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02-17-2014, 04:21 PM
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1. Produce better defensemen. Terrible pylons like Nikulin and Medvedev should never make the national team. Both of them play for Kazan and Kazan's best defenseman is Shaun Heshka, a Canadian who has never played in the NHL and would not make Team Canada even if Canada was allowed to play five different teams in the Olympics. Heshka vs. Nikulin and Medvedev comparison is one way to point out the current decline of Russian hockey. A Canadian career minor league defenseman is better than at least two of Russia's olympic team defensemen.

2. Too many of the current "stars" of Russian hockey have poor hockey IQ and no hockey sense. They are purely goal scorers who cannot do much else. Ovechkin has never learned to play in the national team. He cannot pass and all he really does is to make one-man rushes that end up either to a blocked shot or a turn over. Kovalchuk is pretty much useless these days. Semin has deteriorated dramatically in 2-3 years. From the current Russian forwards only Malkin and grandpa Datsyuk have a hockey sense that can be compared to old Russian/Soviet greats.

Nichushkin looks very promising but he is still only 18 and cannot help yet. Tarasenko has always been a no show in the national team and his performance in Sochi has not shown that he can be a star in this level. Kuznetsov's future is uncertain. He once looked like a future superstar, but has not developed at all in the last two seasons. After Nichushkin, Tarasenko and Kuznetsov there are no young forwards worth mentioning. Grigorenko is a total bust and Yakupov has too small of a frame to be a star player for Russia. He is not built like tank like Makarov and Krutov were.

Right now Russia is miles behind Canada, the US and Sweden in player development. Even Finland could have a better group of top prospects than Russia. The creation of KHL and MHL has so far done nothing to improve Russian hockey.

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