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MOSCOW, February 18. /ITAR-TASS/. The match against Finland will be the most important event for the Russian national ice hockey team. So, when playing Norway, the team spared its stamina, Mikhail Markelov, first deputy chairman of the State Duma Committee for public associations and religious organizations, told reporters, when asked to comment on the win of the Russian team over Norway.
“This was a remarkable victory. Perhaps, the game was not as spectacular, as one would like. It was more of a tactical nature, as it was necessary to save up strength to play Finland,” said the MP, noting that there was concern about the outcome of the game. “Things went well, but a spectacular game could not be expected.”
Markelov said he had long followed the team’s performance, and, as a spectator, would expect more attempts to score. He expects the team to show its best in the game against Finland. He said attacking rather than defence had always been the team’s strong point. “There are many ‘stars’ on the team, so the team should be impressive in attacking,” the MP said.
Anyway, he said, the team spirit was manifested in the game against Norway. “This is very important. Sometimes players feel constrained with ‘stars’ around. Not so this time. The team spirit was really present. Still the most challenging games are ahead,” the MP stressed.
“I believe the game against Finland will be the most important one,” Markelov went on. “If Russia makes it to the semifinals, it will be a great achievement, bearing in mind how strong the national teams of the United States and Canada are,” Markelov said.