When you have a roster with players like Alexander Ovechkin, Evgeni Malkin and Ilya Kovalchuk. Your expected to score a lot of goals and make opposing goalies sweet.
After finnishing 4th in 2006, the Russians are looking to get back on the Medal Stand after losing to the Czech Republic in the Bronze Medal Game which turned out to be a downhill after the Quarterfinal win over Canada, the team started going dowhill with a 2-0 loss to the Finns, then in the Bronze Medal game, the Czech Republic beat the Russians 3-0 to finish in 4th place in 2006.
As expected, the offense is going to be their usual selves with the offensive firepower with the top NHL Superstars in Malkin and Ovechkin. Joining them on offense will be players Maxim Afinogenov, Alexander Semin and perhaps the biggest name in the KHL right now is Sergei Fedorov who's playing with Russian Powerhouse Metallurg Magnitogorsk who reached the KHL Semifinals last year and is looking to win the KHL Title this season.
Defense may be the weak spot as the Russians typically play their high flying style. Expect the top Defensemen duo will be Sergei Goncar and Andrei Markov to help out to move the puck and get involved with the scoring themselves.
Elsewhere is Fedor Tyutin of the Columbus Blue Jackets who's the biggest player on this team at 6'3" 218 and is not afraid to eat up the minutes as he had played as much as 27 minutes in a few games this season. In all, he's usually good for at least 20 minutes a night, it's a lot more if they're a lot of penalties. And should be imporant on the Penalty Kill to deliver the hits. Tyutin can also set up different forwards, with the excption of his rookie year, he's had at least 14 assists a year in the NHL throughout his career.
As for the KHL Players on defense is Dimtri Kalinin for Salavat Yulayev Ufa, Konstantin Korneyev for CSKA Moscow and Ilya Nikulin of AK Bars Kazan. Kalinin was a regular in the NHL for nearly a decade. Then after the lockout, his career in North America went downhill where he was sent to the NY Rangers over the offseason, after he was traded to Phoenix near the trading deadline. He finally decided to bolt for the KHL when he was let go by the Coyotes last summer, He eventually decided to play for
The Goalie battle is going to be one of the best in this Olympic Tournament as the battle for the starting job will be between Ilya Bryzgalov of Phoenix and Evgeni Nabokov. Even though they is a contversery that Russia trys to steal players from teams like Belarus, Kazakhstan and Latvia. And Nabokov is officaly from Kazakhstan, but has played a majority of his international career with Russia. The 3rd goalie being called up for Russia is Semyon Varlamov who may play a game or two if maybe the Group has been clinched and a 2nd round bye.
Internationally, Russia has competed very well since the last Olympic Games in Italy. The Russians have won the Ice Hockey World Championships the last 2 years and could be only the the 2nd team since the break up of the Soviet Union and Czechoslovakia to win 3 straight World Championships when the Czech Republic won from 1999 to 2001. This year, the Ice Hockey World Championships will be played in the German Cities of Colonge and Mannheim this season.
Also Russia has been until recently, the top European team in the Junior Ranks by winning 2 Silver Medals and 2 Bronze Medals since the last Olympics. The 2010 WJC was the first time since 2004 where they were left off the Medal Stand. It was also the first time that Russia didn't reach at least to the Semifinals when Switzerland pulled off a huge upset in the Quarterfinals in Overtime.
In the U18, the Russians won the Silver Medal won the tournament was in the U.S.A. where the Americans just crushed the Russians last year for the U18 World Championships. Russia also won the 2007 U18 Gold Medal and a 2008 U18 Silver Medal as well.
Team Russia Group Stage Schedule
2/16: VS. Latvia 10:55 PM
2/18: VS. Slovakia 10:55 PM
2/21: VS. Czech Republic 2:00 PM
Here's the Player Profiles of the North America Based Players.
