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Ovechkin, Malkin headline Russian Olympic team; Semin, Gonchar snubbed

Jan 7, 2014, 12:04 PM EDT

2011 NHL Winter Classic Practice Getty Images

The host nation has named its Olympic roster and, as expected, it’s loaded up front.

Led by Pavel Datsyuk, Evgeni Malkin and reigning NHL MVP Alex Ovechkin, Russia trotted out a star-studded group on Tuesday, though there were some omissions that caught the hockey world by surprise.

Carolina’s Alex Semin — playing very well of late, and a member of the ’10 Olympic squad — won’t be playing in Sochi, nor will veteran defenseman Sergei Gonchar.

Other notable omissions from the Russian roster include Florida’s Dmitry Kulikov, Edmonton’s Nail Yakupov and New Jersey’s Anton Volchenkov.

As for those that made the team…

Russia embraced its youth by selecting 18-year-old Dallas rookie Valeri Nichushkin and 22-year-old Blues winger Vladimir Tarasenko. They’ll be joined by 25-year-old Viktor Tikhonov, a former first-round pick (Phoenix, 2008) that’s currently playing for SKA St. Petersburg of the KHL.

In goal, the Russians made no surprises by going with Sergei Bobrovsky and Semyon Varlamov. The third spot went to Alexander Yeryomenko, a 33-year-old KHL veteran.

On defense, the team went NHL-heavy with six of eight blueliners coming from North America. They include Edmonton’s Anton Belov, Montreal’s Alexei Emelin and Andrei Markov, Columbus’ Nikita Nikitin and Fedor Tyutin, and Los Angeles’ Slava Voynov.

It is at forward, though, where the Russians are most dangerous. In addition to the aforementioned Datsyuk-Malkin-Ovechkin trio, the club also features Nichushkin, Tarasenko, Artem Anisimov, Nikolai Kulemin and Ilya Kovalchuk.

Here is the full roster, per TSN:

Goalkeepers: Sergei Bobrovsky, Semyon Varlamov, Alexander Yeryomenko.

Defenders: Anton Belov, Alexei Emelin, Andrei Markov, Evgeny Medvedev, Nikita Nikitin, Ilya Nikulin, Fedor Tyutin, Slava Voynov.

Forwards: Artem Anisimov, Pavel Datsyuk, Denis Kokarev, Ilya Kovalchuk, Nikolai Kulemin, Evgeni Malkin, Valeri Nichushkin, Alex Ovechkin, Alexander Popov, Alexander Radulov, Sergei Soin, Vladimir Tarasenko, Alexei Tereshenko, Viktor Tikhonov.

UPDATE: Team Russia lost Denis Kokarev and Sergei Soin and replaced them with forwards Alexander Svitov and Alex Semin.

  1. btlpper68 - Jan 7, 2014 at 12:07 PM

    No doubt the team loaded w talent. Russian team like an advertisement, the big words standing out are malkin OVI pavel semin KOvalchuck but when you get into the fine print it’s realy khlers and relay they don’t have any depth on d

    • c9castine - Jan 7, 2014 at 12:26 PM

      did you miss the part where Semin didn’t make the team? read the advertisement better.

      this team is good make no mistake. they were smart to leave off semin, he sucks, and Gonchar is just over the hill. he knows it i doubt he’s upset by this.

      their defense matches up with about anybody’s, especially their top 4.

      i see why people want Nichuskin to play with Geno but Genos best friend and oft line mate is Nikolai Kulemin so if Nichuskin plays the right side then yeah maybe I will say though that Geno prefers quicker guys who move around a lot and make lots of small passes. Jokinen among one of the craftier players around the league right now… i have no idea how Nichuskin plays. maybe he fits.

      • btlpper68 - Jan 7, 2014 at 12:29 PM

        I made the mistake on semin chill, besides the big stars there’s no depth ESPCIALY on D I never said they were bad

      • lonespeed - Jan 7, 2014 at 1:11 PM

        Semin may be a lot of things…but suck, he does not. The Skinner / Semin line in Carolina is lighting it up of late.

      • c9castine - Jan 7, 2014 at 2:15 PM

        semin has hot streaks. he can shoot and can be dangerous in the offensive zone.

        he’s soft on the puck, isn’t a great skater, and disappears for stretches. your right he doesn’t suck but doesn’t belong on that roster either.

