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Malkin denies ‘rift’ with Ovechkin, but admits there was no ‘chemistry’

Mar 11, 2014, 3:54 PM EST

Ice Hockey - Winter Olympics Day 6 - Russia v Slovenia Getty Images

It was one of the major criticisms of head coach Zinetula Bilyaletdinov after his Russian national team flopped in the Sochi Olympics — star forwards Evgeni Malkin and Alex Ovechkin were never split up, despite an apparent lack of chemistry.

Last night, in an interview with Yahoo! Sports, Malkin agreed with the critics; however, he didn’t think it was worth discussing anymore.

“We don’t have chemistry,” said Malkin. “We should have been probably moved [to different lines]. Why talk about it now? Of course we didn’t show the type of a game we are capable of. Certain changes to the lines should have been made probably. But yes, it seems there is no chemistry between us. We played well in the first game, but then it all disappeared.”

Malkin also said he still thinks about the Olympic disappointment every day, and that despite the rumors, there was no “rift” between him and Ovechkin.

Malkin’s Penguins take on Ovechkin’s Capitals tonight in Pittsburgh (7:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN).

Related: Five theories why the Russians lost

  1. lowenni - Mar 11, 2014 at 4:03 PM

    I believe that’s the full story. Before the Olympics both Malkin and Ovi actually told the coach not to put them together because they knew they would lack chemistry (as they always have), but he did anyways. Too bad, Datsyuk would’ve been a great playmaker for Ovi. Ovi and Geno have had a ‘rift’ in the past, but Ilya Kovalchuk helped them solve it a few years ago. What could’ve been…

    • borderline1988 - Mar 12, 2014 at 11:15 PM

      Nothing could have been. Hockey is a team sport, and to win at that level, you need a complete team. Russia had 4 world-class forwards, but after that, they were very underwhelming. The defense and goalie simply were not as good compared to the other top teams. Russia never had a chance against the top teams such as US, Canada, Sweden, Finland.

  2. patthehockeyfan - Mar 11, 2014 at 4:16 PM

    Agree with Malkin and lowenni. Team Russia was just bad ju-ju. Malkin is still smarting from the experience. Thank goodness it hasn’t impacted his play – at least, that’s what it seems. If it has impacted it, look out during the playoffs when he gets over it!

    Yahoo! Sports probably should have read the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review article before interviewing Malkin. All they needed to know was in there. Why bring it up nearly a month later?

    Time to let it go and move on.

    • Lupy Nazty Philthy - Mar 12, 2014 at 12:53 PM

      “Yahoo! Sports probably should have read… [doesn’t matter what you put after it] ”

      Yahoo! doing any kind of real research is asking a little much. They’re too busy catering to internet trolls.

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