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Loktionov says Russian team had too many stars, no chemistry

Feb 20, 2014, 6:36 PM EDT

Andrei Loktionov Getty Images

Team Russia’s failure to win a medal on home ice in Sochi is a disappointment for Russians all over, especially those who didn’t get to represent their country.

New Jersey Devils forward Andrei Loktionov was asked about his feelings on the Olympics and didn’t hold back. Rich Chere of The Star-Ledger shares the story.

“It’s happened way too many times in the last three Olympics. A lot of star players. I think they can’t play with each other. Too many leaders,” said Loktionov. “Everybody was waiting for something. Hockey is the (most important) medal.”

Direct and to the point.

That said, were there too many stars on the Russian team? Outside of the top six forwards (Ilya Kovalchuk, Pavel Datsyuk, Alexander Ovechkin, Alexander Radulov, Evgeni Malkin, Alexander Semin), the Russian lineup was filled with either young, upcoming potential stars or guys from the KHL.

Chemistry, on the other hand, is a good point. Throwing everyone together and expecting them to jell immediately can be asking a lot. In Russia’s situation, goals were hard to come by and they did look out of sync in the five games they played.

As for having too many leaders, well, there are a lot of captains on the Canadian and United States rosters and they’re playing tomorrow for a shot at gold.

  1. Lupy Nazty Philthy - Feb 20, 2014 at 6:59 PM

    The offense was not their problem. Russia was getting a lot of chances, just not finishing. Not unlike Canada… They just have no defense to keep them in the games.

    Russia’s defense is not horrible, maybe on par with the Czechs or Slovaks, but it’s not nearly at the same level as Canada, USA, Sweden and Finland. In the big games, defense wins.

    • disolitude - Feb 20, 2014 at 7:21 PM

      People are talking so much about their defense but anyone that has watched all their games can see that it really isn’t the deal breaker here. Nor are they KHL guys…
      Essentially what happened here was 4 games where Russia outplayed their opponents but lost one by a hair in a shootout.

      Then the Fins came and bet them 3-1 when it counted. Varlamov allowed 2 weak goals and scoring wasn’t working and they lost. They lost to a more cohesive team that had the day on their side. The end.

      Some of the KHL guys like Medvedev, Radulov and Kovy were they best players and defense was never badly outplayed.

    • vm113 - Feb 20, 2014 at 7:28 PM

      That’s the most clueless thing I’ve heard all day. Their offense is the reason they are out of the tournament. They were pathetic. A lot of times they would have a good drive going and it would get stalled because one of their players would take a bad shot or lose the puck(Ovie was the master of that). They were NOT getting a lot of chances. There was not a lot of quality shots and sustained drives. Their DEFENSE kept them in every game. They were better than I expected. I believe they allowed of total of 2 5 on 5 goals all tournament. I don’t know where you came up with your stupid assessment but I watched every minute of every game and the offense was as pathetic as any i’ve ever seen. The only thing worse than their offense was their coaching, which was non existent again.

      • 7mantel - Feb 20, 2014 at 7:37 PM

        Drives ?

      • sumkat - Feb 20, 2014 at 7:40 PM

        They would have a good drive going?

        People who know so little about a sport, that they refer to a possession the way it’s referred to in a totally different sport, but STILL feel they know enough to know what went wrong, are very ammusing

      • vm113 - Feb 20, 2014 at 7:41 PM

        Yes, drives. Thats what a team does when they want to score. They drive up ice and try to get the puck in the back of the opposing team’s net. Glad I could explain that to you.

      • 7mantel - Feb 20, 2014 at 7:53 PM

        Maybe your getting confused with football ! Talk about clueless !

      • vm113 - Feb 20, 2014 at 7:56 PM

        Sumkat–Boy oh boy you get the award for donkey of the day. A “drive” can be referred to in almost any sport. They do “drive” to the net in basketball. They do “drive” to the net in hockey. They do “drive” to the net in soccer. I can’t believe someone can be that stupid that they would associate the phrase “drive” with only one sport. Lol SMH.

      • kaptaanamerica - Feb 20, 2014 at 8:06 PM

        everyone with a clue knew what he meant. he could have said they had a “good rush going” as well… but so what if he didn’t. doesn’t change the fact that Leaf Nutz was off base (are you going to vilify me for using a baseball reference now?)….

