Team Russia revived its World Cup tournament with a tight victory over North America on Monday night.
The game was fast-paced, frantic and extremely entertaining, and kept Russia’s World Cup hopes alive.
Don Cherry, however, was not impressed with Team Russia’s performance — especially with regards to the coaching.
Cherry took issue with the ice time of superstars Alex Ovechkin and Evgeni Malkin during a special edition of Coach’s Corner, and was critical of Russian head coach Oleg Znarok’s tendency to roll four lines instead of featuring his superstars more prominently.
“They don’t have enough power to roll four [lines]. [Ovechkin and Malkin] are horses, they’re used to playing,” Cherry said. “That’s why they never do anything. It’s lousy coaching.”
Ovechkin has one goal and one assist in two tournament games so far, skating for just 15:03 Monday night and 16:25 in Sunday’s loss to Sweden. According to Cherry, that combined time of 31:28 is just not enough.
“You cannot have guys playing more than Ovechkin and Malkin,” said Cherry.
Malkin, meanwhile, has seen more combined ice time than Ovechkin through two games of action, but has just one assist to his name.
To put their time on ice totals in perspective, Ovechkin averaged 20:18 of ice time per game in the 2015-16 NHL season, good for eighth place among all NHL forwards. Malkin’s average of 19:22 ranked him 30th among forwards.