Michkov: You´ve got to have fun and play for the team to score

Aug 3, 2021 | David Sokol

Russia demolished Switzerland 9-2 and secured the semi-finals. It was especially a blue-chip prospect Matvei Michkov who shone brighly and put up two goals and three points in the game. That brought him up to seven points in total at the tournament which can significantly improve his chances to be drafted no. 1 overall in the 2023 NHL Entry Draft...

Matvei, another great game and a great win for you, but I assume it was a must-win game for you considering you are a much stronger team on paper than Switzerland...
I cannot really judge this, there are a lot of great teams here at the tournament. The Swiss were a very tough opponent for us, we had to fight a lot in the first period. It was the same in the second and third period, we really had to battle for the puck. But we succeeded and this is the reason why we were able to win.

Another three-point win means you will for sure play in the semi-finals. Considering this, will you take it a little easy tomorrow against the Czechs?
No, there are no easy games at this tournament. Every time you step on the ice, you want to win. It would make no sense to come on the ice with the thought in your head that you might lose this game. So we have to go out there tomorrow and do our best.

You personally grabbed three points today and have seven in total at this tournament. How come you are so dominant?
(smiling) We are not thinking about the individual points. We are just having fun and everybody is playing for the team. This is basically the recipe to be productive –⁠ you got to have fun and play for the team, and the points will come.

Does maybe help a little that you know both your linemates from the U18 World Championship? I will not try to pronounce their names because I would probably buther them [Ivan Miroshnichenko and Ilya Kvochko]...
Well, you have to practice the pronunciation (laughing). But yes, it obviously helps a lot. We are just having fun and we really enjoy playing together when we have the opportunity.

You were very lethal on the power play both today and yesterday. Is this the role you want to play the most?
Well, if the coach puts me on the ice to kill a penalty, I have to kill a penalty. This is how it works in Russia, you have to go on the ice when the coach tells you to. And if you get a chance to play on the power play, you should produce.

Do you have a favorite team you want to play against in the semi-finals?
Not really, we just have to believe in ourselves. It does not matter who will we encounter in the semi-finals, we just have to play hard and play our game.

You are ranked very high for the 2023 NHL Entry Draft, is it something you think about? Do you think this tournament is your chance to show the scouts you can go no. 1 overall and be the best prospect in the world?
I cannot say I pay a great attention to it, but obviously I am aware of it. I know there is a lot of great guys in my draft class so there is a lot of work to do.

Thank you for your time.

In brief

Pre-tournament games

21.6. - The final pre-tournament games will be played on Saturday, 29th July. The Czech Republic will host Canada in Břeclav at 18:30 CET, 12:30 ET. Meanwhile, Slovakia will host the USA in Trenčín at 17:00 CET. Coverage of these games will be available at

Instagram of HGC

1.6. - The official instagram of Hlinka Gretzky Cup is availible here.

Interested in history?

6.2. - Do you know who won the Cup last year? Which team has won the most gold medals? HERE you can review the history.
History of the hockey legend

Information about Ivan Hlinka

More about the legend