“is party time now?” Projecting the 2014 Russian Olympic Team

 

Apparently, yesterday was the day all of hockey’s media decided to begin their predictions for the 2014 Olympic games in Sochi, Russia. From ESPN to Yahoo, both the USA and Canada has been the talk of the best international hockey tournament on the globe. Luckily, no one is yet talking about the hosts, the best national team in the sport, and the reason you all read this site.
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Russia Heads to Sweden in Search of Gold (Updated)

(courtesy of the Russian Hockey Federation)

It’s come to our attention that we somehow overlooked this years upcoming IIHF Men’s World Championships. With that, let’s take a quick look at the Russian roster and the tournament which officially starts on Friday. Russia arrives in Sweden hoping to capture any kind of silverware as last year they were bounced by eventual champions Finland before losing to the Czech’s in the bronze-medal game.
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Kuznetsov to stay in Chelyabinsk

As the Washington Capitals equalized their semi-final series last night against the Rangers thanks in part to captain Alex Ovechkin, news this morning reached Caps land that their brightest future star won’t join the team come next season. According to the ever reliable Pavel Lysenkov of Sovsport, Kuznetsov has decided to stay in the KHL for not one, but two years.

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Russia Avoids Collapse; Advances to Gold Medal Game

(Courtesy of JC Pinheiro/HHOF-IIHF Images)

Last time Russia met Canada at the Junior World stage it took a five goal rally by the Russians to clinch their first gold medal since 2003. Last night, the Russians avoided a similar rally at the hands of the Canadians when their 5-1 lead entering the third period quickly vanished.
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Dueling Russians

This year’s NHL draft brings about a lot of talent, as it does year after year.  However, the crop of Russian players is not as copious as years past (most noticeably the 2010 NHL Entry Draft).  You will not find the likes of a Burmistrov, Tarasenko, Kuznetsov, Kabanov, Galiev, or Kitsyn.  But a new breed of Russian hockey player is quickly coming into the fold.  The two notables in this year’s draft are, the OHL’s, Vladislav Namestnikov and Alexander Khokhlachev.  Most likely first or second round draft picks, these two Russians have taken the next step in achieving their dreams of playing in the NHL by coming across the ocean from Russia to play in the top junior league in the world.

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Don’t Call it a Comeback They’ve Been Here for Years, Russia Defeats Canada 5-3

(courtesy of Matthew Manor/HHOF-IIHF Images)

They say good things come in threes and if you happened to play on this year’s Russian Junior National Team well tonight’s 5-3 win over Canada to win gold was the perfect end to what has been a monumental tournament. Coming back against Finland to reach the semi-finals, then coming back again to beat Sweden to reach the finals showed the character and spunk these new hero’s had.

Finding themselves down 3-0 entering the third period against the home crowd favorite Canada would leave little room for hope in many, this year’s group? Not even close. Led by Artemi Panarin, Russia scored five unanswered goals to not only complete a modern day “Miracle on Ice” but also retain gold for the junior squad for the first time since 2003.
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Caps Prospects Taking Different Routes to NHL

(Courtesy of Russian Machine Never Breaks)

In this past summer’s NHL entry draft, the Washington Capitals went Russian with their first two draft picks. Their first of choice of the day saw them select Evgeny Kuznetsov (1st round/26th overall) and then with their next pick they went with Stanislav Galiev (3rd round/86th overall).   The two are very different players and are taking different paths to get to the NHL to help prepare them to make the jump.

Evgeny Kuznetsov became the 7th Russian player the Capitals drafted in the first three rounds of the last seven NHL drafts and it’s easy to see why.  The left handed right winger fits into the same mold as his future Capital teammate, Alex Ovechkin.  He’s extremely gifted offensively and not afraid of physical play but can struggle when asked to play defense.  Kuznetsov has also represented Russia on the international stage as a 17 year old playing in U-18 and U-20 World Junior tournaments, including being named to the WJC all-star team in the U-18 tournament.
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