000-seat Bolshoy Ice Dome from February 12 to 23, with Russia playing its first game against Slovenia on February 13. Also in Russia's pool are the United States and Slovakia.