      • lonespeed - Jan 8, 2014 at 9:08 AM


        He is soft on the puck, not an exceptional skater and does disappear for stretches. He also takes some lazy penalties because of his tendency to reach for the puck and grab.

        He’s also a very crisp, creative and efficient puck mover. Has great hands with the puck. Is great on the power-play. Has a lethal snap shot when he’s hot.

        He’s gotten a lot better on defense in Carolina. Kirk Mueller has forced him to play on the penalty kill some the past two seasons, and I think that has really helped him. Still not an optimal person to put out there on defense, but better.

        He does have draw backs in his game, but I think he deserves a spot. I find it hard to believe Russia could find someone better to put out there on the third line and he’s a top-line power play guy.

  2. mattryannolan - Jan 7, 2014 at 12:11 PM

    So awesome to see Val Nichushkin make it! Guy is a stud and can’t wait to see him rip it up.

  3. valente317 - Jan 7, 2014 at 12:11 PM

    For the love of god, let Nichuskin play the wing with Malkin. If even a little bit of Malkin’s style rubs off on Nuke, the sky is the limit for the kid.

    • jpelle82 - Jan 7, 2014 at 12:29 PM

      no semin but radulov? interesting, semin has actually had a pretty decent two way game in carolina lately…radulov is a joke. surprised no loktionov too

  4. travishenryskid - Jan 7, 2014 at 12:23 PM

    No Kuznetsov? Ouch. The entire point of him staying in Russia was to play in the Olympics. That’s got to be a bitter pill to swallow for him and the Caps.

    • trmmadden34 - Jan 7, 2014 at 12:55 PM

      Great point. The Russian Ice hockey federation and KHL tried using the Olympics over Tarasenko’s head when he wanted to come play for the Blues. But, look who made it and who didn’t.

      • c9castine - Jan 7, 2014 at 1:05 PM

        really i didn’t know this stuff. russians are odd.

    • jpelle82 - Jan 7, 2014 at 3:00 PM

      so does this mean he shows up for the caps tomorrow? this kinda forces him to reveal his true intentions now doesnt it…he cant hide behind the olympics excuse anymore.

      • blackfoot11 - Jan 7, 2014 at 3:53 PM

        I hope so. He would fit right in on the none existent 2nd line that needs to start producing immediately.

  5. bencia823 - Jan 7, 2014 at 1:17 PM

    I don’t really follow russian hockey, so my “snub” may not be a snub at all, but I’m surprised Alex Morozov (he’s been Russia’s captain at a lot of recent world championships) didn’t make the cut

    • jpelle82 - Jan 7, 2014 at 1:59 PM

      morozov played for the penguins back in the mid 90’s…he’s old dude. gotta be pushing 40 by now, russia has so much talent available up front, i’m sure thats the reason, age and speed.

  6. theebadguy - Jan 7, 2014 at 1:58 PM

    Lol @ Semin. We don’t miss you in Dc, that’s for sure

    • jpelle82 - Jan 7, 2014 at 2:02 PM

      caps need semin more than ever…

      • blackfoot11 - Jan 7, 2014 at 3:57 PM

        The Caps need Defense more than ever. Outside of Carlson, there is no physical play with opponents. With the emergence of Orlov, Green is expendable, and makes room for an acquisition to help the defense. Still need a top D-man to play with Carlson and establish a top pair, but that is an off season move.

  7. 180star32 - Jan 7, 2014 at 2:34 PM

    Not really surprised Gonchar didn’t make the roster. He’s been particularly ineffective for the Stars thus far. Good to see Val on the team though. Best of luck to him.

  8. hockeydon10 - Jan 7, 2014 at 3:30 PM

    Slightly dated, but makes a great point:

  9. blomfeld - Jan 7, 2014 at 10:17 PM

    “Russia embraced its youth by selecting …”

    Good on Russia for having the balls to do what’s right. It was a 20 year old Tretiak who took the weight of his country on his shoulders ‘in stride’ back in 72 and forced ‘respect’ from an arrogant & belligerent Canadian team. I say at worst, Russia walks away with silver.

    *** Projected Medal Standings as per Josef Stransky @ Berliner Zeitung ***

    1) Sweden
    2) USA
    3) Russia

    4) Czech Republic
    5) Canada
    6) Slovakia
    7) Austria
    8) Finland

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