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Russia: NHL Stars Return to 2012 World Hockey Championship

Undefeated after seven games, and boasting an All-Star lineup of Evgeni Malkin, Pavel Datsyuk, Alexander Semin, and Alexander Ovechkin, the Russian national team will face Norway in the quarterfinal round of the 2012 World Ice Hockey Championship, tomorrow on May 17.

The 2012 World Ice Hockey Championship is being held in Stockholm and Helsinki. Both cities hosted tournaments during the preliminary round, where eight teams competed for the four slots advancing to the single-elimination quarterfinals. Helsinki's group consisted of: Belarus, Canada, Finland, France, Kazakhstan, Slovakia, Switzerland, and the U.S., while Stockholm's had: the Czech Republic, Denmark, Germany, Italy, Latvia, Norway, Russia, and Sweden.

Russia started the tournament on Saturday, May 5, with a 5-2 victory over Latvia, before going on to beat Norway 4-2 on Sunday, Germany 2-0 on Tuesday, and Denmark 3-1 on Thursday.

Russia's Emotional 7-3 Victory Over Sweden

Dmitry Mikhaylov announced in his bilinguial blog how the Russian team came from behind to beat the host country on Friday, May 11.

STOCKHOLM – In a highly anticipated match-up, Russia and Sweden met tonight at the Globe Arena in an emotional battle of undefeated teams at the 2012 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship. Down 3-1, Russia scored six unanswered goals to win 7-3.

In response to this highly emotional victory, both the mainstream and citizen media outlets of the Russian Internet devoted dramatically increased coverage to the tournament.

Bloggers Respond to Russia's 2-0 Victory Over the Czech Republic

Planet's Sporting World discussed [ru] how, although Russia scored after only 24 seconds of play, the Czech Republic dominated much of the game, but could not capitalize. NHL Pittsburgh Penguins player Evgeni Malkin scored for Russia in the third period, before he and two of his teammates — Pavel Datsyuk and Milan Mikhalek — were charged with minor penalties.

As is often the case when mainstream outlets build attention on an event, many Russian bloggers quoted their reportage, as a way of spreading popular analyses. Ruslan's News reposted [ru] a quote from Evgeni Malkin, taken from a Vesti article:

Тяжело всё выполнить. Но, конечно, здорово сыграли. И в обороне пять минут выстояли в третьем периоде. Это, наверное, дало всплеск эмоций, и после этого мы забили быстрый гол.

It's difficult to accomplish everything. But, of course, we played great. And our defense held out for five minutes in the third period. This, probably, generated a lot of emotion, and afterwards we scored a quick goal.

News Spreads of the Return of Alexander Ovechkin & Alexander Semin

Similarly, news of the return of Alexander Ovechkin and Alexander Semin from the NHL, following the Washington Capitals’ 2-1 loss to the New York Rangers, spread rapidly in both mainstream and citizen media outlets. (Evgeni Malkin's Pittsburgh Penguins and Pavel Datsyuk's Detriot Red Wings were eliminated even earlier, in the previous round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.)

Alexander Semin scores the first goal in the World Ice Hockey Championship final, 18 May 2008, photo by Alexey Chernyadyev, CC BY-SA 3.0; Wikimedia Commons.

Most bloggers framed the story as a homecoming for Ovechkin and Semin, while some Twitter users indicated their familiarity with mainstream journalism, such as Sport.rbc and Lenta.ru.

Lisbeth Armel:

Прочитала, что овечкин любит хип-хоп и r'n'b. представила. 5 минут сидела с фейспалмом.

I read that Ovechkin likes Hip Hop and R&B. I sat down and thought about it. For five minutes I just facepalmed.

Sanya Belovka:

Овечкина и Семина Ждем с нетерпением….В россии….2-1 Вашингтон домои)!!!А Овечкин В ШВЕЦИЮ!!!!

We're anxiously waiting for Ovechkin and Semin….[to be] in Russia [again]…..[He lost] 2-1 to Washington, and now he's homeward-bound.) !!! But [it turns out] Ovechkin is headed for Sweden!!!!

Ilgiz Taipov:

Приезд Овечкина и Семина по разному комментируют, кто то вспоминает его прошлогоднюю игру за сборную, и пишут типа зачем он нужен и т.п.. Надо уметь использовать потенциал этого игрока, а мы то знаем что он может играть, что потенциал у него огромный. Семин тоже хороший игрок, то что с Вашингтонгом Кэпиталз случилось это чисто тренерский просчет.

People are saying different things about the arrival of Ovechkin and Semin. Some recall how [Ovechkin] played [poorly] for last year's national team, and wonder why we need him, etcetera. We have to be able to use this player's potential, and we know that he can play — that he has enormous potential. Semin is also a good player, and what happened with the Washington Capitals was purely an issue with the coach.

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