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