25 февраля 2010 г.

Russia or Canada? Ice Hockey final in Vancouver

Russia's holding its breath as the national hockey team prepares for a titanic clash with Canada at the Winter Olympics. More than any other player, hopes lie with Russia's biggest star - Alexander Ovechkin.

Ovechkin began his career playing in the Russian Super League when he was only 16 years old. Now he is the Russian team left winger, and the team captain of the Washington Capitals of the Intentional Hockey League.

“Ovechkin is a team leader in the NHL and in the Russian team. I want to be like him. High scores, controls the puck and defends well,” says one of the boys training in the Moscow hockey school where Ovechkin trained.

Alexander Ovechkin is said to have picked up his first ice hockey stick when he was just two years old. He can certainly afford expensive equipment now, having signed a contract in 2008 for $124 million – that was the most lucrative contract in the history of the National Hockey League.

“Even though Alexander started playing ice-hockey later than the normal age, he had real dedication and passion. After training sessions he’d stay and keep training, almost to the point where we had to stop him,” recalls Aleksandr Filippov, Ovechkin’s trainer.

The final games are more exciting as the biggest talents in ice hockey compete against one another, including Alexander Ovechkin for Russia and Sidney Crosby for Canada.

“Qualifying for a quarter final, for a semi final is still the same – if you lose, you are out,” Ovechkin himself states. “So, this is going to be, probably, the most interesting thing for us.”

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