RUSSIANS SHOULD COPY SUCCESS IN SALT LAKE CITY

Russia heads to Turin hoping to build off of their Bronze medal performance in Salt Lake City in 2002. The Russians have a fair bit of experience coming into this tournament, including eleven returning players from their Bronze medal squad. That being said there are some questions heading into this tournament. Many of them centre around whether or not the more experience Russian players will be apt to the challenges of the larger ice surface. Will Alexei Zhitnik or Darius Kasparaitis be able to keep up with quick skating opposition forwards and react in time to a spread out transition game? There are also concerns about Sergei Gonchar’s play in his own end this season with the Pittsburgh Penguins. With Anton Volchenkov, and Andrei and Danny Markov rounding out the top six the Russians do possess a good mix of size, grit, and finesse on the blueline. However, it remains to be seen if this blueline will be able to work as a cohesive unit in its own end of the ice, even though most have been playing in the plus this season.


In the net the Russians have a formidable top two in Nikolai Khabibulin of Chicago and San Jose’s Evgeni Nabokov. Both have proven themselves as number ones in the NHL and both make a good case for being the starter in Turin. Nabokov is having a slightly more successful season with the Sharks but both goaltenders are below .500 in wins and have save percentages below .900%. Given Khabibulin’s Cup run with the Lightning and his experience backstopping Russia to Bronze in 2002, he is likely to be given the nod. Even though he has struggled this season most of the blame can be placed on the Chicago defence in front of him. Expect Khabibulin to be a factor in Russia’s success.


On forward speed and skill dominate the Russian line-up. With dynamic youngsters like Alex Ovechkin and Ilya Kovalchuk, mixed with the sorts of Alexei Yashin, Alexei Kovalev, and Pavel Datsyuk, the Russians will be a constant scoring threat. The experience of Russian Super League players Kharitonov and Sushinsky, along with the junior eligible Evgeni Malkin could be a factor. Although Malkin did prove some of his worth at this year’s World Junior Championships in Vancouver winning the Top Forward award. Kharitonov and Sushinsky may be centred by Alexei Zhamnov on the fourth line, which may not see much ice time considering Zhamnov’s very poor showing in Boston this year, and the firepower in front of them. The Russians can be expected to do very well in this tournament, they are striving for the Gold and there is little evidence to suggest they won’t medal. Expect to see the Russians take home the Bronze.


10 Responses to RUSSIANS SHOULD COPY SUCCESS IN SALT LAKE CITY

  1. Kraftster says:

    I don’t think Khabi is there. Isn’t it Bryzgalov and Nabokov?

  2. Neely4Life says:

    yup, thats exactly who it is.

  3. Neely4Life says:

    No one is giving the Slovaks n e credit yet eh. People realize they could have the best offencive line in the tournament right? And the best defensemen in the world. If their Budja plays well, this team could win the gold.

  4. TIWILL says:

    KOVY,KOVY,KOVY

    HE IS THE GOOD CAPITAINE FOR THIS TEAM. THE HABS GIVE THE (C) AT KOIVU. BIG ERROR. THE LEADER IN THIS TEAM IS ALEX KOVALEV AND WITH HIM THE RUSIAN TEAM GO TO FINAL WITH CANADA. AND AT THE END CANADA WIN THE GAME HAHAHAH!!!!

  5. Neely4Life says:

    your not english r u .

  6. nyrhockey094 says:

    TIWILL your weird, the habs suck, and kovalev sucks even more.

  7. Senatorsfan78 says:

    Hi does everybody think that the Ottawa Senatros are going to aquire Garry Roberts and I have a gut feeling that the Ottawa Senators are going to aquire Garry Roberts.

  8. wingerxxx says:

    I wouldn’t worry much about Kasparaitis and Zhitnik. Kaspar has been in Olympic and international competition before and knows what it is like, and how to handle himself. Zhitnik is still a pretty good skater for a defenseman. Not quite Robert Svehla laterally, but he can hold his own. I think that Danny Markov is going to be the impact guy. Gonchar should also be in a comfort zone. The Russians were my pick to win the gold, and it seems like they are really coming together. If they don’t at least take the bronze, I will be stunned. No one wants to play these guys. If Zhamnov plays, he should be fine. He’s one of the better defensive forwards that Russia has.

  9. Komisarek says:

    TiWill is obviously French….TiWill stands for Little- Will by the way. (I am bilingual, born in Que but living in Ont.)

    As a Habs fan, I know Kovy is the player with the most talent on the team but he shows up once in a while, your captain is a guy everyone respects and a guy that shows up to EVERY game, that’s not Kovy for sure; but he does show up for the big games, when the pressure is on, I’ll give him that.

  10. EmptyNetter says:

    Not sure when you wrote this article but Kabiboulin and Zhamnov are both on injured reserve — Zhamnov broke his ankle and Khabbi has a knee injury.

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