Ok, we have the men’s and women’s Russian Olympic rosters named (they’re below the jump)! One bit of news regarding the latter; the situation with Lyudmila Belyakova has been sorted out between the FHR and IOC, and she is eligible to be chosen for the Games. Read on! (and come back for updates through today — I will be adding notes and thoughts throughout the day). If you have questions, do feel free to leave them in the comments.
Please note that this is not meant to be any kind of in-depth analysis of either roster; we will take a closer look at both closer to the opening faceoffs at the Olympics. This post is just basically to get the names out there, and convey a few first- and second-glance thoughts of my own.
GOALIES: Vasily Koshechkin (Metallurg Magnitogorsk), Igor Shestyorkin (SKA St. Petersburg), Ilya Sorokin (CSKA Moscow)
DEFENCEMEN: Vladislav Gavrikov (SKA St. Petersburg), Dinar Khafizullin (SKA St. Petersburg), Bogdan Kiselevich (CSKA Moscow), Alexei Marchenko (CSKA Moscow), Nikita Nesterov (CSKA Moscow), Vyacheslav Voinov (SKA St. Petersburg), Artyom Zub (SKA St. Petersburg), Andrei Zubarev (SKA St. Petersburg)
FORWARDS: Sergei Andronov (CSKA Moscow), Alexander Barabanov (SKA St. Petersburg), Pavel Datsyuk (SKA St. Petersburg), Mikhail Grigorenko (CSKA Moscow), Nikita Gusev (SKA St. Petersburg), Ilya Kablukov (SKA St. Petersburg), Sergei Kalinin (SKA St. Petersburg), Kirill Kaprizov (CSKA Moscow), Ilya Kovalchuk (SKA St. Petersburg), Sergei Mozyakin (Metallurg Magnitogorsk), Nikolai Prokhorkin (SKA St. Petersburg), Ivan Telegin (CSKA Moscow), Vadim Shipachyov (SKA St. Petersburg), Sergei Shirokov (SKA St. Petersburg)
COACH: Oleg Znarok (SKA St. Petersburg)
- The team will also have three players on hand for practices, a presumably in case the injury bug strikes: D Nikita Tryamkin (Avtomobilist Yekaterinburg), F Vladimir Tkachyov (Ak Bars Kazan), D Yegor Yakovlev (SKA St. Petersburg).
- I mentioned him in yesterday’s post, and it’s great to see Sergei Mozyakin in the lineup. His omission from the 2014 roster remains, to my mind, a tremendous error by the coaching staff at those games.
- Much will obviously be made of the small number of club teams represented, with just three: SKA St. Petersburg (15 players), CSKA Moscow (8), and Metallurg Magnitogorsk (2). Shades of bygone years, when CSKA Moscow supplied the bulk of the Soviet national team. While the KHL would definitely like to solve the problem of over-concentration of talent on certain teams in the league, in the short run Team Russia has a lot of players who are very familiar with each other.
- The goaltending situation is an interesting one, with two precocious youngsters in Sorokin and Shestyorkin and a wily veteran in Koshechkin.
- No surprise given the absence of the NHLers this time around, but there are relatively few guys on this roster who played at Sochi in 2014. No goalies, one defenceman (Voynov), and two forwards (Datsyuk and Kovalchuk).
- A surprise omission from this roster? Ak Bars d-man Andrei Markov. That is a not a terribly strong defence group, and though Markov is 39, he would be useful even if Znarok used him primarily as a power-play specialist.
- There are some very interesting little factoids about the men’s team in this article from sports.ru. Among them: Team Russia will be youngest side at the Olympics (average age: 27).
- One guy I’m very interested in seeing at these Olympics: Prokhorkin. His career has had its twists and turns, but he’s still only 24, and a good sniper when he’s “on” (he dropped four goals on Admiral Vladivostok in a game last week).
GOALIES: Nadezhda Alexandrova (Tornado Moscow Oblast), Nadezhda Morozova (Biryusa Krasnoyarsk), Valeriya Tarakanova (SKIF Nizhny Novgorod)
DEFENDERS: Mariya Batalova (Tornado Moscow Oblast), Anastasiya Chistyakova (Dynamo St. Petersburg), Liana Ganeyeva (Arktik-Universitet Ukhta), Angelina Goncharenko (Tornado Moscow Oblast), Yekaterina Lobova (Biryusa Krasnoyarsk), Yekaterina Nikolayeva (Dynamo St. Petersburg), Nina Pirogova (Tornado Moscow Oblast), Svetlana Tkachyova (Tornado Moscow Oblast)
FORWARDS: Lyudmila Belyakova (Tornado Moscow Oblast), Yelena Dergachyova (Tornado Moscow Oblast), Yevgeniya Dyupina (Dynamo St. Petersburg), Fanuza Kadirova (Arktik-Universitet Ukhta), Diana Kanayeva (Dynamo St. Petersburg), Viktoriya Kulishova (SKIF Nizhny Novgorod), Valeriya Pavlova (Biryusa Krasnoyarsk), Yekaterina Smolina (Dynamo St. Petersburg), Olga Sosina (Agidel Ufa), Alyona Starovoitova (Tornado Moscow Oblast), Anna Shokhina (Tornado Moscow Oblast), Alevtina Shtaryova (Tornado Moscow Oblast)
Coach: Alexei Chistyakov (Tornado Moscow Oblast)
- Belyakova’s inclusion means that Team Russia can run its two big lines of Sosina-Pavlova-Belyakova and the Tornado trio of Shokhina-Dergachyova-Shtaryova.
- The choice of starting goalie will likely come down to one of the two Nadezhdas: Morozova or Alexandrova. Tarakanova should draw third-goalie duties, but she’s eminently capable of stepping in if needed.
- A real surprised on this roster: the absence of Calgary Inferno forward Iya Gavrilova, long one of the best players in the Russian women’s hockey program. Whether this decision was made by the IOC, the FHR, or the player herself remains to be discovered.
- No Alexandra Vafina either, although the Agidel Ufa forward did get a very late start on the season, and has only played a handful of games.
- It is being reported that the whole situation with Belyakova was the result of a “technical error” on the part of the IOC.
- There are no goalies returning to this roster who also played at Sochi in 2014, two defenders (Tkachyova and Goncharenko), and four forwards (Dergachyova, Shokhina, Smolina, and Sosina).
- Six of the Women’s Hockey League’s seven teams will be represented in South Korea (SK Sverdlovsk Oblast are the exception). However, it is something of a surprise to see only one player — Sosina — from current league-leaders Agidel. The IOC has played a role in this, barring Inna Dyubanok and Anna Shibanova, but we again wonder about the absence of Vafina.
- I was surprised, though pleasantly so, to see 18-year-olds Kulishova and Starovoitova on the roster. Both played at the U18 Worlds in 2017, and have earned their major-tournament debuts for the senior women’s team on the strength of good showings in the Women’s Hockey League in 2017-18. Kulishova and goalie Tarakanova are among the first players to come out of the SKIF youth program that has become so strong in recent seasons; they are unlikely to be the last.
- Defender Nina Pirogova, incidentally, was also at the 2017 U18 Worlds, as captain. She turns 19 tomorrow, and already has three senior World Championships on her resume.
- Finally, a mention of two returning veterans: Smolina and Tkachyova. Smolina appeared to have wrapped up her international career after the 2016 Worlds, but has come back into the national team picture this season. For Tkachyova, 2017-18 has marked a return to hockey after two seasons away on maternity leave.