If Russia is to do the unthinkable and actually perform well in an international tournament, it will have to be on the backs of its forwards. Luckily, Russia boasts a talented collection of scorers and skaters; many of them even play in the NHL! Most! That seems like a positive step.
Team Russia Forwards
Artem Anisimov, Chicago Blackhawks
Evgeny Dadonov, SKA Saint Petersburg (KHL)
Pavel Datsyuk, Detroit Red Wings
Nikita Kucherov, Tampa Bay Lightning
Nikolay Kulemin, New York Islanders
Evgeny Kuznetsov, Washington Capitals
Evgeni Malkin, Pittsburgh Penguins
Vladislav Namestnikov, Tampa Bay Lightning
Alex Ovechkin, Washington Capitals
Artemi Panarin, Chicago Blackhawks
Vadim Shipachyov, SKA Saint Petersburg (KHL)
Ivan Telegin, CSKA Moscow (KHL)
Vladimir Tarasenko, St. Louis Blues
PLAYERS TO WATCH
So he didn’t play very well in the Western Conference Final, but Tarasenko is one of the best scorers in the NHL and is one of my favorite players to watch. His shot is absolutely incredible and he has all kinds of tricks to use in the offensive zone. If he has a good tournament, Russia is in good shape.
You can’t talk about Russia without bringing up Ovi. He continues to be one of the best players in the NHL and if the Russians head to the power play, watch out. There isn’t much to say about him that hasn’t already been said, yet he manages to be underrated in a league where offense should be valued more than it is.
Another oft-criticized but incredible player, Malkin remains one of the best centers in the NHL. On just about any team other than the Penguins, the Russian skater would be the 1C. He just might fill that role for Team Russia.
First Game: Team Sweden vs. Team Russia, 12 p.m. PT, ESPN