Feb 18, 2014, 11:26 AM EST
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.
Alex Radulov is forgiven, until the next time he is Alex Radulov
— Bruce Arthur (@bruce_arthur) February 18, 2014
- Video: Flames score center-ice goal against Canucks’ Lack 7
- Stars believe Lehtonen suffered concussion from Haula collision (update) 9
- Video: Stars retire Mike Modano’s jersey 8
- Rostislav Klesla passes on joining Sabres organization following trade 10
- Ryan Murray has knee surgery, likely done for season 1
- Washington finally signs top prospect Kuznetsov 31
- Roberto Luongo records the shutout in first game back with Panthers 31
- Steve Moore remains shocked, disgusted about Todd Bertuzzi attack 66
- Canucks’ Kassian gets three games for boarding Dillon 27
- TGIF: Why Lightning fans can be upset with St. Louis 32
- Canucks trade Luongo to Panthers (93)
- BLOCKBUSTER: Lightning trade St. Louis to Rangers for Callahan (82)
- Kings make splash, acquire Gaborik from Columbus (72)
- Report: Canucks want center, top prospect and first-rounder for Kesler (68)
- Steve Moore remains shocked, disgusted about Todd Bertuzzi attack (66)