WASHINGTON (CBSDC) – Karl Alzner feels empathy for Capitals teammate Alex Ovechkin, who took the brunt of the blame for his Russian team being ousted from the Olympics early by Finland on Wednesday.
“I don’t know many people who take as much pride in their country as he does; he shows up to the rink in Russian tracksuits a lot of times,” Alzner told 106.7 The Fan’s Lavar Arrington and Chad Dukes.
“He clearly really, really, really wanted to win this – especially in Russia – and he’s a big advocate of having NHL players to go back to play in the Olympics, so the fact that it’s ending the way it is, he’s got to be pretty crushed about it,” he said.
Related: Ovi’s Not To Blame for Russia’s Loss
“I couldn’t imagine the feeling of having to deal with that in your home country, with all the pressure they had, but I just hope he comes back and he’ll make teams pay for that, and plays good for us, but it’s too bad that they’re not even gonna medal.”
However, Alzner’s not worried about Ovechkin returning stateside with any Olympic hangover, caused by the depression of unexpected defeat. He does admit however, the thought of Russia’s early exit affecting Ovi’s performance with the Capitals, upon his return, has at least crossed his mind.
“I thought about that for a second,” Alzner said. “And then I just remember one of the things that he had mentioned in an interview, before the Olympics, when they asked him, ‘What’s more important: Stanley Cup or the Gold medal?’
“He answered quickly, that when he’s at the Olympics it’s the gold medal, when he’s in the NHL it’s the Stanley Cup. So I don’t think that it’s gonna be something that’s going to be weighing on him too much while he’s here, he’s got business to take care of here, he’s on his way to 50 goals, he’s trying to get us into the playoffs, and obviously wanting to win a Stanley Cup.”
Photos: Team USA Defeats Czechs 5-2
As the United States prepares to face Canada on Friday, for a spot in the Gold medal game, Alzner — who failed to make Canadian’s Olympic team after being on the developmental team last summer — also admits he still imagines what it would have been like if he’d been on the team.
“Yea,” Alzner said. “How nervous I would be, and how crazy the whole atmosphere would be. It would be amazing to be playing against [John Carlson, representing the U.S.] in that setting. I can only compare it to my other international experience with the World Juniors, and that was insane and I had a hard time managing that intensity and that pressure, so stepping it up to this, I can only imagine what’s going through their heads right now.”