Has Russia overtaken the #1 spot in World Hockey?
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12-14-2012, 08:35 PM
Join Date: Feb 2010
Location: Edmonton, AB
Originally Posted by
I don't think so. The Russians are arguably the best at producing dynamic, offensive threats. Perhaps even one of the better countries at producing puck moving defencemen.
But the mediocre goaltending and lack of stud defencemen in recent years is indicative of an asymmetrical Russian development program. Kulikov is the closest thing Russia's produced to a stud NHL defenceman since the 90s. In net they've got Bryz, a declining Nabokov, and a handful of young guys with potential (Varlamov, Bobrovsky, Khudobin, Vasilevski).
I think Canada is the best when you look at the depth of talent across all positions. Canada's got star talent at every position that gets cut from its final roster. Most other countries don't have that kind of star depth.
I don't like using the IIHF or even Olympic tournaments as a barometer because the round robin format means a single aberration can have significant impact in the final standings.
And that depth is likely why Canada has more success than any other nation when playing tournaments when EVERY country has their best players.
The U18s, U20s, and the Olympics are the 3 tournaments where countries bring their best players, and over the last 20 years it has been Canada and then everyone else.
If I was from another country I wouldn't take that as a slight at all. Russia, Slovakia, Sweden, Czech Republic, and the USA all have had tons of great teams and produce tons of amazing talent.
I think another country would need to dominate at a certain level before they could pass Canada on any list.
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