“is party time now?” Projecting the 2014 Russian Olympic Team

 

Apparently, yesterday was the day all of hockey’s media decided to begin their predictions for the 2014 Olympic games in Sochi, Russia. From ESPN to Yahoo, both the USA and Canada has been the talk of the best international hockey tournament on the globe. Luckily, no one is yet talking about the hosts, the best national team in the sport, and the reason you all read this site.
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In Defense of Ilya Kovalchuk

It seems that in the past few days there has been quite an uproar in the Devils fan community regarding their star winger Ilya Kovalchuk. Like many of his compatriots, Kovalchuk returned to the country where he learned to skate to continue playing the game he loves when the NHL hit it’s fourth work stoppage since 1992. Joining one of the Kontinental Hockey League’s top clubs, SKA St.Petersburg, he quickly became the team’s star and even took over as captain while scoring 42 points in 36 games.
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Poni Express Heads to Newark as Canes Deal Ponikarovsky


(courtesy of Pawel Dwulit/Associated Press)

Having spent time in Toronto, Pittsburgh, Los Angeles, and Carolina the Poni Express was routed to New Jersey Friday night as the Hurricanes dealt Alexei Ponikarovsky to the Devils for fourth-round draft pick and an AHLer. The 31-year-old Kiev native has become something of a journeyman going to his fourth team since 2010.
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Lokomotiv Yaroslavl’s History Will Not Stop

(Photo courtesy of hclokomotiv.ru; translates to “Our team, forever”)

The headline you see above was a direct quote issued by the president of the KHL, Alexander Medvedev, as he and other officials, both hockey and government, arrived to the city of Yaroslavl amid the tragedy that has sent waves throughout the sporting world and front pages across the globe. From the hundreds of Lokomotiv fans gathering for candlelight vigils to the arrival of President Dmitry Medvedev, the city has been in thoughts of many and in the hearts of millions.

From a Russian hockey standpoint, many of the players both here in America and back in the KHL have connection to the club whether as opponents on a yearly basis or growing up with some of those who perished. From the biggest names in the sport such as Alexander Ovechkin who played with Alexander Galimov, the lone survivor of the Lokomotiv roster, in 2005 at the World Juniors, to alumni and fans in 10 countries which have lost their hockey heroes and icons.
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Finland Dumps Russia 3-0; Heads to Final

It took one rather gutsy decision by Finland’s Mikael Granlund that would eventually break Russia’s bid for their fourth straight gold-medal game as Finland beat Russia for the second time in the 2011 Men’s World Championships earlier today. Granlund scored what would stand as the game-winner when he accurately executed a lacrosse-like goal which has since gone viral and even has the likes of TSN calling it the goal of the year.
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Russia Rallies Past Canada En Route to Semifinals


(courtesy of AFP PHOTO / JOE KLAMAR)

Having played two periods of what looked like hopeless hockey, Team Russia overturned a 1-0 deficit against a favorite rival to secure a place in the semi-finals of the 2011 Men’s World Championships. Canada would grab the first goal of the game on a Jason Spezza breakaway in the second period and would hold on as Russia failed to convert on every powerplay they got through the interval. Russia was even gifted a 4-minute man advantage after Ilya Kovalchuk received a stick to the face by his own teammate only to have the ref pinch John Tavares, they would fail to bother goalie Jonathan Bernier with any real pressure.
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Dueling Russians

This year’s NHL draft brings about a lot of talent, as it does year after year.  However, the crop of Russian players is not as copious as years past (most noticeably the 2010 NHL Entry Draft).  You will not find the likes of a Burmistrov, Tarasenko, Kuznetsov, Kabanov, Galiev, or Kitsyn.  But a new breed of Russian hockey player is quickly coming into the fold.  The two notables in this year’s draft are, the OHL’s, Vladislav Namestnikov and Alexander Khokhlachev.  Most likely first or second round draft picks, these two Russians have taken the next step in achieving their dreams of playing in the NHL by coming across the ocean from Russia to play in the top junior league in the world.

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