After Poltava: How to improve team Russia?

Discussion in 'International Tournaments' started by artilector, Feb 17, 2006.

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  1. artilector

    artilector Registered User

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    I first posted this in the GDT, but realized that my comments are more appropriate for a transition topic toward the next game - I'd like to hear some thoughts on what specific improvements can Russia make going forward...

    Some thoughts on the game:
    1. Hell yeah, we win!!!
    2. Big relief for players and coaches, pressure is off until quarters, so they will stay fresher mentally..
    3. Russia became solid on D only after Naby made a few huge early stops - we'll never know how the game would have gone if Russia fell behind early..
    4. Sweden does not have the personnel to make comebacks.
    5. Russia showed it can be disciplined with a solid lead. If we can play like that when the score is tied or we're behind by a goal, thats when everybody should get scared..
    6. Players: Nabokov was spotless.. the "C" has turned Kovalev into a monster, he's doing everything.. Happy for the RSL line, maybe these guys will start finishing now. Ovy is scraping goals from thin air, and destroying people in his spare time. Afinogenov is mostly playing stupid. Kovalchuk... not really a factor.. PK unit looked good, I think its a smart use of Vishnu and Zhukov - they're not so mobile, but on PK they do a good job clearing traffic, freeing up 5-on-5 time for the other d-men - good job Krikunov on that.

    I don't know what Russia can work on in the games vs KAZ, LAT, except just improve overall feel for each other. I think the lines will stay the same, even though some things do not feel right - unless some permutation really makes sense, better to leave them as is and let them figure it out. I like Kovalev-Datsyuk, Su-Malkin-Kharitonov, Yashin-Ovy links.. Kovalchuk is underperforming, Afinogenov is doing far too many stupid things, Frolov is lost in the shuffle.. but what to do about it? Maybe Frolov would be a better fit on the top line, but it will stay as is, because where else can Kovalchuk play? Kovy has to find a way to be more effective, though, especially with these incredible linemates... he's the X factor on offense - our other star forwards are pulling their weight..

    I say try Frolov with Ovy and Yashin, this will be a solid line, and they'll generate plenty of offense once Afinogenov stops turning over the puck. Demote Afinogenov to the 4-th, let him do whatever he wants, as long as Kozlov and Korolyuk play tight on D. There is enough firepower on lines 1-3... what do you think? Afinogenov is playing out-of-control, and Frolov is better than what he has had a chance to show..

    Your thoughts?
     
  2. YungGunner94

    YungGunner94 Registered User

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    i think korolyuks skills are being wasted on the 3rd line or w/e line he's on...he needs to be promoted.
     
  3. teme

    teme Registered User

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    Russia good:
    - Nabby
    - Transition game, deadly fast.
    - Scoring in general
    - Contrary to the opinions above, I think the whole Kovalchuk - Datsuyk - Kovalev unit has been very good, not just Kovalev. Also Viktor Kozlov is looking suprisingly good, does well in a more defencive role.

    Russia bad:
    I can't remember the last time I saw team blank another while loosing so many one-on-one battles in their own end. In general the defence is barely good enough, although with the way they are scoring it might do.

    Russia plays extremely passively in their own zone, one of the funniest moments in the game vs. Swedes was when the Russians had setup a PK like box and one the Swedes was in the boards exactly between the dman and the winger. Ovechkin and Markov were just staring at each other, like what do we do now! OTOH, they did shut out Sweden, so what do I know... Still, it looks really old fashioned and some of the faster teams that can quickly overpower one side of the rink will make the Russians pay for it.

    Speaking of speed, team Sweden is even slower than I thought. Too many guys cut from the same mold: good hands, good size, strong in the corners, and average skaters. Why aren't say Nylander and Ekman on this team? Making matters worse, they take ages to setup the offence. There is lot to be said for puck control, but if they are so slow with it, they might be better off just dumping it in.
     
  4. Chimp

    Chimp Registered User

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    Sorry for OT, this is about the Russiand team, but I had to answer.

    The Swedes are better skaters, better passers and better just about better everything than they showed yesterday. They couldn't even make a 2 inch pass to eachother, or receiving that pass. I've seen them able to do this before, so I'm pretty sure they can really do this for real.

    There were sequences where the Swedes lost the puck in the middle zone about 3-4 times in a row, not making a single successful pass to eachother, before the Russians simply took the puck like candy from a sleeping baby. It was simply put awful to watch.
     
  5. CSKA

    CSKA Registered User

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    2 posts 2 excuses.

    Russia was the better team by a fair mergen ! Get over it ! You sounds like this victory was a present from Swedish team. :dunno:
     
  6. CSKA

    CSKA Registered User

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    Oh please Krikunov replace Afinogenov with Frolov , please !!!
     
