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Kovalchuk: ‘Radulov doesn’t need to prove anything to anyone’

Feb 18, 2014, 11:26 AM EDT

Radulov2 AP

After wearing the goat horns in Russia’s lone defeat at the Olympics, Alexander Radulov has responded with a pair of big performances — but, according to his linemate, it’s not like Radulov has to make amends.

“Radulov doesn’t need to prove anything to anyone,” Ilya Kovalchuk said, per IIHF.com. “He is usually very energetic, he moves a lot and creates opportunities.

“He is a good player.”

To call Radulov a polarizing figure is putting it lightly. His time in Nashville was a soap opera and his return to the KHL hasn’t been without issue (he was stripped of his captaincy last year.) In Sochi, that narrative’s continued — Radulov took a pair of bad penalties against the U.S. in Saturday’s dramatic shootout defeat, the second of which led to an American goal.

Russian head coach Zinetula Bilyaletdinov was furious following the game. Speaking through a translator, Bilyatdinov singled out Radulov and suggested that he should be scratched “among other things.” Radulov also took a beating in the press:

A columnist from Sport-Express newspaper, Slava Malamud, compared watching Radulov play to seeing a horror movie where a young woman descends into the basement and into danger.

“Viewers can guess what awaits the young woman going into the dark basement, but they still scream when destiny catches up to her,” he wrote.

A headline from Championat.com, a leading Russian sport portals, said: “Thank you, Radulov, for an extra match,” in anticipation of Russia having to win another game to advance.

And that’s when Radulov rebounded.

He wasn’t scratched against the Slovaks — rather, he scored the shootout-winning goal and played a whopping 22:19, including a team-high 9:45 in the third period. Radulov then followed with a stellar effort in a 4-0 win over Norway, scoring twice, finishing with three points and earning high praise from his coach.

“He was dynamic and he was effective and he got better throughout the game,” Bilyaletdinov said, per the Olympic News Service.

This is Radulov in a nutshell. Four days ago? Drop him from the lineup. Today? He leads the Russian team in scoring.

All in a week’s work.

  1. stepanup - Feb 18, 2014 at 11:34 AM

    In a sense Kovy is right, we all know what Radulov is. A poster boy for enigmatic Russian forwards. So in that light he shouldn’t bother trying to define himself any differently. He’ll stay in the KHL, and this is likely the last time that anyone outside of Russia will care to hear his name.

  2. hockey412 - Feb 18, 2014 at 11:38 AM

    Dustin Brown tried his best to help Russia negate those two penalties, though. He should be scratched, “among other things” as well.

    • patthehockeyfan - Feb 18, 2014 at 11:43 AM

      Please, for the love of god, give the DB thing a rest, would you?

      • hockey412 - Feb 18, 2014 at 11:58 AM

        I agree, he certainly is a DB.

        And here’s the point…This guy (Radulov) was slaughtered (figuratively) by his coach, by his country. And we give the DB ice time against Finland. It’s worth repeating.

      • patthehockeyfan - Feb 18, 2014 at 12:12 PM

        It’s getting to the point that ANY story about hockey, and you (and some others) will bring up Dustin Brown. Story could be about Latvia’s team. There’s a comment about Brown.

        blomfeld keeps commenting on his worries that Ovi will disappear if Russia doesn’t take the gold. Doesn’t matter if the story is about Slovenia’s team.

        Everyone knows how you and blom feel. EVERYONE.

        I’d like to read a story and comments that, for once, doesn’t include mention of either of those guys. Unless, that is, the story is about them.

      • hockey412 - Feb 18, 2014 at 12:53 PM

        Well, sir or madam, whichever the case may be – I will make a deal with you. I will forgo any more DB comments, unless or until he strikes again. And then the deal is off. And I’m not talking about tripping/holding, etc etc, I mean any dirty plays with disregard to safety of other players.

        However, I would point out that many comment sections would be blank if we all went by your rules…take a look at ANY article that mentions Crosby…tell me how many of those comments are relevant -

      • patthehockeyfan - Feb 18, 2014 at 1:06 PM

        Nice. I mean it.

        I’m not the moderator of these boards, and everyone is free to add whatever comments he or she likes.

        I just reached the breaking point on this story. It’s about Radulov, and, while your Brown-related point is taken, I just got tired of reading another Brown comment (notice I didn’t use his initials?).

        On the story about Quick starting for the U.S., blomfeld posted a Martha Stewart video to add to his remarks about fearing for Ovi. I’ve read those same remarks on other non-related stories. And the U.S. isn’t even playing Russia in the next round.

        It’s like the needle is stuck on the record, and there’s no one around to unstick it.

        Sorry for blowing up.

      • narfmoo12 - Feb 18, 2014 at 1:48 PM

        Hockey412: You defend Kunitz to the death, but rip Dustin Brown on every article? Your opinions are useless.

      • hockey412 - Feb 18, 2014 at 2:40 PM

        Narfmoo – I do defend Kunitz on the Canadian team, not sure about “to the death”, though. And I do not bust on DB on every article, just did on two US articles and this one that brings up the criticism that Radulov took for his two penalties in the game where DB had two that were just embarassing.

        I do appreciate any and all feedback that you have to offer, though, as always. So how are you making the connection between Kunitz and Brown, are you saying that Kunitz is dirty? I’ve never heard that one.

      • narfmoo12 - Feb 18, 2014 at 3:04 PM

        Never said Kunitz is dirty. I’m saying you defend the worst selection on Team Canada despite how bad of pick it was AND how bad he is playing, but then go and rip on a Stanley Cup winning captain and great all around player in Dustin Brown.

