Former Toronto Maple Leafs captain Mats Sundin won a gold medal with Team Sweden in 2006, so he knows a bit about what it takes to win on the international stage.
That’s why when Sundin sounded off to TSN Radio in Toronto about the performance of Russia, it’s worth at least paying attention to.
“I was almost disgusted by their performance when they played Finland,” said the 43-year-old who played 18 seasons in the NHL. “I look at the Finnish team and they’re missing key players. They don’t have any of their big stars and now [Rask] is hurt and that Russian team is stacked with great players and to come out and have that performance they had in the quarterfinals. It was an absolutely heartless performance.”
Sundin went on to question the Russians desire further saying if the presence of Russian president Vladimir Putin couldn’t inspire them, he didn’t know what else could do it.
As Sundin mentions, Finland had a host of key players missing including Mikko Koivu, Valtteri Filppula, and Aleksander Barkov. Russia’s key players like Pavel Datsyuk, Alex Ovechkin, and Evgeni Malkin had less-than stellar performances in the Olympics but for the most part their offense didn’t do enough to help them win on the whole.
Still, when retired players are coming out of the woodwork to pile on, it’s a sign things in Russia need to change if they’re going to win a medal in 2018.