Ovechkin, Malkin explosive 1-2 punch
25.12.2004. By TERRY KOSHAN -- Toronto Sun
The myriad talents of Alexander Ovechkin and Evgeni Malkin will be on
full display at the 2005 world junior championship, but exactly what
the rest of the Russian team brings will be intriguing to witness.
Ovechkin, the No. 1 pick last June by the Washington Capitals, and
Malkin, who went next to the Pittsburgh Penguins, possess the ability
to carry Russia all the way to the final. While tournament observers
expect Russia to finish with a medal, it may have to overcome average
netminding to do so.
"Even if Russia doesn't get great goaltending, they will still be very
explosive on offence," Maple Leafs director of amateur scouting Barry
Trapp said. "It's going to be interesting to see what Russia does.
Sometimes they like to play possum in the round-robin and then come out
That's what happened in 2002, when Russia lost twice in the round-robin
but wound up beating Canada 5-4 in the final. A year later, the
Russians went 6-0 in the tournament, again beating Canada by one goal
(3-2) in the gold-medal game.
Goalie Anton Khudobin, a Minnesota Wild draft pick, was sharp against
the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League in the recent Canada-Russia
Challenge and was a major factor in the Russians' two victories. The
other two goalies on Russia's preliminary roster were Vladislav Fokin
and Andrey Kuznetsov. Although Khudobin was in goal when Russia won
gold at the 2004 under-18 world championship, scouts want more when
they watch him play.
"Their defence and goaltending is just okay," another NHL scout said.
"What they have to guard against is playing that individual style they
have succumbed to in the past. They have to play a team game where
everybody contributes something."
There have been times in the past when dressing-room turmoil has
derailed the Russians at the world junior championship. But Ovechkin is
a level-headed kid who is well-liked by his teammates, so there
shouldn't be any major internal issues this year. His ability is
limitless but unlike countryman Ilya Kovalchuk, who would make
decisions based on a whim, there isn't much emotional unpredictability
at this age.
The NHL lockout has given Canada Patrice Bergeron, and it's probable
that Jeff Carter, Anthony Stewart and Ryan Getzlaf could have made NHL
inroads this season had it unfolded as usual. Ovechkin and Malkin,
though, likely would have been the only two European teens in the NHL
had the lockout not happened.
"Ovechkin and Malkin are two of the top young players in the world," an
NHL scout said. "The overall lack of depth behind them is a bit of a
worry but they could be fine."
Первая страничка молодежных чемпионатов мира 2005 года
|Подгруппа А - подробнее
США, Россия, Чехия, Швейцария, Белоруссия
|Подгруппа В - подробнее
Канада, Финляндия, Швеция, Словакия. Германия
|За 7-10 места - подробнее
Словакия, Швейцария, Белоруссия, Германия
|1/4 финала - подробнее
Чехия - Финляндия
Швеция - США
|1/2 финала - подробнее
Канада - Чехия
Россия - США
|Финал - подробнее
За 5 место. Швеция - Финляндия
За 3 место. Чехия - США
За 1 место. Россия - Канада.