      • jpelle82 - Feb 18, 2014 at 3:51 PM

        brown has won one cup right? i think kunitz has 2. brown’s been suspended/fined or should have been how many times? kunitz i think got 1 game in the playoffs a few years back. statistically speaking brown and kunitz are basically the same guy, with an edge going to kunitz because he’s played less games but has more goals and points. they are the same height, weight, played the same number of seasons, both play the wing. they are basically the same guy. the talent pool for american players is thinner, thats the reason brown makes the team. the kunitz pick will always be controversial because the canadian pool has more talent but until canada plays a meaningful game in the olympics i’m going to continue to hold out judgement on it. i really could care less what kunitz does since he plays for canada right now, but i’d really like to see brown earn his spot even though i dont like the guy. brown has 1 goal in 9 games in the olympics and that goal was the 7th goal scored in a rout of slovakia this year. he’s not blowing the doors off the arena either. did he deserve it over okposo? we can all play the what if game after the all the games are played…sound fair?

      • narfmoo12 - Feb 18, 2014 at 4:29 PM

        jpelle82 … you do know that Dustin Brown is a defensive forward? A player consistently in the top 5 in DPS, DGVT, Takeaway rate, Quality of Competition, etc… Kunitz is there to be a top line winger with Crosby. Brown is on Team USA for leadership and defensive purposes. The two players may be the same height, weight, and position, but they certainly are not the same player.

    • patthehockeyfan - Feb 18, 2014 at 1:54 PM

      narfmoo12

      oh, crap!

  3. jpelle82 - Feb 18, 2014 at 11:54 AM

    i guess he doesnt have anything to me, because i’m just me, some american hockey fan. if he wants to prove anything to the world he still has to prove he can play north american hockey. if he’s content being a good russian hockey player then he really doesnt have anything to prove, he’s already proven that. if you consider the khl as the best there is to offer then you are probably content with that too then. the fact the russians havent proven themselves to be the best in the world in a while now, he cant make a case for being one of the best in the world because the russians havent proven their game is the best. being good at selling one thing doesnt make you a good salesman, it can just mean that you’ve mastered your own little market. a good salesman can take his craft to any market and sell anything. radulov cant do that, or at least hasnt proven he can.

  4. csilojohnson - Feb 18, 2014 at 12:28 PM

    Had anyone noticed Dustin Brown’s less then steller play?

  5. jdmix - Feb 18, 2014 at 12:40 PM

    Here is an idea.. Why don’t the Kings trade D. Brown to Nashville for Radulovs rights!

  6. jdmix - Feb 18, 2014 at 12:42 PM

    Here is an idea. Speaking for Browns less than “stellar” play. Why don’t the Kings trade Brown to Nashville for Radulovs rights!

  7. rpiotr01 - Feb 18, 2014 at 12:54 PM

    If they melted down all the gold chains Radulov wears during games they could make a knock-off Gold Medal for every player on the Russian team.

    • jcmeyer10 - Feb 18, 2014 at 3:47 PM

      I buy from man on street! He say 24 karat, 100% real. Get great deal.

  8. imgoingtowichita - Feb 18, 2014 at 12:57 PM

    Funnier the first time jdmix.

  9. imgoingtowichita - Feb 18, 2014 at 12:57 PM

    Funnier the first time.

  10. nj666 - Feb 18, 2014 at 1:20 PM

    two players that couldn’t cut it an elite league… the khl is a 2nd tier league… if not third to the CHL/AHL

    • devilsarethebest - Feb 18, 2014 at 2:41 PM

      HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA
      Need I say more? “Couldn’t cut it” Kovalchuk was a top 5 scorer in the NHL and Radulov wasn’t too bad either. Please stop.

      • nj666 - Feb 18, 2014 at 2:48 PM

        he quit so he clearly couldn’t take it If he wanted to stay a true top 5 scorer he’d stay, instead he took the easy route. stop defending him he quit two years after signing a 15 year contract. I’d say the worst NHL team could beat the best KHL team.

      • nj666 - Feb 18, 2014 at 2:53 PM

        as for radulov he as well didn’t have the discipline or desire to work hard to stay in the NHL. He’d rather stay in the easy league where he can party at night and then have a crappy work ethic and still compete.

    • hockeyflow33 - Feb 18, 2014 at 6:53 PM

      This is a really dumb comment, seriously.

  11. jdmix - Feb 18, 2014 at 1:25 PM

    Old iPad problems! imgoingtowichita I knew I was gonna get it when I saw it posted twice. Well played sir

    • imgoingtowichita - Feb 18, 2014 at 2:49 PM

      Sorry jdmix. When and not if it happens to me I’ll expect the same tenfold.

  12. indycarseries500 - Feb 18, 2014 at 1:37 PM

    Not at all, he’s already proven he’s a jerk over and over again. It’s pretty common knowledge now.

  13. vm113 - Feb 18, 2014 at 1:46 PM

    I’ve watched Radulov in the Olympics, Worlds, and Nashville. He is the biggest nut case under pressure I’ve ever seen watching hockey. The guy completely loses his touch when in the spotlight.

  14. colby7 - Feb 18, 2014 at 9:20 PM

    He could of possibly worked out on a different NHL team, maybe one with some Russian role models. Gonchar was good for Malkin and is doing the same for Nnichushkin. I would say Nashville was probabaly one of the worst fits for his game. He could come back and Nashville could trade his rights to Colorado and he could have a crazy mexican standoff with Roy and get back on track.

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