Jan 11, 2014, 10:45 AM EST
After all, he’s just 18 years old and he doesn’t have a long history of international experience. According to a report from Russia, his selection has caused a bit of a rift between Team Russia’s coach and GM.
Russian coach Zinetula Bilyaletdinov said Nichushkin’s inclusion was “an advanced payment” that he “must justify.” In other words, it’s a risky selection that had better pay off.
Team Russia’s GM Alexei Yashin (yeah, him) views it differently.
“It’s hard to talk about an advance payment. It’s the wrong word,” said Yashin, who played 850 career NHL games. “Nichushkin has earned the call to the Olympics with his game.”
Nichushkin has nine goals and 22 points in his rookie season with the Stars. Yashin says his performance is reminiscent of rookie seasons from John Tavares and Sidney Crosby. You can’t say he’s not going to the wall for the guy he picked.
There’s a lot of pressure for Russia to win big at the Olympics. They last won a medal in 2002 (bronze) and they were embarrassed by Canada when they were knocked out in 2010. Now that they’re playing host, they want gold badly. If Nichushkin helps them do that, Yashin will look like a genius.
- Video: Penguins’ spoof of ‘Christmas Vacation’ is pretty good 9
- Mason hurt, helped off ice at end of Flyers practice 8
- Could Vermette land in Washington? 6
- Pens confirm Maatta has the mumps 5
- As holiday roster freeze approaches, Bruins linked to Oshie, Kassian 26
- Video: Pacioretty taken to hospital, reportedly no hearing expected for Stoner after questionable hit 32
- Video: Canadiens honor long-time captain Saku Koivu 2
- Crosby back for Pens after missing three games with the mumps 1
- Comparing the shot differentials of all 30 teams 10
- PHT interviews Jim Nill, who’s ‘not surprised’ by Stars’ early-season struggles 2