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Москва (19:00)

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Екатеринбург (17:00)

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Мытищи (19:00)

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Москва (19:30)

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Москва (13:00)

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Нижний Новгород (18:00)

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Челябинск (14:30)

4 Сен, Вс

Мытищи (17:00)

4 Сен, Вс

Москва (17:00)

4 Сен, Вс

Сочи (17:00)

5 Сен, Пн

Балашиха (19:00)

5 Сен, Пн

Москва (19:00)

5 Сен, Пн

Минск (19:10)

5 Сен, Пн

Москва (19:30)

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Санкт-Петербург (19:30)

Interview
Ilya KovalchukIlya Kovalchuk" alt="43831afc7a8dcff66cc7b73f103cf314.jpg
Money for me has never been a priority. That's how I was raised by my father, by my parents. And when I terminated my contract with Devils, I did not even think for a minute about how much I might earn in Russia.

– One of the reasons you refused a deal with New Jersey was the situation with the NHL players' union. Has that changed now?

– Nothing has changed there, but now I have matured, I already have other interests. I want to try and win the Stanley Cup. I don't have too many years left to play hockey, in peak condition and at full fitness.

– Is it wise to go to the World Championships without a contract?

– I've played in many World Championships without a contract: back in 2010, before that. If you go onto the ice worried about getting injured, then you're sure to get injured. You have to put all such thoughts to the back of your mind. In any case, we're insured through the Russian Hockey Federation, so I've no reason to be worried about that. It is more important that the coaching staff and the management of the national team decide who to take, and who not to take.

Ilya KovalchukIlya Kovalchuk" alt="be96896d7e9448c2dc5e9382d2f2513d.jpg
We had a good team at SKA. A strong spirit, a friendly group, a great atmosphere, and we had a fantastic time together. It's just a shame that this year the Gagarin Cup was a little beyond us.

I think the League is improving. We have some great young guys coming through: look at Kaprizov, Shalunov, Shumakov, Gusev... A huge amount of guys that no one would have known about before, had there been no KHL, with that organization. Remember the Superleague. I left when I was 18, and it was in a state of ruin, just four places in all Moscow where you could play, training a seven in the morning... That's not serious.

Now we've made huge progress... and in only ten years. I must say thank you to those people who did the work when creating the League. God willing, it will continue to grow. Only where there is strong and healthy competition can you raise talented players, and for that you need star-studded teams. Look at football: in Spain you have Barcelona and Real Madrid, there's Bayern in Germany, Juventus in Italy. The same with hockey.

Merely spending a lot of money is not enough to bring you success. There are many examples: Ak Bars in the 2005 lockout, SKA for a while, Magnitogorsk, CSKA... Money doesn't solve everything. It is important to create the right atmosphere in the team, and build a strong vertical.

Ilya KovalchukIlya Kovalchuk" alt="528ca84499fa13723657db9293258221.jpgIlya KovalchukIlya Kovalchuk" alt="0b8009a8e6fb4dba00f3227512396c1f.jpg
I think the League is improving. We have some great young guys coming through. Guys that no one would have known about before, had there been no KHL.

It is understood that, in America, there is a set time after the match when you go to the locker room for five to seven minutes, you talk to reporters – you have to do it – and then you're free to go. What if I should walk out of the room and there is someone running behind me with a camera? It's ridiculous.

– Who is the liveliest character in SKA's locker room?

– We all have a lot of fun. Of the foreigners, it would be Patrick Thoresen. As for the Russians, most of them like to laugh and joke, but I'd pick out Andrei Zubarev.

– Would SKA be a force in the NHL? Would they be good enough to compete in the playoffs?

– It's hard to say. How could I possibly know? But we do have a very good team. People like to note that SKA supplied 15 players for the national team, but what does that prove. It's highly subjective. Each coach has people in whom he puts his faith, but if a different coach took charge, then he would have changed half the team. In the KHL more than half the guys once played for their national teams at one time or another.

We had a good team at SKA. A strong spirit, a friendly group, and our wives all got on well with one another. There was a great atmosphere in the team, and we had a fantastic time together. It's just a shame that this year the Gagarin Cup was a little beyond us.

Ilya KovalchukIlya Kovalchuk" alt="dcd703af40c97a96a0eb943d435e7791.jpgIlya KovalchukIlya Kovalchuk" alt="3f87823b3b67197bfce070fccff9246b.jpg