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11-28-2012, 10:20 AM
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Originally Posted by Fulcrum View Post
Russia struggled a bit with production of top talent between 2006 and 2009, esp. with death of Cherepanov (R.I.P.) but they are right back at it now. They've now fielded 3 very deep offensive teams in WJC and even more coming for 94, 95 and 96 born players. We've now went from barely finding players good enough for WJC to having up to 50 players competing for spots, and it's pretty fierce for some positions.

There are going to be 70-80 minor pro junior teams next year, probably split between two leagues. I think they are on the brink of surpassing the talent production of Canada, if they haven't already. The countries population and the speed of expansion, and the fact that it's becoming the #1 sport in the country is already visible for those who follow jrs. This time around, there are no limitations of communism in developing professionals either (like CSKA Red Army limitations in USSR)
I agree that the trend appears to favor Russia over the long term. The explosion in opportunities for young players and the improvements at the senior level can't help but create more and more hockey talent, and fairly soon. In the 1990's and early 2000's, Russia's hockey system had been gutted, and it was impossible to produce enough quality players to win major international tournaments. All of that is changing dramatically.

Also impressive is the strides that have been made in Sweden. Its seems that their youth programs just keep getting better and better.

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