Ilya Bryzgalov (PHX): www.nhl.com/ice/player.htm?id=8468524&view=stats
Evgeni Nabokov (SJ): www.nhl.com/ice/player.htm?id=8460705&view=stats
Semyon Varlamov (WSH): www.nhl.com/ice/player.htm?id=8473575&view=stats
Sergei Gonchar (PIT): www.nhl.com/ice/player.htm?id=8458951&view=stats
Denis Grebeshkov (EDM): www.nhl.com/ice/player.htm?id=8470268&view=stats
Andrei Markov (MTL): www.nhl.com/ice/player.htm?id=8467496&view=stats
Fedor Tyutin (CBJ): www.nhl.com/ice/player.htm?id=8469492&view=stats
Anton Volchenkov (OTT): www.nhl.com/ice/player.htm?id=8468501&view=stats
Maxim Afinogenov (ATL): www.nhl.com/ice/player.htm?id=8466202&view=stats
Pavel Datsyuk (DET): www.nhl.com/ice/player.htm?id=8467514&view=stats
Ilya Kovalchuk (NJ): www.nhl.com/ice/player.htm?id=8469454&view=stats
Evgeni Malkin (PIT): www.nhl.com/ice/player.htm?id=8471215&view=stats
Alexander Ovechkin (WSH): www.nhl.com/ice/player.htm?id=8471214&view=stats
Alexander Semin (WSH): www.nhl.com/ice/player.htm?id=8470120&view=stats
Russian Team Roster
30: Iyla Bryzgalov, 6'3" 210, 6/22/1980, Togliatti RUS, Phoenix Coyotes (NHL)
20: Evgeni Nabokov, 6'0" 200, 6/25/1975, Kamenogorsk KAZ, San Jose Sharks (NHL)
40: Semyon Varlamov, 6'2" 209, 4/27/1988, Samara RUS, Washington Capitals (NHL)
55: Sergei Gonchar, 6'2" 211, 4/13/1974, Chelyabinsk RUS, Pittsburgh Penguins (NHL)
37: Denis Grebeshkov, 6'0" 209, 10/11/1983, Yaroslavl RUS, Edmonton Oilers (NHL)
7: Dimitri Kalinin, 6'3" 206, 7/22/1980, Chelyabinsk RUS, Salavat Yulayev Ufa (KHL, RUS)
22: Konstantin Korneyev, 5'11" 181, 6/5/1984, Moscow RUS, CSKA Moscow (KHL, RUS)
79: Andrei Markov, 6'0" 207, 12/20/1978, Voskresensk RUS, Montreal Canadains (NHL)
5: Iyla Nikulin, 6'3" 211, 3/12/1982, Moscow RUS, AK Bars Kazan (KHL, RUS)
51: Fedor Tyutin, 6'3" 218, 7/19/1983, Izhevsk, RUS, Columbus Blue Jackets (NHL)
6: Anton Volchenkov, 6'1" 226, 2/25/1982, Moscow RUS, Ottawa Senators (NHL)
61: Maxim Afinogenov, 6'0" 192, 9/4/1979, Moscow RUS, Atlanta Thrashers (NHL)
13: Pavel Datsyuk, 6'1" 196, 7/20/1978, Sverdlovsk RUS, Detroit Red Wings (NHL)
29: Sergei Fedorov, 6'1" 200, 12/13/1969, Pskov RUS, Metallurg Magnitogorsk (KHL, RUS)
71: Ilya Kovalchuk, 6'2" 230, 4/15/1983, Tver RUS, New Jersey Devils (NHL)
52: Viktor Kozlov, 6'4" 232, 2/14/1975, Togliatti RUS, Salavat Yulayev Ufa (KHL, RUS)
11: Evgeni Malkin, 6'3" 195, 7/31/1986, Magnitogorsk RUS, Pittsburgh Penguins (NHL)
95: Alexei Morozov, 6'1" 204, 2/16/1977, Moscow RUS, AK Bars Kazan (KHL, RUS)
8: Alexander Ovechkin, 6'2" 233, 9/17/1985, Moscow RUS, Washington Capitals (NHL)
47: Alexander Radulov, 6'1" 188, 7/5/1986, Nizhni Tagil RUS, Salavat Yulayev Ufa (KHL, RUS)
32: Alexander Semin, 6'2" 208, 3/3/1984, Krasnojarsik RUS, Washington Capitals (NHL)
25: Denis Zaripov, 6'0" 163, 3/26/1981, Cehlyabinsk RUS, AK Bars Kazan (KHL, RUS)
42: Sergei Zinoviev, 5'10" 178, 3/4/1980, Prokopyevsk RUS, Salavat Yulayev Ufa (KHL, RUS)
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