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04-20-2013, 06:52 PM
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Join Date: Apr 2007
Location: Riga
Country: Latvia
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I'd like to think that what is modern Latvian hockey can be seen (better executed) in Znarok's Dynamo Moscow, 2 time Gagarin Cup winner. Physical but not North American flying-bodies physical, a team that will always have a bit more left in the tank than the opposition, good starts/endings of a period/game, mentally strong, more counter attack oriented but still player selection based on skill and not on size/frame, simple in defense and more creativity allowed than in typical North American game in offense, long passes. Team, not individual's mentality.

Though it was team Latvia under Znarok. Now with Nolan the stresses have changed. More checking, less creativity, some players are purely selected because of their defensive ability, frame and not because of skill, less freedom allowed in offense. Though Nolan's style is also starting to become closer to what it was under Znarok probably because a lot of players aren't really fit to play, say, like big and bulky Germans. Though I'd think if Znarok and Nolan were to make separate versions of team Latvia, 3rd and 4th lines would be bit different.

It will be interesting to see how will Dinamo Rīga look like next year (and who'll coach the team). I would say though that there's no distinct way of how a Latvian kid plays hockey. The hockey system as such is a mess, everybody's preaching what he thinks is the right way of playing hockey and there have been no attempts to formulate how we, as a hockey nation, should play.

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