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06-05-2013, 03:10 PM
Join Date: Apr 2008
I don't think Russia's defense is such a huge concern. Even comparing today's candidates to the previous Russian Olympic d-men, the 2014 group will have some key strengths.
If you look at the silver 1998 team: Gonchar, Gusarov, Kasparaitis, Kravchuk, the Mironovs, Yushkevich, and Zhitnik combined for 0 goals all tournament. Strong defensive group, but completely different style than any contemporary team.
2002: B. Mironov, D. Markov, Tverdovsky, Kasparaitis, Malakhov, Kravchuk, and Gonchar - a more involved group on offense.
2006: Zhukov, Vishnevsky, Volchenkov, Kasparaitis, D.Markov, A.Markov, Tyutin, Gonchar - combined for just 1 goal. Just three puck-moving guys, over-emphasis on stay-at-home d-men.
2010: Nikulin, Volchenkov, Kalinin, Korneev, Grebeshkov, Tyutin, Gonchar, A.Markov - 4 games was a small sample, but this group was overwhelmed when it mattered.
2014: Markov, Emelin, Voynov, Nikulin, and some variation of Medvedev/Kulikov/Gonchar/Tyutin/Belov/Nikitin/Volchenkov/etc. - the young rising players like Voynov should play a big part, and there looks to be decent depth (at least better than Grebeshkov, Korneev, etc.) I don't think there is a crisis or shortage of quality candidates. How they play together - who knows?
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