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Dream team with Ovechkin or youth team with Michkov? What Russia could have been like at the Hockey World Cup

Date: June 17, 2024 Time: 07:49:31

This year the Prague-Ostrava World Cup delights with a lot of stars, which not only have the big teams, but also Norway and Austria. In view of the sell-out of all matches and the good quality of the game, we must once again regret that there is no Russian team in this tournament, at least under the pseudonym “OKR”, as in 2021. We present two versions of the composition at the same time, which we will not see again.

So far, the main event of the World Cup in Russia is the IIHF mistake:

Two minutes of hate. The IIHF scandal showed what is really important to us

Vlasov’s version.

Ilya Sorokin, Daniil Tarasov, Ilya Nabokov

Pavel Mintyukov – Artyom Zub

Ivan Provorov – Bogdan Konyushkov

Alexander Nikishin – Alexander Romanov

Damir Sharipzyanov – Semyon Chistyakov

Kirill Marchenko – Pavel Buchnevich – Nikita Kucherov

Kirill Kaprizov – Ivan Barbashev – Egor Chinakhov

Nikita Gusev – Vasily Glotov – Matvey Michkov

Dmitry Voronkov – Georgy Ivanov – Alexey Toropchenko

Danila Yurov, Klim Kostin

Anyone putting together a national team would feel like a kid in a toy store when it came to choosing a trinity of goalkeepers. There is incredible competition here, amazing depth, a variety of styles, enough for several teams. Sorokin participated in four World Cups as a member of the national team and did not miss a single goal, playing two full matches. For the last two seasons, Ilya has been the man who has single-handedly carried the rather dull Islanders: this year there was a decline, but not a collapse, and it is still not entirely clear why Rua decided to trust Semyon Varlamov in the playoffs.

Tarasov, in a rather sad Columbus, at some point surpassed Elvis Merzlikin, whom he pushed to the position of the third number, after which the Latvian began to demand a change. Even in “uniforms”, Tarasov showed statistics well above the modern NHL average (90.9% of saves). Well, Nabokov is the MVP of the playoffs, and that says it all. There was a time when Alexander Eremenko was not brought to the World Championship with this title.

Right-handed defenders have been our problem for a long time. If the Americans and Canadians in all tournaments strictly select their lineup so that each pair has a player with a rarer grip, then for a couple of years in a row we had a completely left-handed team at the MFM. We don’t have much choice here and in this sense it’s a shame that we can’t look at Bogdan Konyushkov outside of the super adventurous game “Torpedo”. Already in his first season, in terms of decision-making and reading the game, the young defenseman seemed to have spent at least three years in the KHL.

Bogdan Konyushkov

Photo: Grigory Sokolov, photo.khl.ru

I would like to see other young defenders. About Alexander Nikishin, Sergei Gonchar recently said that it was too easy for him in the KHL, and without the best defender-scorer in him, the SKA seemed stuck in the second round of the Gagarin Cup. Pavel Mintyukov confidently spent his first season in Anaheim and quickly began getting big minutes on the special power team. They started talking less about Alexander Romanov after moving to the Isles, but he has by far the best utility indicator on the team (“+23”), over 150 blocks and power plays per season. Finally, the Sharipzyan-Chistyakov pair was almost the only reliable one for Avangard this year.

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It is surprising, of course, but Nikita Kucherov not only did not win the title in the Russian national team, but he did not even play in the final. In the 2011 World Cup, the 2013 World Cup, the 2016 World Cup, the 2017 World Cup and the 2019 World Cup, the result was the same: elimination in the semifinals. The leader from Tampa has a complete set of World Cup bronze medals in all categories, and at the World Cup there was no rival for third place. Kirill Kaprizov has the Olympic gold, but it was not formally won by the Russian team, and it is time for them to close this, sorry for the expression, gestalt.

The center line, of course, becomes a problem in light of Malkin’s inevitable retirement from hockey and a sharp decline in Kuznetsov’s career, and here the St. Louis coaches, who carried out a fairly successful experiment to return Buchnevich to the center forward position. Buchinator plays with enough confidence in defense, but is missing a point. But in the KHL there are such centers: Glotov and Ivanov win 55-56% of confrontations.

Vasily Glotov

Photo: Pavel Tabarchuk, foto.khl.ru

The choice of Glotov, and even more so Ivanov, may seem controversial, but Vasily, in the simplest SKA, always created danger and looked like a dynamo. I remember that once Andrei Nazarov, who gave Glotov 25 minutes a game in Sochi, said that he was preparing him for the national team, and I have no doubt that Glotov would have gone to the real team. Well, Ivanov, despite his tendency to fall under overwhelming force, more than once scored key goals for Lokomotiv, being in the right place at the right time. It is a pity that perhaps it is too early for Yurov to play in the center at the world level, while in our team it is traditionally difficult to play on the wing. Michkov definitely should have entered the team, because in Sochi he showed that SKA did not give him a chance in vain.

