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11-09-2012, 02:21 PM
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Originally Posted by Nash View Post
Russia should win this series this year handily. This is by far the best squad they have ever brought. Their roster is probably at least 60% of who will be playing at the WJC, and sometimes higher depending on which Major Junior players are with them.

Canada is icing squads from 3 separate leagues and in the OHL and WHL games, they are partially split squads. You might be getting 30% of an actual WJC roster on any given night. Also, Canada is auditioning about 9 goalies over 6 games. Vasilevski was the best goalie in the tournament last year and his backup isn't bad either.

For those ragging on Yakupov, he has looked pretty impressive to me for someone who is being targeted so much. He may be trying to do a little too much at times, but that is also on his coach. It's clear he wants Nail carrying the puck up every PP. I think having him play in this series is very smart for Russia. Malkin and Ovechkin were overwhelmed by Canada's physical tactics in Gold medal games and rendered ineffective. Nail gets 6 warmup games to figure out how to work around them.
Canada probably also has at least 60% of its WJC slots filled in already as well. Its an advantage to be able to look at a broad range of players from all 3 leagues to fill out the other 40% of the slots.

Canada's physical game has been less effective in recent years in affecting the outcome of games. Everybody expects it, and is prepared to deal with it. Some Russian teams (e.g, the 2011 WJC team) were probably more physical than the Canadians. This Russian team has some big, strong players who won't be run out of the rink. Yakupov is not one of them, but he's a tough kid, and he doesn't look a bit intimidated. He just has to stop showboating with the puck, remember that he has other good players on the ice with him, and stop making unforced errors and turnovers.

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