Хроника Хоккея


Malkin's gunning for title.
24.12.2005. Canadian Press

Peter Forsberg's scoring record at the world junior championship is probably safe, but Evgeni Malkin could very well put in serious jeopardy the Swede's title of most dominant player ever.

The second overall pick after Alexander Ovechkin in the 2004 entry draft is, quite simply, the stud of this year's tournament, which starts Monday in Vancouver. Consider what Ovechkin and Sidney Crosby are doing this season in the NHL against the best players in the world and then consider that many hockey observers think Malkin is every bit as good as those two. Then project that level of talent against 18- and 19-year-old players who are a couple of years away from the NHL and you have a recipe for world domination.

"Evgeni Malkin is the best player outside the NHL right now and it isn't even close," said Maple Leafs pro scout Craig Button. "He's as dominant a 19-year-old I've seen since Peter Forsberg. He's unbelievable scary and he can beat you in so many areas and in so many ways."

Opponents of Metallurg Magnitogorsk in the Russian league are quickly realizing that. The 6-foot-3, 198-pounder leads the league in goals with 15, and is top scorer with 35 points in 32 games this season. The future Pittsburgh Penguin will likely be the first player since Eric Lindros to play in a world junior and Olympics in the same year, but Malkin will do it in an era in which each team at the Olympics is represented by its best NHL players.

"He's everything you want in a player," Magnitogorsk coach Dave King told the Vancouver Province recently. "To play at that level in this league says something. He's the real deal."

Scouts who have gone to Russia this year are in full agreement with the former coach of the Canadian national team.

"He could be as dominant a player as there has ever been in this tournament," said one. "One of the reasons for that is that 19-year-old players this good rarely get to play in the world juniors."

That should have been case with Malkin as well but he decided to remain in Russia another year out of loyalty to the Siberian organization for which he has played all his life. His addition to the Russian team makes it an instant contender for the gold medal, which it failed to win last year after losing 6-1 to Canada in the championship game.

"I'd be surprised if he didn't win the scoring title in this tournament by a double-digit margin," said another scout. "Maybe one of his linemates will come close because whoever plays with him is going to get a lot of points, too."

It's unlikely for a couple of reasons that Malkin will break Forsberg's 1993 record of 31 points. First, Malkin's team will likely play only six games, compared to the seven Forsberg played in 1993. And as weak as the Latvians are expected to be, it's highly improbable that Malkin could score 10 points in one game against them the way Forsberg did in a 20-1 thrashing of Japan 13 years ago.

But like Forsberg in 1993, Malkin's presence is not a guarantee of victory. Forsberg's team, that also included future NHL star Markus Naslund, was betrayed by its goaltending and fell victim to a Canadian team playing over its head with outstanding goaltending from Manny Legace. The Russians are explosive and talented enough at defence and forward to win, but have been plagued by inconsistent goaltending.

In reality, there are five teams with a realistic chance of winning the tournament — Russia, U.S.A., Canada, Czech Republic and dark horse Finland. The American team is loaded with top talent and will be a strong contender to win its second gold medal in three years.

For Canada, much hinges on home ice advantage and whether sheer determination is enough to make up for lesser talent. Maple Leaf goaltending prospect Justin Pogge, the best goalie in major junior hockey, will have to be every bit as good as he has been this season.

After a couple of years of having the most talent in the tournament, Canada will this year have to go back to a formula of hard work, superior goaltending, luck and great coaching to win.

In that respect, the team is led by Brent Sutter, who led Canada to gold last year and has made winning a habit. Sutter won two Stanley Cups and two Canada Cups as a player and has coached his Red Deer Rebels to a Memorial Cup.

Первая страничка молодежных чемпионатов мира 2006 года
Подгруппа А - подробнее
Канада, США, Финляндия, Швейцария, Норвегия
Подгруппа В - подробнее
Россия, Чехия, Швеция, Словакия, Латвия
За 7-10 места - подробнее
Швейцария, Словакия, Латвия, Норвегия
1/4 финала - подробнее
Швеция - Финляндия
США - Чехия
1/2 финала - подробнее
Канада - Финляндия
Россия - США
Финал - подробнее
За 5 место. Швеция - Чехия
За 3 место. Финляндия - США
За 1 место. Канада - Россия
Страничка статистики

Молодежные чемпионаты мира (до 20 лет) 2006 года.