Russia at the 2011 World Championship
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05-09-2011, 08:00 PM
Join Date: Dec 2010
Originally Posted by
If you had the chance to assemble the roster, who would be on it?
If I had to assemble the roster, it would be younger, and play with more of an attitude, like R2. I loved the way R2 played, with passion and emotion, dealing out clean, heavy hits (yes, they were clean!) to establish a physical presence. I am a long-time Russian fan, and I can easily tell when Russian teams will succeed. The teams that play as if they are hungry with a fire inside them - for example, the 1979 Challenge Cup team and the 2008 WC team - are almost impossible to stop! They combine great skill and talent with an inexorable desire to win.
Contrast those teams with this year's edition. You can see that this group clearly lacks the intensity and will to accept the pain that goes with carving out their own territory in front of the opposing net. Instead, they are content to play with the puck on the side boards and at the blue line, firing low percentage shots on net and hoping they get a lucky bounce! Unfortunately, they have been mostly unlucky, which is why they are scoring no more than two goals agains the good teams.
Zinoviev is talented, but in the last four WC's, he has produced no results. If Gorovikov and Kaigorodov are among the cream of the crop in the KHL, things are worse than I thought. Unfortunately, it is a Russian tradition to have second-rate defensemen. Even in Soviet times, there were only a handful of decent defensemen. To return to a dominant position, it is going to take a long-term building process, and the KHL is the league that must lead the way. The sad truth is that some of the best young talents from Russia (Grachev, Voinov, Kitsyn, Kabanov) are in the CHL and AHL, both of which offer one-way tickets to oblivion for Russian players. If I were to pick a roster, players like Tarasenko and Kuznetsov would get their feet wet early.
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