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Team Russia
D'Arcy McGrath
February 13th, 2002


The Russians are one of the strongest teams in the Olympic tournament, blessed with great goaltending in Nikolai Khabibulin and a high octane offence led by the likes of the Russian Rocket, Pavel Bure.

The team has rid itself of past distractions surrounding the power brokerage of hockey control in Mother Russia. With a former star player coaching the team in Slava Fetisov, the Russian star players have wrestled control from the bureaucracy at home, and are truly playing for themselves.

NO.   PLAYER   Pos.   Ht.   Wt.   Birth Date   Team 
2 Boris Mironov D 6'3 223 3/21/72 Chicago (NHL)
5 Danny Markov D 6'1 190 7/30/76 Phoenix (NHL_
7 Oleg Tverdovsky D 6'1 204 5/18/76 Anaheim (NHL)
8 Igor Larionov C 5'11 170 12/3/60 Detroit (NHL)
10 Pavel Bure RW 5'10 189 3/31/71 Florida (NHL)
11 Darius Kasparaitis D 5'11 212 10/16/72 Pittsburgh (NHL)
12 Oleg Kvasha C 6'5 230 7/26/78 NY Islanders (NHL)
14 Sergei Samsonov LW 5'8 180 10/27/78 Boston (NHL)
19 Alexei Yashin C 6'3 225 11/5/73 NY Islanders (NHL)
20 Valeri Bure RW 5'10 187 6/13/74 Florida (NHL)
23 Vladimir Malakhov D 6'5 230 8/30/68 NY Rangers (NHL)
25 Viktor Kozlov C 6'5 232 2/14/75 Florida (NHL)
27 Alexei Kovalev RW 6'1 215 2/24/73 Pittsburgh (NHL)
31 Yegor Podomatsky G - - - Lokomitiv Yaroslavl
33 Alexei Zhamnov C 6'1 200 10/1/70 Chicago (NHL)
35 Nikolai Khabibulin G 6'1 195 1/13/73 Tampa Bay (NHL)
36 Dmitry Yushkevich D 5'11 208 11/19/71 Toronto (NHL)
55 Sergei Gonchar D 6'2 212 4/13/74 Washington (NHL)
61 Maxim Afinogenov RW 6'0 195 9/4/79 Buffalo (NHL)
71 Ilya Kovalchuk RW 6'1 220 4/15/83 Atlanta (NHL)
73 Andrei Nikolishin C 6'0 206 3/25/73 Washington (NHL)
91 Sergei Fedorov C 6'2 200 12/13/69 Detroit (NHL)
- Evgeni Nabokov G 6'0 200 7/25/75 San Jose (NHL)


The defensive core.

The Russians are stacked up front and in goal, but after the first pairing, their defence gets shaky very fast. Sergei Gonchar and Darius Kasparaitis are a formidable duo at the top of the depth list, but after that the rest of the group (Malakhov, Markov, Kravchuk, Mironov, Tverdovsky) are wildly inconsistent, and prone to defensive errors.


Team Russia has been the most successful country in the history of the Olympic hockey tournament. They lead all countries in total gold medal victories with seven in the nation's visits to the Games. They lead Canada by one gold medal overall.

Historically the Russians have had a huge advantage at the Winter Olympics with the now antiquates amateur participation rules. Prior to the 1998 Olympics in Nagano only amateur hockey players were allowed to play, meaning Russian military personnel were in but NHL players were out. In the 1970's and 1980's this gave Russia a huge advantage.

Today Russia is still a very serious gold medal threat, but they may have to work a little harder to get it done.

Flames Players/Prospects

Igor Kravchuk - Kravchuk was added to the squad when Toronto Maple Leaf Dmitri Yuskevich came down with a blood clot in his leg. Kravchuk will likely act as a 7th defenceman, not seeing a lot of ice.

Keys to Victory

The key to a Russian gold medal victory will be to use the large ice to their offensive advantage, and hope that Khabibulin can bail them out when they break down.

Referees will play a large role with the Russian squad as well, as their powerplay could be a sight to behold with their star power.

The Russians are likely built to beat teams like Canada and the United States, but could run into trouble against trapping European teams. - Salt Lake Center


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