Top Five Russian Hockey Players
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12-05-2010, 06:15 PM
Join Date: Dec 2010
Top Five Russian Hockey Players
Одна из самых мощных хоккейных наций на планете, Россия последовательно произвела талантливых хоккеистов, возвращающихся несколько десятилетий. Однако, только в прошлых 20 годах или так, совпадая с роспуском прежней советской Республики, что эти звезды катались на коньках для команд НХЛ.
5 - Alexander Semin(notes)
Some would argue that this man might be the most skilled player on this list. He is a crafty stickhandler, a superlative passer, and his shot is absolutely lethal. He only needs about a quarter of a second to release his potent wrist shot, and when he does, goalies can only wave helplessly as the puck whizzes over their shoulder and into the top corner. Living in teammate and countryman Alexander Ovechkin's shadow Semin puts up impressive statistics despite what is, much of the time, a second line role.
4 - Ilya Kovalchuk(notes)
Though he is currently struggling mightily with the New Jersey Devils, even the biggest Kovalchuk detractors would be hard-pressed to deny this man's raw talent. As a member of the Atlanta Thrashers, Kovalchuk was one of the deadliest offensive threats in the NHL on a nightly basis. Five times in his career he has scored 40 or more goals, and has twice broken the 50 goal barrier. With speed, size, tremendous stickhandling ability, and a shot that is one of the best in the game it is only a matter of time before this Russian superstar gets his game back on track.
3 - Evgeni Malkin(notes)
It is a testament to the depth of the Russian hockey program that this former Art Ross trophy and Conn Smythe trophy winner only merits third spot on the list of the best Russian hockey players in the NHL today. Despite his tremendous size, Malkin possesses an incredibly deft touch with the puck, and watching him work in the offensive zone is very reminiscent of watching Mario Lemieux operate in his prime. Injuries and inconsistency have limited his offensive production at times, but he has still averaged well over a point per game over his career, and at just 24 years of age he is just starting to enter his prime.
2 - Pavel Datsyuk(notes)
The Detroit Red Wings pulled off one of the greatest draft day steals in NHL history when they landed this skilled Russian forward with the 171st overall pick in the 1998 NHL Entry Draft. Since then Datsyuk has evolved into arguably the most complete player in the NHL and has become a cornerstone of the Red Wings dynasty that is a perennial Stanley Cup contender. Not only does he consistently put up big numbers offensively, but his three consecutive Selke trophies as the NHL's best defensive forward show how effective he is on the other side of the puck as well.
1 - Alexander Ovechkin
One of the most explosive, dynamic, exciting players the game has ever seen, Alexander Ovechkin is all but unstoppable when he is playing at his best. Not only can Ovechkin punish his opponents on the scoreboard with his laser beam of a shot, but his 237 pound frame and his love of delivering big bodychecks means he can dole out physical damage in equal measure. In just five and a quarter seasons Ovechkin has already accomplished more than most stars do in a career. He already has a Calder trophy as rookie of the year, two Hart trophies as NHL MVP, and led the league in scoring in 2007-08. He has hit 50 goals and 100 points in four of the five seasons he's played, and his 279 career goals to date make him one of the most prolific Russian goal scorers in NHL history. All that, and he's just turned 25 years of age!
It is scary to think this guy might still be improving. If he has a long, healthy career there is little question Ovechkin will surpass Sergei Fedorov(notes) as the highest scoring Russian-born player of all time.
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