The Russians are coming, the Russians are coming! And they are going to be one fierce, offensive powerhouse. The Russian dude in Puck Daddy's stable, Dmitry Chesnokov, broke the roster for the former Soviet nation.
They are, as expected, freakin' sick up front with a ridiculously talented top nine forwards: Ovechkin, Datsyuk, Malkin, Kovalchuk, Semin, Fedorov, Radulov, Morozov and Afinogenov. I believe that, roughly translated from Russian, that is: goals, goals, goals, goals, goals, goals, goals, goals and goals. I could be wrong, but I don't think so.
The blueline is a bit weaker with a major flaw in it - Dmitri Kalinin. Outside of the folks at Direct TV, everyone here in the States have realized that Kalinin is a colossal waste of space. But to balance him out the Russians have the toughness and defensive capability of Anton Volchenkov and Fedor Tyutin (I hate you Glen Sather). Andrei Markov is finally healthy, as is Sergei Gonchar so the Soviets have people to move the puck up to that stable of studs on offense.
In net will be a personal fav in Ilya Bryzgalov and shouldhavewontheVezinaifnotforfatboyMmmmaaarrrttttyyyy Evgeni Nabokov, even though Nabby is a Kazah (damned stupid IIHF rules). With twitchy Khabibulin injured, the press box slot will be held by Ranger-beater Semyon Varlamov. Good for the kid to make the cut and get a great seat for what should be some incredible games.
I will have a seat at two of the three in pool play as well. The Russians face off against Latvia on the 16th, Slovakia on the 18th and the Czechs on the 21st. That is some tough competition but just look at some of the goals they scored last year at the world championships. Damn. Should be some good hockey, less than two months until we find out!