by Patrick Hoffman on 12/24/09 at 05:43 PM ET
From Scott Cullen at CTVolympics.ca:
If there is one thing that the Russians will be able to count on at these Olympics, it’s that they will have wingers who can put the puck in the net. From Washington teammates Alexander Ovechkin and Alexander Semin to Atlanta’s Ilya Kovalchuk the Russians have elite finishers. Add in Kovalchuk’s rejuvenated teammate Maxim Afinogenov, Los Angeles’ Alexander Frolov and perhaps players scoring in the KHL like Alexander Radulov, Alexei Morozov and possibly Nikita Filatov and it is readily apparent that the Russians have the skill to score.
How the Russians will round out the depth positions, and the effectiveness of their checkers, may prove to be critical to their success in the tournament.
Slovakia isn’t particularly deep on the wings, but the tandem of New York Ranger Marian Gaborik and Chicago’s Marian Hossa at least gives them a couple of NHL stars to rely on. Colorado’s Marek Svatos and Chicago’s Tomas Kopecky are also available, though neither is producing much in the NHL this season. Former NHLers Marcel Hossa and Branko Radivojevic, both leading their respective teams in scoring in the KHL this season, will also be factors.
While Team U.S.A. isn’t considered one of the pre-tournament favourites, they do have an intriguing group of wingers from which to choose. New Jersey’s Zach Parise is an elite winger as Chicago’s Patrick Kane, Toronto’s Phil Kessel and Buffalo’s Jason Pominville add a dynamic playmaking element. Tampa Bay’s Ryan Malone, Anaheim’s Bobby Ryan and Los Angeles’ Dustin Brown have a nice mix of size and skill, while veterans like New Jersey’s Jamie Langenbrunner and Brian Rolston as well as Pittsburgh’s Bill Guerin can still get the job done.
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Patrick has a tremendous passion for hockey. Besides covering the Rangers and the NHL for Kukla's Korner, you can also find Patrick's work over at Sportsnet.ca, The Red Light District Hockey Blog, NHL Home Ice, and Liam Maguire's Ultimate Hockey web site.
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