      • Lupy Nazty Philthy - Feb 20, 2014 at 8:13 PM

        If you think Russia’s defense is as good as the top 4 teams, sorry pal, but you’re the clueless one.

        Markov, Voynov, Nikitin, Tyutin, Emelin, Belov, Nikulin

        compared to…

        Keith, Doughty, Weber, Pietrangelo, Jay Bo, Vlasic, Hamhuis
        Suter, McDonagh, Shattenkirk, Fowler, Carlson, Orpik, Martin.
        Karlsson, Kronwall, O.E.L, Hjalmarsson, Oduya, Edler, Ericsson.

        …offensively, defensively, there’s no comparison. Russia’s just not as good as the top teams. Sorry.

      • disolitude - Feb 20, 2014 at 8:38 PM

        @Lupy Nazty Philthy
        Did you even watch any of the games? On paper maybe Russian defense maybe isn’t as individually strong as Canada or US but if utilized properly it really shouldn’t matter. They are good enough to win with that defense if coached properly and if the goal support and goaltending is there. They held US to 2 goals. Czechs allowed 5. Slovaks allowed 7. Fins beat them with 3 goals, 2 of which Varlamov would stop 9 out of 10 times.

        While you’re talking fantasy hockey stats…on paper Latvia had no business beating the Swiss let alone hanging in with Canadians. On paper Fins should have been blown out by Canada and Russia. Yet here we are…

      • vm113 - Feb 20, 2014 at 8:40 PM

        Lupy why are you changing the subject and then putting words in my mouth? You said the Russians lost because of their D, I told you no they did not. Now your stating that the Russian D is not as good as Canada, US’s, and Sweden’s, than you are insinuating I disagree. Are you on something? You didn’t have to lay out the names as if you’ve had a hard case you prove. Jeez that was a stupid move on your part.

      • vm113 - Feb 20, 2014 at 8:45 PM

        Kapt-I don’t call it a “rush” anymore because technically the rush stops as soon as they enter the zone. Drive makes more sense. It’s more fitting to whats going on. I didn’t realize so many people would be dumb enough not to grasp the point.

      • Lupy Nazty Philthy - Feb 20, 2014 at 9:20 PM

        “Lupy why are you changing the subject and then putting words in my mouth?”
        I’m not… I didn’t quote you at all other than throw “clueless” back at you.

        “You said the Russians lost because of their D”
        They did.. It’s just not as good as the top 4 teams.

        “I told you no they did not. Now your stating that the Russian D is not as good as Canada, US’s, and Sweden’s”
        I stated that in my original post. That’s what I have been talking about from the start.

        “You didn’t have to lay out the names as if you’ve had a hard case you prove. Jeez that was a stupid move on your part.”
        You call me clueless for saying Russia’s defense isn’t as good as the top 4 teams… what would you think? You’re including Russia’s stats from games against Slovenia and Norway. Those stats don’t matter in the big games. How Russia does against the top teams does.

        And I never said they have a bad defense… just not as good as the top teams. Get over it.


        “Did you even watch any of the games?”
        I’ve watched ALL the major countries Canada, USA, Russia, Sweden and Finland. The games are on at a perfect time for me. I don’t work until late in the after noon and there’s nothing better to watch. I even watched Austria and Norway out of boredom.

        “On paper maybe Russian defense maybe isn’t as individually strong as Canada or US but if utilized properly it really shouldn’t matter.”
        Well It’s not just “on paper”… On the ice it matters if the other team is more skilled. Canada Sweden Finland and the US just have better defenses.

        I really don’t care about Russia’s overall stats because they include the easy games. Those tell you nothing. Like Team USA blowing Slovenia out of the water means nothing when they play Team Canada.

        “on paper Latvia had no business beating the Swiss”
        Is “on paper” your goto line? and Did YOU watch any games? First game they played it was 0-0. Switzerland scored with 7 seconds left to win 1-0. Swiss never scored more than 1 goal in any game either. Lack of offense did them in.

        “Fins should have been blown out by Canada and Russia. Yet here we are…”
        Do you even watch international hockey? Finlands medaled in 5 of the last 7 Olympics. They’re a great team and have some of the best goalies in the world.

