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11-27-2012, 03:39 PM
J17 Vs Proclamation
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Originally Posted by Yakushev72 View Post
You're right about overrating junior hockey. The Russians are notorious late bloomers, mainly because, up until the very recent past, kids didn't start to gain competitive experience until they reached 19 or 20. Russian senior level players are World's better than their junior compatriots.

IMO, Canada got hooked on the World Juniors because for long periods, no one could compete with them, so it was an annual victory celebration that they could all share. Because half the time the WJC is played in Canada, you can't get tickets for it because everybody wants in on the party. Even though the Swedes, Americans and Russians have emerged as competition in recent years, those countries really don't have the same interest or emphasis for junior hockey that is found in Canada.
I think Russia sees it's premier talents at a disadvantage at 16/17/18 because they don't have same intelligent compete than Canada/US has. Of course they care, but they aren't often as astute tactically and can be overmatched physically at times (Though it varies from year to year). The main issue with Russian Junior hockey from the little i get to see is the ability of the defenders. They are frankly awful relative to the other Big 3.

Nations have different attitudes on youth development for sure, although fortunately most now realise how imperative it is. It is odd how Junior hockey has cultivated such a cult in North America. Junior sports are almost non existance in Europe in terms of popular ; youth development is purely for future senior players and not money or entertainment.

The other issue, which is often overlooked, is European hockey is quite different to North American hockey. There are many excellent players in European hockey who would murder established NA players on European ice. But because everything is so NHL orientated if you aren't in the NHL, you aren't anybody. You're not good enough. Well, i bet if many NA players came to Europe, many would be unsuccessful.

Canada is the best hockey nation in terms of number of quality players and depth. However it gets tiresome when you see the same stated belief that they and the NHL are somehow the center of the hockey world and anybody who isn't in it, cannot be good. I hope this lockout has made atleast a few people appreciate European hockey more.

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