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11-21-2012, 12:21 PM
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Originally Posted by Fulcrum View Post
Varnakov has very big shoes to fill. We also believe that this team has enough talent to win the WJC, so there are no excuses. If this team doesn't do well (top 3 finish) it'll be hard not to blame him.
My opinion about Varnakov was low at first, but after all is said and done, I thought I detected a huge improvement in the defense in the SSS. I really liked Bragin as well - his team in 2011 made these huge, almost miraculous comebacks, because they never quit. The Gold Medal game against Canada in Buffalo was insane! However, if he had a weakness, it might have been the defensive side of the game. In Calgary, the team had a huge problem getting pinned inside the defensive zone. They gave up an average of 52 shots on goal from the Czechs, Canadians and Swedes. It caused them to have to go to OT to beat a less than great Czech team, and they squandered a 6-1 lead to 6-5 in less than 5 minutes against the Canadians. It was the only reason, IMO, that such an offensively talented team didn't win Gold. If they play really good defense in Ufa, I think there is enough offensive talent to win.

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