      • disolitude - Feb 20, 2014 at 9:49 PM

        @Lupy Nazty Philthy

        You’re fishing for arguments all over the place here hoping to find one that supports your initial post.

        Let’s recap some of your highlights:

        – Finland won medals in 5 of last 7 Olympics so their individual player quality and the fact they had 9 KHL guys on the team does not matter. They win medals and are better because of it!

        – Russian overall stats don’t matter because they played easy teams, including USA who were lucky to get to shootout and barely won in the 8th round. That doesn’t count, only the game they lost counts right?

        – Finish had 4 KHL/Finish Hockey league guys on D. But their D is much better than Russia’s D right?

        We can go back and forth on this all day but there is really no need to. Until you post an argument that clearly outlines how Russian D lost the game against Fins, there is nothing to argue about.

      • kaptaanamerica - Feb 20, 2014 at 10:23 PM

        it’s difficult to get a coherent answer from Lupy Nazty Philthy…

      • vm113 - Feb 20, 2014 at 11:08 PM

        Lupy-Damn bro you are too damn dumb to argue with. Peace.

      • Lupy Nazty Philthy - Feb 23, 2014 at 5:31 PM

        Yeah… I sure have no idea what I’m talking about.

        Soooo…. you guys still want to talk like Finland is such a push over? Did you see how Finlands defense was harder to beat than Russia’s?

        Enjoy the participation ribbon, USA.

  2. flyerspsu - Feb 20, 2014 at 7:17 PM

    hes right.

  3. mgbinder - Feb 20, 2014 at 7:32 PM

    It’s incredible how the dissolution of the Soviet Union effectively marked the end of Russian dominance in Olympic hockey.

    • sumkat - Feb 20, 2014 at 7:44 PM

      Had nothing to do with the Soviet union. Had to do with the rest of the world also playing professionals

      Not that hard to dominate when it’s your pros vs everyone else’s amateurs

      • disolitude - Feb 20, 2014 at 7:53 PM

        That’s all great but if you look at Soviet Red Army team VS NHL teams and NHL All star teams in the 70s and 80s…they have a winning record. Maybe they wouldn’t have dominated and won every gold they did they’d certainly be a force.

      • sumkat - Feb 20, 2014 at 8:25 PM

        That was more because they played a style that the NHL was not ready for than it was any talent level. That was back when most NHL teams didn’t really play systems the way they do now. The Red Army team did. If they played a system anything close to that today, teams would just play the trap on them and get 30 turnover a game. Times change

        I’m not saying the Soviet Union breaking up didn’t change anything in Russian Sports, but mostly because their talent pool is smaller. Some of the teams now would of been playing under the USSR team 30 years ago.

      • mgbinder - Feb 20, 2014 at 8:19 PM

        While I can’t discount the fact that the Red Army teams were made up of professionals (and therefore at an advantage), one look at Russia’s Olympic record since 1992 reveals that it’s more than just a case of other nations finally filling their rosters with professionals. When the Soviet Union crumbled, so did the totalitarian and militaristic approach to coaching that made the teams as successful as they were. After being told for decades where and how to play hockey, an entire generation suddenly had the opportunity to play for themselves. And, with a few notable exceptions, that’s what they’ve done.

      • stakex - Feb 20, 2014 at 8:54 PM

        Another thing to consider is that the Red Army team played together for years and years unlike the teams of other nations… and playing together as a team is all those guys did for a living, even in non-Olympic years. That allowed them to hone their style of hockey, and develop a chemistry that’s not possibly with teams assembled a few months before the games (as other nations did back then)… or in modern days with teams that practice together for the first time a couple days before the Olympics.

      • Lupy Nazty Philthy - Feb 20, 2014 at 9:36 PM


        sumkat’s right. When only “amateurs” were going to the Olympics, Russia was able to send men from their men’s elite league (picture the KHL if it had ALL the Russians and guys the satellite countries that made up the USSR). Thanks to communism their men weren’t paid athletes and qualified as amateurs. The rest of the world had to use REAL amateurs. Canada used kids from major-juniors and USA used college kids.

        Look at Russia’s legendary goalie, Vladislav Tretiak, he played in 4 Olympics for the USSR and was in his 30’s in his last visit. What “amateur” has a 16 year career?

