Russia Survives Against North America

russia

After last night’s letdown against the Swedes, Team Russia had little chance to sulk. Partially in part to a literal rude awakening at the hotel, but also because the young guns of North America awaited mere hours later. What Russia would come out after coming so close to clawing their way against a strong Swedish team versus a team that has existed for a good two weeks? It looked to be more of the same from Sunday, as again Russia allowed the first goal after Connor McDavid and Jack Eichel made Pavel Datsyuk and the D corps look pedestrian for the quick lead. Russia would get numerous chances on the man advantage but could barely muster any sort of offense as that “here we go again” feeling slowly crept into everyones head.
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The Russians are Coming

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Sound the sirens!  Run to your shelters!  The Russians are invading!  No, seriously.  In the 2011 NHL Entry Draft, 8 Russians were taken.  You look at that number and think, “Hey.  That really isn’t that many.”  And you’d be right in that regard.  However, this is the first time in four years that the number of Russians has increased.  Dont believe me?  Refer to the chart below:

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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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Buffalo means “Disappointment” in Russian

(courtesy of (Photo by Andre Ringuette/HHOF-IIHF Images)

It had always been a dream of mine to go to the World Junior Championships to watch some of the best young talent in the world assembled on their respective national teams.  Along with my trip to the games, FRWG is starting a new section of the site that focuses on Russian prospects from around the world, so what better place to start an article than with the Russian National Junior team. 

This event once showcased the likes of Alexander Ovechkin and Evgeni Malkin who were the last ones to bring Gold for Russia at the World Juniors.  Needless to say, this Russian team had some shoes to fill, considering they organized a lackluster effort the year prior, failing to bring home a medal. 
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