  7. helicecopter

    helicecopter Registered User

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    Oh, i missed this one, i guess what i posted in the game thread would better fit here:

    -They should use Kovalchuk on the point in PP situations. Apparently they refuse to employ special teams in PP, but that could be a key flaw in close games when they really NEED a goal. Seeing Kharitonov out there on the PP doesn’t make any sense. (while they never use Frolov, Kozlov and Korolyuk in such situations. All the three are better than Kharitonov on the PP).

    -Kovalchuk played poorly and didn’t look like a great match for that line. Watching him live from an high position where I could see very well players movements I have to say he doesn’t shine for hockey sense and I think at the moment he would be better used with an apposite line where he is the go to guy all the time. It looks like he didn’t know exactly what to do and thus didn’t skate as much and as fast as he could.
    Maybe it was just an off day, but personally I would put him with two guys that work for him and leave him leading the offense.

    Make it:

    Frolov-Datsyuk-Kovalev
    Ovechkin-Malkin-Afinogenov
    Kovalchuk-Kozlov-Korolyuk
    Kharitonov-Jashin-Sushinsky

    If they are really going to roll four lines..but since it doesn’t seem the case, if there is going to be a real fourth line like against Sweden go with:

    Frolov-Datsyuk-Kovalev
    Kovalchuk-Jashin-Korolyuk
    Ovechkin-Malkin-Sushinsky
    Kharitonov-Kozlov-Afinogenov

    I’m very confident these three top lines would work better.
     
  8. Bloggins

    Bloggins Registered User

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    Sweden played a very poor game.
     
  9. CSKA

    CSKA Registered User

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    Yes. Russia was better so what ?
     
  10. Bloggins

    Bloggins Registered User

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    So nothing, team Russia beat a very sloppy playing team Sweden. Nothing to see here folks, move on please.
     
  11. Slitty

    Slitty Registered User

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    I'll do what I want despite your instructions, thanks. Hell, come to think of it, I will keep discussing this game until Russia plays its next game... and you know what, I will make a big deal over our glorious victory over a mighty opponent.
     
  12. Bloggins

    Bloggins Registered User

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    Allrighty then, you keep massaging that ego. :D
     
  13. nik jr

    nik jr Registered User

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    i agree.
    afinogenov should be demoted--he just skates fast and turns it over (except when no one is near him like on the breakaway). ppl say he's like a poor man's bure. he's more like a homeless man's bure. or a starving man's bure. :sarcasm:

    kovalchuk should play on line where he's the focus, he's not really creating anything. maybe kovalchuk could play w/ malkin? malkin i think isn't being aggressive enough.
    ovechkin or frolov to 1st line. i'd also like to see the russians hit some more. but ovechkin was trying to take out the giant chara! :D

    latvia plays a up and down game sending 2 to receive long passes. slovakia was keeping 4 on the blueline w/ 1 forechecker. it should test russia's D and patience.

    kazakhstan should have been in the box the whole game vs US; i don't know how they got away w/ so much. :dunno: russia's speed should be overwhelming vs kazakhs. or practice the PP.

    btw, poltava=1709 russian victory over charles XII of sweden. it marked russia's emergence as a great power!
     
  14. Berkut

    Berkut Registered User

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    Don't worry, I'm cheering for Sweden agansi SVK and USA!


    I don't know why everybody is so upset about Kovalchuk's play, but i think he looked descent. He had few chances, stole the puck in the offensive zone one or two times, stickhandeled few swedes here and there and dished the puck to his teammates. The only thing he has to do now is to play on the point on the PP and score those patented goals he has! :)
     
  15. Panopticon

    Panopticon Registered User

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    They really should switch Frolov with Afinogenov. Just try it, if it doesn't work, then it doesn't. It's not working now so what do they have to lose?
     
  16. Firsov99

    Firsov99 Registered User

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    Good posts, guys.

    Believe it or not, but Afinogenov has finished the last game with a "+2" , but I agree that he should definitely cut down on those turnovers.

    I am, actually, not disappointed with Kovalchuk's play so far. He has been very aggressive on the forecheck, and, overall, he has played a better defensive game. He'll score his goals, but I am just glad that he has been more responsible with defensive duties. He definitely should be used more effectively on PP. The game with Kazakhstan should be a good practice for his slap shots...

    I truly hope that Nabby will play consistently in this tournament. Without good goaltending we won't see any medals.

    I think that our main weakness is our play along the borads. Well, I wouldn't expect our players to be the best in this component (it's the main weakness of the Russian hockey style in anyway ), but if they could be more effective and aggressive along the boards, we would have a chance to be in the final.
     
  17. artilector

    artilector Registered User

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    I second that, good posts..

    <Berkut>: I think the reason we're all talking about Kovalchuk is not because he's hurting the team, but simply because he is a huge weapon that the team is having trouble unleashing. You're right, he is trying to be useful and its great to see - but you can get that sort of utility plays from many players - the standards have to be higher for this guy. I think, unfortunately, <helicecopter> is right, Kovalchuk has all the tools, but is still lacking in hockey sense.. actually, I think the same can be said about Ovechkin, but Ovy has a remarkable work-rate that masks most of tactical deficiencies. Don't get me wrong, both these guys are my favorite players, but I think they have almost too much talent - they've never had to think about how to maximize it.