        “Soviet Red Army team VS NHL teams ”
        Those are bad examples because one team is a bunch of guys playing together for the first time up against a team that has been playing together for years.

  4. dlk75150 - Feb 20, 2014 at 7:51 PM

    It was different when they dominated NHL players didn’t play. It was an honor to beat them now it’s just a bunch of professionals fighting for a prize the should win. It was better when amateurs played.

    • strictlythedanks - Feb 20, 2014 at 7:54 PM

      what is this? amatuer hour?

  5. csilojohnson - Feb 20, 2014 at 8:21 PM

    Nice. A whole thread arguing over what part of the Russian team sucked worse.

  6. theageofquarrel - Feb 20, 2014 at 8:32 PM

    Malkin is the worst, Ovi is way better than that bum.

    • abizzle03 - Feb 21, 2014 at 12:35 AM

      You’re kidding, right?

      I’m not going to sit here and say Ovechkin sucks, but his effort in these Olympics was abysmal, particularly for someone who wants these games to be all about him. Ovechkin spent the entire tournament floating around the left side of the ice, waiting for the puck to make its way to him, and then throwing pucks to the net regardless of whether there was any traffic in front, whether anyone else was open, or whether there was an opportunity for sustained possession. All he cared about was seeing his name on the scoresheet. He made absolutely no effort defensively. In the offensive zone, when the puck rolled off his stick or was stripped, there was no effort to get it back. If he just wanted to hang out and take shots, at least let someone who is willing to do the work set you up with some quality chances instead of simply being a momentum killer. Malkin would win the puck in the Russian defensive zone, work the puck up ice, and as soon as it went to Ovechkin, possession over. Biggest mistakes the Russians made were trying to prove their KHL’ers were the same level as the NHL players and not separating Malkin from Ovechkin. The only time Malkin had a chance to do anything offensively was when he carried the puck through the neutral zone on his own. I wasn’t rooting for Russia but it was absolutely painful to watch as a hockey fan.

  7. muckleflugga - Feb 20, 2014 at 9:48 PM

    you clowns make it sound like these guys lived in privilege … dream on … find another ideological template … then wake up and get in the bread line

    i remember the first televised olympics and i remember 1972 … the russians wore ancient equipment … nobody had a slap shot because sticks were dear … these were not the pampered millionaires we see today … but they were truly a joy to watch … pure hockey at its finest

    and yes the red army were a club team that helped populate the soviet national team but they added players from other club teams like lokomotiv and dynamo when the olympics played … the idea the soviets sent a static club team is another myth propagated by the ill-informed

    the fact of the matter is …. the west suffered under the misapprehension its systems were superior at every level including sport … when habitually schooled by the soviets at world cup or olympics every excuse and negative attribute was dredged-up

    you’re all still doing it … such children

    the rooskies were superior skaters and passers and shooters and they never shot unless it was a true blue scoring chance … they were simply better … being from a communist country they were not accorded their due from witch-hunting countries like the usa

    it’s the same in the present … from the talk show stooges right up through government to network clowns … all they could do was throw dirt on these olympics … it’s the same in canada with our networks … cbc has been a complete embarrassment at times

    wringing every shred of negative news dry then beating it to death … its a disgrace and it makes me ashamed … why can’t our so-called superior countries give due when it’s earned

    credit too the athletes for acknowledging these games for their worth … but then they’re actually part of the show

    • disolitude - Feb 20, 2014 at 9:55 PM

      Great post.

      At the same time you must understand why your point of view isn’t widely accepted in the West or even understood by most people reading these boards.

      It is Soviet Union that opened its eyes and culture to the Western World…not vice versa.

    • blomfeld - Feb 20, 2014 at 10:58 PM

      In all seriousness Flugga, I always enjoy reading your ‘quality’ posts here at PHT … :)

      “Good show, jolly good show !” ….

  8. ibieiniid - Feb 20, 2014 at 9:53 PM

    I’ve taken part in some stupid, pointless arguments on PHT myself… but I’d like to acknowledge how unbelievably moronic some of these Olympic arguments have been over the last few days. the Olympics really bring out the idiotic, uncompromising nationalists in people.

    (anybody got anymore words for dumb? oh… I didn’t use dumb)

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