Team Russia News and Notes
Russia who is considered a favorite to win the Gold Medal at the 2010 Winter Olympics, went through their first practice today. Russia opens up the tournament tomorrow night against Latvia in preliminary action.
Penguins center Evgeni Malkin will open up the tournament on a line with New Jersey’s Ilya Kovalchuk and Atlanta’s Max Afinogenov while Pavel Datsyuk will center Russia’s top line of Alexander Ovechkin and Alexander Semin.
Former Penguins winger Alexei Morozov, will play on the 4th line with Danis Zaripov (AK BARS KAZAN), and Sergei Zinoviev (SALAVAT YULAYEV).
Sergei Fedorov, Viktor Kozlov and former Nashville Predators forward Alexander Radulov will be Russia’s third line.
Russia’s blueline consists of five NHLer’s led by Pittsburgh’s Sergei Gonchar, Montreal’s Andrei Markov and Ottawa’s Anton Volchenkov. Fedor Tyutin of the Columbus Blue Jackets and Denis Grebeshkov of the Edmonton Oilers will also play a key role for Russia.
Goaltending will be an area of strength anchored by San Jose’s Evgeni Nabokov and Ilya Bryzgalov of the Phoenix Coyotes. Washington Capitals goaltender Semyon Varlamov will be Russia’s No. 3 goaltender in the tournament.
Russia has the top end talent, defensive depth and goaltending to matchup against anyone in the tournament but do they have enough depth upfront? That will be the main question surrounding the Russians.