Is Michkov already thinking about the NHL?


Matvey Michkov trained in the gym wearing the Philadelphia jersey

In general, it is more of a “Canadian” approach to team selection: world championships are also necessary to prepare young people for big matches. It makes no sense to take Ovechkin and Malkin to the World Cup for the hundredth time. What didn’t they see there, what didn’t they gain there? Nowadays, even Buffalo’s heroes were preparing for someone from the NHL to come over, and a call to a meaningless Eurotour was considered a sign of gigantic confidence. It is a pity that all these disputes and concepts remain only on paper.

Storozhev’s version

Andrey Vasilevsky, Ilya Sorokin, Semyon Varlamov

Kirill Kaprizov – Evgeniy Malkin – Nikita Kucherov

Alexander Ovechkin – Pavel Buchnevich – Andrey Kuzmenko

Ivan Barbashev – Dmitry Voronkov – Kirill Marchenko

Alexey Toropchenko – Mikhail Vorobyov – Maxim Tsyplakov

Nikita Gusev, Vasili Glotov

Mikhail Sergachev – Alexander Romanov

Ivan Provorov – Artyom Zub

Pavel Mintyukov – Vladislav Gavrikov

Egor Zamula – Ilya Lyubushkin

If the Russian national team could really gather in this way for the next World Cup, I have no doubt that among the current participants it would be the main favorite. The lineup of forwards who ended the NHL season early could hardly have been better: here is the top scorer of the regular season, Nikita Kucherov, one of the best Russian snipers, Kirill Kaprizov, and Andrei Kuzmenko, who found a second wind in Calgary.

It would be very interesting to watch the top two on a single line: given Kirill’s excellent execution (16.7%) and Nikita’s assistant talent, it seems like this combination would be lethal. To center them we will send Evgeni Malkin, who even at almost 38 years old is still the best Russian in his position.

How we spent the NHL season:

The United States had not seen so many Russians in 23 years! Complete summary of the Russians’ performance in the NHL regular season

I’d take a chance on trying Pavel Buchnevich as a second center: St. Louis used the forward there for a while and he did his job quite well. Yes, he was not successful in the confrontations, but at the same time his ability to work in defense could free the hands of Ovechkin and Kuzmenko, and he could clearly help in the attack.

Pavel Buchnevich

Photo: Scott Kane/AP/TASS

In the third combination, the combination Columbus – Voronkov – Marchenko would look good. In this case, Yegor Chinakhov could be used as a left forward, but an injury would prevent him from going to the World Cup. However, Barbashev, who is one of the best Russian power forwards, would fit perfectly on the flank. This trio can both restrict and create.

On the fourth line there were places for two KHL representatives. The two best Russian players from last season, Nikita Gusev and Vladimir Tkachev, have nothing to do in the lower combinations, but the best Russian striker does playing up front and constantly appearing in one of the best minority teams in the league, Mikhail. Vorobyov would be useful there, as well as the hockey player, this season’s discovery and one of the leaders in power techniques, Maxim Tsyplakov. Alexey Toropchenko, who took a big step forward in St. Louis, also deserves a call-up to the national team.

If you do not expect the imminent departure of Andrei Svechnikov from the NHL playoffs, then it is worth calling up the two most creative KHL players in their positions: on the wing, naturally, Nikita Gusev, and in the center, Vasily Glotov, who absolutely deservedly wears the captain’s patch in “Russia 25”.

Nikita Gusev

Photo: Vladimir Bezzubov, photo.khl.ru

In defense, we would have to rack our brains if Dmitry Orlov were available, who, however, should soon be released, as well as Alexander Nikishin, who missed the end of the season and did not participate in the national team’s grand tour due to a injury. Otherwise, everything is quite simple and the NHL team can easily fill all eight positions; Fortunately, there are enough good Russian defenders now. In each pair, responsibilities could easily be divided: in combination with the more creative Sergachev, Provorov, Mintyukov and Zamula, Romanov, Zub, Gavrikov and Lyubushkin would be directly responsible for the defense. The latter, by the way, managed to finish the playoffs with “+4”, becoming Toronto’s absolute leader in this indicator.

As for the goalkeeper, I think everything is obvious: there simply could not be any other options. Even in the event of an imminent relegation of Carolina, Pyotr Kochetkov could hardly displace anyone from the presented trio. What can we say about the KHL goalkeepers? Although, perhaps, instead of the veteran Varlamov, the opportunity could be given to the newly named MVP of the Gagarin Cup, Ilya Nabokov.

* This website provides news content gathered from various internet sources. It is crucial to understand that we are not responsible for the accuracy, completeness, or reliability of the information presented Read More

Puck Henry
Puck Henry
Puck Henry is an editor for ePrimefeed covering all types of news.

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