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Olympics: Putin says Russian ice hockey team 'best at Games'

Published on Feb 18, 2014 6:40 AM
Russian President Vladimir Putin (right) and Prime minister Dmitry Medvedev watch Russia's national ice hockey team play Slovakia during the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games at the Bolshoy Ice Dome on Feb 16, 2014. -- FILE PHOTO: REUTERS

SOCHI, Russia (AFP) - President Vladimir Putin on Monday marked the Russian ice hockey team as favourite to win the Olympics, saying they were the best team in the tournament.

The Russian press has expressed concern about the team - packed with NHL stars like Alex Ovechkin - after a loss to the United States (US) and victory against Slovakia, both in shootouts.

But Mr Putin said: "I am convinced... that our team is not just one of the best, I think it is the best in the tournament." Mr Putin also entered into the debate over the disallowed goal in Saturday's match with the US that would have given Russia an outright victory.

It was disallowed by a referee - from the US - on the grounds the goal had come off its base.

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