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World Cup of Hockey 2016: Get to know Team Russia’s Defenders

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This is where Russia will struggle.

Washington Capitals v Philadelphia Flyers - Game Three Photo by Elsa/Getty Images

Remember all the nice things I said about Russia’s forward group yesterday? Yeah, there’s a bit of a shortage of compliments to pay to the team’s defense. Yes, all of these players ply their trade in the NHL but precious few are all that good at it. So...Russia is going to have to score a lot. Same as it ever was.

Team Russia Defenders

Alexei Emelin, Montreal Canadiens

Dmitry Kulikov, Florida Panthers

Alexey Marchenko, Detroit Red Wings

Andrei Markov, Montreal Canadiens

Dmitry Orlov, Washington Capitals

Nikita Zaitsev, Toronto Maple Leafs

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Dmitry Orlov

Any Russian good at defending is by nature underrated ... I think. Anyway, the Capitals’ defender posted a career best in points last season with 29 and had pretty solid possession numbers to boot. He’s not a first pairing guy in the NHL, but...god, he might be for Russia.

Dmitry Kulikov

It doesn’t bode well for Russia that Kulikov constitutes a player to watch. He’s...a perfectly serviceable defender, but unfortunately I can’t say a whole lot more than that.

Andrei Markov

Who doesn’t want a 37-year old defender on their national team? Good news to the five Russian fans reading this post! Old man Markov, who is still a pretty decent defender, will be joining you! Good luck with that!

Group: B

First Game: Team Sweden vs. Team Russia, 12 p.m. PT, ESPN