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Gonchar and Malkin on Olympics - 12-26-09

Written by Seth Rorabaugh on .

Penguins defenseman Sergei Gonchar and forward Evgeni Malkin discussed being named to the Olympic roster for Russia after tonight's practice at Southpointe. First Sergei Gonchar:

On being selected:

"I'm obviously honored. To play for the national team is a big honor. I didn't think about it that much to be honest with you. We've had so many games because of the Olympic schedule. I was obviously hoping that I would make it and play there."

On being selected as an older player:

"I would say any player, it doesn't matter what age you are, I don't think anybody takes it for granted. At any point of your career it's a great honor. It's probably more special now. For me, (the) fourth Olympics coming in, making it, it's special. "

Would a potential line of Malkin, Alex Ovechkin and Ilya Kovalchuk be one of the best of all time:

"There was the (Alexander) Mogilny-(Sergei) Fedorov-(Pavel) Bure line for a very short time. Have to remember the 'KLM' line, (Vladimir) Krutov, (Igor) Larionov and (Sergei) Makarov. Those three (Kovalchuk, Malkin, Ovechkin) have the same level of talent. If (that line is formed) it's going to be something special."

On playing with Montreal defenseman Andrei Markov (right):

"We've played together. It seemed like we had a good chemistry. I don't know what the coach has in his mind, but I think we're going to play together."

Surprised at so many KHL players being selected:

"No. Not at all. It's a good league. If you look at the teams over there, they're signing good players. The league is getting better and better with every year. I'm not surprised at all."

On offering teammates tips on playing against Sidney Crosby:

"They've done their homework.  I'm they've watched our games and know what to expect. But if they ask for my advice, I'll obviously tell them what his tendencies are. I don't think it's a surprise for anybody. The guy's been around five, six years now. People know what to expect."

On seeing NHL teammates play against each other:

"That's why the Olympics are so special. You see a lot of teammates playing against each other. It's going to be Sid and 'Geno.' It's going to be Ovechkin and (Mike) Green probably. There's going to be a lot of competition. It's one of those things that happen rarely."

On established players likes Alexei Kovalev (right) or Alexander Frolov being left off the roster:

"It's the coach's decision. They're all great players. I'm sure they understand the coach has a structure in his mind. I don't know what's the reason. Sometimes that's just the way it is. I am surprised a bit but I don't know what to say. The coach has his plan, and I guess that's the way he decided to do it."

Malkin. On being named to the roster:

"I'm very excited. Good team. I've not played for the national team for three years. It's good for me. Everybody wants to go. I played in Turin. I had a great time."

Pressure for Russia to win a gold medal:

"I don't know. It's no pressure for me."

On the potential of being teamed on a line with Ovechkin and Kovalchuk (right):

"(Laughter) I don't know. It doesn't matter where I play. I'll play hard and be ready."

On balancing his focus between the Penguins and Russia:

"It'll be hard. Lots of games in a short time. We need to be ready. I want to try to help both teams. "

On Kovalev's omission:

"I don't know. Maybe coach not like him. It's just 22, 23 guys who go. I don't know, it's not my call."

(Photos: Gonchar and Malkin-Gene J. Puskar/Associated Press; Markov-Photobucket; Kovalev-Ryan Remiorz/Canadian Press; Kovalchuk-Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

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