    <helicecopter>,<nik jr> I don't think putting Kovy on a line with two guys who will do all the work for him is a good answer. Its only going to make his bad habits worse - waiting for the puck instead of figuring out a way to get to it. I've seen most of his Atlanta games this year, where he is exactly the focus, and basically, a line like that is easy to shut down. It works in regular season, relatively meanigless games, but in big games you can't win if your superstar is not willing to dig out pucks and waste some energy covering on D...

    So I would not put Kovy with Kozlov and Korolyuk - these guys are not good enough to play the setup role for him, and he may just get frustrated and become completely ineffective. Perhaps he'd somehow click with Yashin, but who knows.. The one good thing about Kovalchuk on this first line is that I think it keeps his ego in check, so he's working harder than I've ever seen him work. Its not currently very effective, but at least he's motivated and hungry, so he stands a better chance to get going if he stays with those two, IMO.

    Its nice to see that most of us agree about moving up Frolov at the expense of Afinogenov... Frolov has looked good to me in those few moments when he was around the puck at even-strength.
     
  18. shawn_kemp*

    shawn_kemp* Guest

    you're all wrong and don't understand a thing about hockey. in the future please don't post anything!!! The Russians are just arrogant and selfish and never play as a team therefore it's no use trying to change the lines or put Kovalchuk on point on the PP!!! :p: :p: :p:







    :sarcasm: Ok, take it easy, I'm just fooling around. ;)
     
  19. artilector

    artilector Registered User

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    I definitely agree with those points. Regarding play along the boards, yeah, its much, much harder to stay tight on a guy in the defensive zone than simply keep him to the outside. When Russia was defending with a lead in the game with Sweden, players were disciplined in their own zone, but they still gave up a lot of space to Swedish forwards... at that point it did not matter cause everything was going our way, but other teams can play tighter on D when they have to, I think thats safe to admit.

    Bad teams will eventually cough up the puck when they cycle.. but a team like Canada, with all-around great forwards, will find a seam, its only a matter of time. Sweden is usually very good at that, but in this last game they could not finish early and then fell too far behind... Its an Achilles heel for Russia, though, even if we play disciplined otherwise..

    Its ok, I like this team - if it wins, it will win in its own way, all the naysayers be damned..
     
  20. The Mars Volchenkov

    The Mars Volchenkov Registered User

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    How to improve? Play Volchenkov more. ;)
     
  21. nik jr

    nik jr Registered User

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    i don't think kovalchuk has been bad, just not playing like 1 of world's best. i was just speculating that maybe kovalchuk would do better on a different line.
    i don't think it would ever be easy to shut down a line w/ kovalchuk, unless kovalchuk is not trying. i don't know why but kovalchuk hasn't been scoring much in NHL for a while. he was right behind jagr. :dunno:

    i was thinking:
    frolov/ovechkin-datsyuk-kovalev
    kovalchuk-malkin-sushinsky
    ovechkin/frolov-yashin-korolyuk
    kharitonov-kozlov-afinogenov

    i don't really know which play well w/ which, but could easily experiment w/ lines vs kazakhstan, should be an easy game. malkin and sushinsky seem to play well together.

    i don't know why no PP units. sweden has been doing the same thing--just putting lines out on PP. hasn't worked for sweden either.
     
  22. GuloGulo

    GuloGulo Registered User

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    Unless Krikunov hates PP units, it's because of the same reason as B-A Gustafsson doesn't: he wants to use the round-robin games to play the regular formations together as much as they can. I suppose they're trying out PP on practice meantime. My guess. :dunno:
     
  23. artilector

    artilector Registered User

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    So what do we do now, without Frolov (and Vishnu)?

    I guess our lines will stay the same for sure, now.. I don't think there will be a big difference in the performance of the 4th line, but its a shame there is no chance to see Frolov get a crack at the top lines...

    So has there been any confirmation of Vishnevsky's injury? "Can't wait" to see Kulyash in action.. never seen him play, but judging by reports, the man can get 3 penalties on the same shift, score on a slap shot from his own blue line on the next, and then cough up the puck while trying to level someone in the offensive zone with the score 3-3 and 1 minute to play. Sounds like the model of consistency to me!
     
  24. artilector

    artilector Registered User

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    Thats a comforting observation... I'll believe it as soon as I see Kovalev-Gonchar-Ovechkin-Yashin-Datsjuk unit (for example) on the PP in the quarters :)

    Will the real Russian PP please stand up?
     
  25. shawn_kemp*

    shawn_kemp* Guest

    In his post game conference, Krikunov said he won't use 4 forwards on the PP because according to him they won't be able to make the right play on defense if they have to!

    Typical Superleague mentality : defense goes first. I think he's right.
     
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