The Russians want to dominate the medal standings the 2014 Winter Olympics, absolutely because it’s taking place in Sochi, Russia. However, there’s one Gold Medal that Russia wants the most. That would be the Men’s Ice Hockey Gold Medal.
However, that might not all that Russia is focused on in the hockey tournament according to Igor Larionov. In an interview with Eric Duhatschek of The Globe and Mail, Larionov had this to say about Russia’s pressure of being at home and their desire for a rematch with Canada.
“Yes. Since the last Olympics in Vancouver, all they’ve been talking about is the rematch. Nobody exists in world hockey or Olympics, but Russia and Canada, which is a big mistake, to think like that. There are more than two teams going for gold. Everybody is talking about that one terrible loss – 7-3 – and what a disgrace and a disaster for Russian hockey it was…”
Team Russia might want to be careful. If they are too focused on getting revenge on Team Canada for that 7-3 drubbing in 2010, they could very well overlook other teams that have medal aspirations. Russia can ill afford another early exit and getting ahead of themselves could very well lead to that.
When asked about if he makes predictions, Larionov points out that Russia is absolutely not a lock to win Gold.
“I don’t. I remember one year at world championships in Quebec, Rick Nash threw the puck over the boards and it was a game delay penalty and five-against-three in overtime and Russia won the gold medal when (Ilya) Kovalchuk scored. So things like that, you can’t predict or anticipate. One bad goal, one bad bounce and all of a sudden, it’s over. Or if (goalies such as) Hiller gets hot for Switzerland or Bobrovsky or Varlamov, what can you do? It’s hard to say who’s going to end on top. People are choosing Russia, Canada, the U.S., Sweden or the Czechs as favorites, but you never know. That’s what the Olympics are all about. Somebody has to be in top form mentally, physically and respond in the moment.”
Does that sound like a player that has faith in his home country?