Newly-signed Blackhawks and Team Russia forward Artemi Panarin had some choice words for his upcoming semifinal opponent at the World Hockey Championships, after dispatching of Sweden on Thursday:
Russia’s Panarin on next game: “We’re in a fighting mood to play the Americans. We need to teach those college kids a lesson.” #IIHFWorlds
— IIHF (@IIHFHockey) May 14, 2015
Russia advanced to face the U.S. on the strength of a 5-3 win quarterfinal against the Swedes, in which Panarin failed to score — a rarity for the 23-year-old, who has five goals and 10 points through eight games this tournament.
Regarded as one of the most skilled players in the KHL, Panarin signed a two-year pact with Chicago on May 1 and is expected to be with the team to start next season. That deal, combined with his scoring exploits at the Worlds, could be why he’s brimming with confidence heading into the semis; Panarin is also likely pleased that Washington captain Alex Ovechkin will join Team Russia in time for Saturday’s tilt against the U.S., which you can watch on NBCSN.
As for the “college kids” comment… Panarin is (presumably) referring to the four NCAA products currently suiting up for Team USA: Jack Eichel (Boston University), Jimmy Vesey (Harvard), Mike Reilly (University of Minnesota) and Dylan Larkin (University of Michigan.) Yale goalie Alex Lyon is also on the squad, but has yet to play and sits third on the depth chart behind Jack Campbell and Connor Hellebuyck.