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Russian hockey star Ovechkin arrives in Prague to join national squad

May 15, 2015, 11:45 UTC+3 PRAGUE
The Russian team is now facing the United States in the semifinals round of the championship on May 16
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Alexander Ovechkin (left)

Alexander Ovechkin (left)

© AP Photo/Julie Jacobson

PRAGUE, May 15. /TASS/. NHL Washington Capitals captain Alexander Ovechkin arrived in Prague on Friday to join the Russian national team at the 2015 Ice Hockey World Championship in the Czech Republic.

Ovechkin said he was "in good spirits" upon arrival despite his club 1-2 loss in overtime on Wednesday in the 7th match of the US league’s playoff series against New York Rangers.

Reigning world champions Russia confidently barged into the semifinals of the 2015 Ice Hockey World Championship in the Czech Republic following their 5-3 victory against long-time rivals Sweden on Thursday night.

The Russian team is now facing the United States in the semifinals round of the championship on May 16. The finals will take place on Sunday.

Russian Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko told TASS that the 29-year-old forward, who was named the best scorer of the 2014/2015 NHL regular season and led Russia last year to the world championship’s title in Belarus, could help Russians defending their world champion’s title.

"He will be very useful for our team," Mutko said. "Yes, he'll have to acclimatise but I think that he can help the Russian squad."

"Our team is among the [championship's] favourites," the minister said also praising the Canadian, US and Czech squads.

"The semifinals will be no easy ride," he added.

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