Sport-Express reporter Igor Rabiner caught up with some members of Team Russia yesterday and got some insight into the living conditions for the players. I hope Malkin's mom hurries up and gets there so they can have some decent food to eat. Those guys aren't going to win Gold on a belly full of Big Macs.
Semyon Varlamov: The team is unhappy with the food in the village
At 1815 the team returned to the Olympic village and soon went to eat. When the players started returning, Semyon Varlamov said:
"We're going to have to come up with something better for food. It's not the best quality here. A lot of the guys ended up going to eat hamburgers at McDonalds. I really don't want to complain-I'm just giving my first impression from going to the cafeteria."
How's everything else for you in the village?
"Everything is normal. I've got a standard room for two which I'm sharing with Grebeshkov. We roomed together back at the World Championship, and so they've put us back together again."
Are you upset that in your very first game after returning from injury that you let in six goals which got you some harsh criticism from Bruce Boudreau?
"No matter how you look at it, a two month break is a really long period of time. But now I'm back in top form and ready to play. As far as the coach's words, well, there was a good reason for them."
Alexei Morozov Confirms
I verified (Varlamov's opinion) with Alexei Morozov.
Is it true the players are unhappy with the food?
"Yeah, it's pretty bad. So much so that we just went to McDonalds to eat. But like they say, a diet like that isn't going to make you want to go jogging. Before a game you need something else, like spaghetti. They have spaghetti here, but it's absolutely tasteless. The guys tried it and they all turned it down."
Doesn't the coaching staff ban fast food and things like it?
"No. We are all professionals, we are used to cooking for ourselves and know what and how much to eat."
Are you going to do something to solve the issue with the food?
"Yeah, we are going to talk and do something. That just can't be."
How is your room?
"To be honest, it's uncomfortable. The television is on the floor, and it's not in the bedroom but in the living room. But in the living room there's only one chair, and there will be two of us in the room (according to tradition, Morozov's neighbor should be his friend Ilya Kovalchuk- ed.)! One side table for two people, the beds close together...we'll have to move them around a bit to make it a bit more comfortable."
So basically for now it seems you aren't enamored with the conditions.
"True, but it's really nothing-we'll survive."
Alexander Semin Goes for a Joyride
What did you do between the time you arrived and practice? I asked Semin.
"We flew in at one, and went immediately to the hall. Time just flew there. They handed out uniforms, then sticks, stuff like that... Time passed by unnoticed."
Have you managed to feel like you are at the Olympics now?
"Pre-Olympic jitters started when I sat down on the plane. I'd say it's a healthy nervousness. I think everything is going to be just fine."
Have you not talked with Bykov and Zakharin yet?
"No. The team arrived and we immediately went out on the ice. We were only able to celebrate Viktor Kozlov's birthday. I'm happy that our old Washington five is back together (besides Kozlov, Semin is talking about Fedorov-ed.)
So do you know yet which of the centers is going to play with Ovechkin?
Does the 3-hour time difference between Washington require any type of acclimatization?
"Yeah, but for us, of course, it isn't as hard as for the guys from the KHL."
You've really been burning it up lately-for example, you had a hat trick. Do you think you've found your groove?
"I hope to God that things just keep going like this."
And that evening, the forward showed what he is capable of off the ice. The players came out of the building to walk around and saw a little electric car, used to transport luggage. Semin saw the key in the ignition, and with a joyous cry he took the car for a few laps. He offered to give a ride to his ex-Capitals teammate Kozlov, but nine years difference in age pre-ordained the veteran's refusal.