Well, after watching 5 games of this series here is my conclusion on the state of Russia's U-20 team:
1. Russian youngsters are not prepared to beat Canadians: not enough hunger, game experience, strength, majority of players are still developing and play boys' game, not men's.
2. Coaching is below average. Plyushchev is a step in a wrong direction. Nemchinov spent two good years with U-20 and improved with each tournament. After Super Series beating you could see how he made adjustments and how team Russia actually fared good in majority of games. Plyuschev is not a tactician, he is the motivating type at best. Also it's very unfortunate that he slammed his own players as "weak" in some of the interviews. That's not the way to deal with your team.
3. Defense is now officially Russia's weakest link, not goaltending. Seemingly, if you are not skilled enough to play forward you are sent down to play defense. Russian defensemen are slower on their skates, with their puck and while making decisions. They tend to take a while to make a decision and that creates the ability for opponents to cause a turnover.
1. Kirill Petrov is a fantastic player, at least for this tournament. Take away Petrov from this team and Russia would be embarrassing to watch. When he had the puck he made things happen with ease seemingly. The dude has a laser of a wrister, he scored some beauties, I believe in Game 2 and Game 5 are worth checking up. Let the guy further develop, he can be a star player for team Russia.
2. Russians adjusted as the series went on. It s clear that some of Russia's problems were inexperience of playing on the small ice. They did adjust with each game and perhaps if they played on this small ice for two months they could have improved drastically.
3. Goaltending has improved. Two goalies Zalivin and Bobkov have shown that they can beat team Canada if the defense plays better than they have. Both made a huge number of spectacular saves and game number 5 showed that Bobkov can be next Varlamov.
4. There are still some good players for team Russia who are utilized in the KHL so definitely it should be a much better team, but not clear if that team is still able to beat Canada and Sweden.
tough watching our D make same childish stupid mistakes over and over and over. Do not try to stick handle in your zone is it so hard to grasp? Not only D is slow and mistake prone it is also outmatched physically by a big margin.
Easy to say that this Russian team sucks with a few exceptions, but the world juniors will be a different story for this team. Too bad for the Kabanov, Loktionov's respective situations. Also this is not team Canada group wise and mentally as well. These players are from OHL and WHL are treating it as an all star game. You can visibly see it at times. Quebec players have a harder time making the roster so they were really working during these games. Also missing some talented players from NCAA as well so both teams should be much improved.
Petrov and Kitsyn earned a spot through this tournament, the defense all played themselves out of a spot... Other forwards including Ostapchuk=Useless.
The series would have been better if they had all the Q and O players for the whole series. Maybe next year this can happen. Would have been nice to have seen Kuchin summoned as well.