Matt Duchene didn’t beat around the bush when asked about much of the Russian team storming off during Canada’s gold medal celebration and national anthem at the Worlds. He made it clear to Sportsnet 590 The Fan that he didn’t take the slight lightly.
“I’ve lost in that tournament three times, and twice was to Russia. We stood out and listened to their anthem,” Duchene said.
“We would never have dreamed of skating off the ice.”
It’s been made clear that some Russian players did stay out during Canada’s anthem, including Alex Ovechkin and Evgeni Malkin. Duchene said that their gesture didn’t go unnoticed, and “that spoke to a lot of us” on Canada’s team.
He has harsh words for those who bolted, though.
Apparently Jason Spezza relayed a story to Duchene regarding alleged poor sportsmanship from Alex Radulov that won’t exactly simmer things down:
“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,” Duchene said.
“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.”
With Radulov and Ilya Kovalchuk in the KHL (for now?), we might not see Duchene and most of the Russian players involved on the same sheet of ice until the next opportunity in international competition. (Surely he can single a player or two out, but some may point to Radulov and Kovalchuk in particular.)
Specifics aside, this incident adds a little spice and a lot of bitterness to the Canada – Russia hockey rivalry.
Check out highlights of Canada’s lopsided 2015 World Hockey Championships gold medal win below.