Skip to content

Nichushkin selection to Team Russia causing rift in leadership

Jan 11, 2014, 10:45 AM EST

Valeri Nichushkin Getty Images

When Team Russia announced their roster for the 2014 Winter Olympics, Valeri Nichushkin‘s name being on it was a bit of a surprise.

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.

Latest Posts
  1. Agent: Blackhawks have ‘no intention’ of trading Sharp

    Feb 28, 2015, 4:15 PM EST

    Patrick Sharp Patrick Sharp

    He’s been the subject of trade rumors lately.

  2. Goalie Nods: Mason returns for the Flyers

    Feb 28, 2015, 3:35 PM EST

    Steve Mason AP

    News and notes from around the blue paint…

  3. Trade: Ducks acquire Fleischmann from the Panthers for Heatley and a pick

    Feb 28, 2015, 2:07 PM EST

    TomasFleischmann Getty Images

    The former Caps’ forward reunited with Bruce Boudreau.

  4. Trade: Capitals acquire Gleason from the Canes for Hillen and a pick

    Feb 28, 2015, 12:27 PM EST

    TimGleason Getty Images

    Both are unrestricted free agents after this season.

  5. Report: Rangers are shopping Zuccarello

    Feb 28, 2015, 12:00 PM EST

    Mats Zuccarello Getty Images

    He’s an unrestricted free agent after this season.

  6. Clarkson set to debut on Jackets’ top line

    Feb 28, 2015, 11:15 AM EST

    Toronto Maple Leafs v New York Islanders Getty Images

    Was acquired Thursday from Toronto.

  7. Halak sets Islanders single-season record in win over Flames

    Feb 27, 2015, 10:34 PM EST

    Halak Getty Images

    Meanwhile, Calgary’s playoff hopes take another hit.

Featured video

Trade deadline storylines to watch
Top 10 NHL Player Searches
  1. B. Wheeler (2596)
  2. T. Hall (2332)
  3. K. Okposo (2235)
  4. M. Giordano (2129)
  5. D. Krejci (2110)