Thread: Sochi 2014
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12-19-2011, 09:05 AM
  #85
Fulcrum
 
Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: Toronto, ON
Country: Russian Federation
Posts: 2,605
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Slitty View Post
I'll update my musings on the matter. Mostly in terms of forward lines that I think would be interesting:

Kovlachuk-Burmistrov-Kuznetsov
Semin-Malkin-Kulemin
Ovechkin-Datsyuk-Radulov
Tikhonov-Anisimov-Tarasenko

Potential challengers at centre include Grigorenko and Loktionov, but they have a lot of catching up to do if they hope to be at a stage in their development that allows to challenge Burmistrov/Anisimov for a spot. Kuznetsov can also always be moved to centre - it is not entirely clear what position he will specialize in over the next couple seasons.

Apart from my projection for Tikhonov and the asumption that Kuznetsov and Tarasenko will continue to develop as expected, the biggest question marks on the wing are Semin and Kulemin - both of whom are having substandard seasons. Recovering their offensive production will be essential to them making the team. You will also perhaps say that Kulemin doesn't belong on a scoring line and needs to be used in a 4th line checking role even when he is completely on his game. And while I agree to a certain extent, I also think that he is a good complimentary player (lines composed entirely of superstars seldom work), and simply wish to re-unite him with Malkin. Otherwise, Yakupov and Petrov are the frontrunners among the group of youngsters playing catch-up on the wing in this instance. And established players like Zherdev, Perezhogin, and Shirokov who are currently on the cusp of an optimal national lineup can also challenge for a spot if anyone should falter. I also sincerely hope that Frolov rediscovers his game.
I've seen enough of Tikhonov this season to say that his raw skills are lacking at the moment. He was a very good player during his WJC but it looks like he lost his creative touch since then. If he doesn't improve, I don't think he'll make- considering the likes of Grigorenko and Yakupov.

Here's a name I never thought I would say- Zherdev. IF he gets his head on straight (seems like he is on the right track), he definitely has the skills to complement the team. I like him during the latest Eurotour stage.

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