Has Russia overtaken the #1 spot in World Hockey?
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11-27-2012, 04:42 PM
Join Date: Dec 2010
Originally Posted by
J17 Vs Proclamation
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.
I agree with much of your assessment of Russian youth hockey, although the defense improved substantially in the "Super Series" this past August and the Subway Super Series earlier this month. Much of the reason why Russian juniors have not competed well, IMO, is that they lacked the opportunity to gain any form of competitive experience. With the creation of the MHL, all that has changed, although it will take a few years to get the MHL up to full speed. The biggest benefit of the MHL, I believe, will be to exponentially expand the development of talent. We'll see how well it works out.
In regard to the NHL, what keeps it alive is the constant infusion of talent from Europe. Nearly all individual NHL teams would get blown off the ice by national teams from Europe. As a whole, NHL teams have just a few very good players, while the full roster is populated by players who could be described as average to mediocre. That fact tends to create false perceptions about how good individual players actually are, especially when paid public relations specialists go vastly overboard in hyping their talents (e.g., Claude Giroux). It is interesting to note that, according to the Wikipedia, Canadians constitute only 53% of the NHL. That percentage will no doubt drop below half in the near future. Those demographics will no doubt be reflected in a shift in who stands on the top podium at international tournaments, be they best on best or other.
Last edited by Yakushev72: 11-27-2012 at
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