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World Cup diary: Vladimir Tarasenko

Says Team Russia is ready to put 2014 Sochi Olympics behind it

by Vladimir Tarasenko / Special to NHL.com

St. Louis Blues right wing Vladimir Tarasenko is playing for Team Russia at the World Cup of Hockey 2016. The 24-year-old has agreed to keep a diary throughout the tournament, which begins in Toronto on Sept. 17 and runs through Oct. 1.

In his third installment, Tarasenko talks about his experience at Media Day on Thursday, his excitement about arriving in Toronto, and getting ready for Team Russia's World Cup preliminary round opener against Team Sweden on Sunday.

TORONTO -- Being at World Cup Media Day was an interesting experience.

You just sit at a table and wait until somebody from the media comes and asks you the same questions you already answered.

No. Actually, it's pretty cool stuff to see your booth with your name over it and to talk to different people covering the World Cup from different countries.

We've been waiting for a long time for this tournament and we are finally here. It's great to finally be in Toronto, and I'm happy to be with Team Russia because we have a really good group of guys and we just enjoy our time together every day.

It's fun. It's a good experience for us. We can't wait until the games start.

I think our final pretournament game against Team Canada in Pittsburgh on Wednesday was a really good game, but still a little bit different because we're not used to playing on the smaller NHL rink against teams like this that are fast. I think everything is different on the NHL rink in comparison to the wider international rink -- the speed, every part of the game.

Although we lost 3-2 in overtime, I think it was a really good challenge for us.

Now, we have three more days to correct what went wrong and build on what we did right and try to be 100 percent ready to play Team Sweden in our first preliminary round game on Sunday.

The coaches will tell us what we need to do. We'll just try to think about our game right now. When we have our pregame meeting, the coaches will come in and tell us what we need to do and our job is to do what they say.

It's going to be difficult tournament with so many good teams. I don't think you can find two teams that are the same in the world. Every team is different, and even if they play the same style, they have different players.

The first game against Team Sweden is really important too because our second game against Team North America on Monday is a back-to-back.

All we need to do is go step by step, take small steps, win every game, and go all the way.

It feels like a long time ago that we lost to Finland in the quarterfinals of the 2014 Sochi Olympics. We have different coaches. We have different management. We have different players.

Now, we have a brand-new team and brand-new goals, too. So you can't think about the past. You can't think about Sochi.

Of course, it was a really bad experience for us and it was really sad losing that way at home in Russia. But now it's a new tournament, a new day and a chance to get it back.

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