Earlier this month, Canada went undefeated to take capture the gold medal in the 2015 IIHF World Hockey Championship in the Czech Republic. Russia, the 2014 Champions, fell in the gold medal game, unable to repeat the feat. Apparently, some of team Russia did not take the loss well, leaving the ice prior to the traditional playing of the victor’s national anthem; something that did not sit well with at least one Canadian forward.
“I’ve lost in that tournament three times, and twice was to Russia. We stood out and listened to their anthem,” center Matt Duchene told Sportsnet 590 The Fan on Thursday. “We would never have dreamed of skating off the ice.”
The day following the contest, IIHF president Rene Fasel stated that Russia would be punished for their actions, offering a strongly-worded statement of his own.
In the 29 world championships that I have had the honor of attending, this is the first time I have seen something like this<’ read Fasel’s statement to TASS. “What the Russian team did was completely out of order.
On the ice during the game, anything can happen — collisions, fights. However, after its conclusion, respect to the opposition is always necessary.”
It is worth mentioning that not all of the Russian team left the ice. Superstar Evgeni Malkin (who scored the only goal for Russia in the 6-1 defeat) remained, as did Washington Capitals captain Alexander Ovechkin; who even seemed to attempt to keep his teammates on the ice.
Former NHLer Ilya Kovalchuk and Alexander appeared to be leading the exodus. This fact, coupled with a story Jason Spezza told Duchene of the Russian’s excessive celebrations in years past, likely exacerbated his frustration.
“The one time he was saying that [Alexander] Radulov in Halifax was skating right by them, jumping on the boards with the Russian flag. [Canadian] guys were real close to leaving the blueline and go take a run at him,” said Duchene.
“Over time, you gotta pay it back. You can’t celebrate like that when you win and not respect when you lose. That’s something as Canadians we have a good understanding of. Some of the Russians did; some of them didn’t.”
In an interesting twist, Duchene and Radulov could be teammates in the not-too-distant future. Duchene’s NHL team, the Colorado Avalanche, have reportedly talked with Radulov taking his talents to the Mile High City once his contract with CSAKA Moscow expires. Should that be the case, the two will have one year to make amends; as Radulov will be a free agent after the 2015-2016 season.