Despite the IIHF rankings quality of Russia's men's players may be at an all time low

Discussion in 'International Tournaments' started by Mr Kanadensisk, May 16, 2011.

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  1. Mr Kanadensisk

    Mr Kanadensisk Registered User

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    I'm not here to dump on the World Championships and I understand that especially in Europe it is a very popular tournament and good for hockey there. However with such a great variation in the number of players on each team declining to attend I have never felt that this tournament is a good measure of the depth and quality of each nations men's hockey players (at least not for the top 6 or 7 teams).

    I feel that league player statistics are a much better measure since the number and frequency of games played is so much higher.

    For example according to the IIHF rankings Russia is the number one ranked hockey nation in the world right now. Since Russians are best known for their offensive skill I thought a good measure would be the number of top 30 scorers from Russia in the NHL and KHL this season.

    NHL top 30 scoring this season
    1 player - Ovy (this is the lowest number of Russians ever to finish in the top 30 since the fall of the USSR)

    KHL top 30 scoring this season
    10 players from Russia out of 30. (again I believe this is the fewest number of Russians to finish in the top 30 in the history of the KHL / RSL).

    It seems that despite the IIHF rankings that Russian men's hockey is at an all time low. Hopefully they can bounce back before the next Olympics!!
     
  2. Peter25

    Peter25 Registered User

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    Russian hockey (player development) has been on a decline for at least 5 or 6 years now. It is no secret and not even the most fanatical Russian hockey fan should deny this.

    The age groups of 1987-1991 were very poor and thus there are not many young players playing for the national team. I feel that this team had too many old fat cats with big contracts in the KHL. They lacked drive and determination which they had in 2007-2009.

    The level of the KHL is very good but mainly because of import players. I actually support a strong import player base in the KHL but it must not happen in expense of player development. These things are not exclusive. Russia can have a strong junior program and the KHL can have lots of good imports at the same time.

    The key for Russian hockey is to develop its junior program to produce more and better quality players. Right now it is simply not good enough for a hockey nation like Russia.
     
    Last edited: May 16, 2011
  3. Alessandro Seren Rosso

    Alessandro Seren Rosso Registered User

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    I don't agree too much, especially in the year in which we won the WJC. Sure our junior hockey is filled with problem, but saying that our hockey is declining because of NHL stats is silly.
     
  4. Peter25

    Peter25 Registered User

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    Russia won the WJC mainly because of a great team effort. The Russian WJC team was a mirror image of the Russia's men's WC team. The Russia's men's team had the most talented team of the tournament but it lacked determination and cohesion. The Russian WJC team did not have the most talented team of the tournament but it had the most heart and determination.

    Aside of Kuznetsov, Tarasenko and possibly Orlov, Kitsyn and Bobkov the junior team had very little real talent. Kuznetsov is the only young Russian player right now that has a chance to become one of the world's best players. Tarasenko, I'm afraid, does not have the same potential. Just compare Tarasenko to a player like Granlund who is a year younger but can already dominate against men, where Tarasenko was shy and invisible in big games.
     
  5. Alessandro Seren Rosso

    Alessandro Seren Rosso Registered User

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    Petr, I usually agree with your post, but here not so much.
    1) Russia WJC was a mirror image? That was Plyuschev's team, not this year's. Not the best players? I don't agree. Maybe not overall, but no other teams had players like Kuzya and Tarasenko.
    2) Very little real talent? Meh. Once again I don't agree. Yes, not them all have Ovechkin potential (or better, no one of them), but still many players have some good skills and potential.
    3) Kuznetsov only? Are you joking? Tarasenko is just as good. There are several others, Kucherov and Grigorenko just being another two of them who are coming out now.
    4) My friend, how can you compare a first-second liner with a 3-minutes-a-game? Tarasenko had a chance to play in big games only at the WJC, and there he ruled.
     
  6. MrGeno101

    MrGeno101 Registered User

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    Yeaa and Datsyuk sucked really hard this years playoff...

    Seriously some of the upcoming player like Kuznetsov, Yakupov, Grigorenko are some of the best young talent in the world so don't think u need to be to worried.
     
  7. RusskiyHockey

    RusskiyHockey Registered User

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    The decline in production of stars like Ovechkin, Malkin, Kovalchuk, etc. is not a concern. They'll bounce back and have many years ahead of them. It's the depth that's the problem. Every year, it's almost the exactly the same defensemen (Nikulin, Kalinin, Korneev, Grebeshkov, Tyutin, Emelin, Atyushov, Proshkin, etc.) that are getting called to the national team. How many of them are truly world-class players and the best of their generation? There is also a serious lack of choice at the centre position. The WC doesn't exactly require Malkin and Datsyuk-calibre players to win, but when your remaining centres are not that much better than those of Belarus or Slovakia, it's not good. To be fair, none of Russia's 2011 centres will likely make it to the Sochi team. There are some new options at goaltending though, so that's good.
     
  8. Roamin

    Roamin Registered User

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    1. they need better coaching to whip younger players into better players.
    2. they all need to ****ing stop smoking.
     
  9. Peter25

    Peter25 Registered User

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    Good point. From the best Russians many are smokers. I can name Nikulin, Semin and Mozyakin who regularly smoke. And many more probably as well.

    By smoking they are reducing their physical abilities.
     
  10. VladNYC*

    VladNYC* Guest

    Here we go..like clock work. Russia beats Canada and out comes the "Russian hockey sucks" threads. Only 1 Russian in the top 30 scoring? Oh noesss! You do realize that there are only like 30 Russains left in the NHL right? That Russians make up less then 0.5% of the NHL? Statistically speaking, how many should be in the top 30? In the top 10? A few years ago when we had Ovechkin, Kovalchuk, Datsyuk, Semin and Malkin all in the top scoring levels, where was that thread? Where is the thread about how great Russian hockey talent is that a country that represents 0.5% of the NHL made up 25% of the top 20 scorers?
     
  11. Roamin

    Roamin Registered User

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    I root for Russia, Finland, Swiss and Germany every year.
    and every year I see Russia's play getting sloppier and sloppier.
    the other teams improving.


    also, whats the point of beating Canada? does Russia get a medal for that? no.
    The Swiss can do it.
     
  12. duga

    duga Registered User

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    Russia hasn't produced an elite D since Markov, , so they definitely lack talent and unfortunately depth as well. the latest years had some promising players though (Kulikov, Marchenko, Goncharov, Orlov, Voinov). we'll see how many of them will make Sochi. But the future definitely looks better than 5 years ago.

    The Centerdepht in most recent years (1990-94) looks very good compared to the 15 years before IMO. They certainly are very young, and quite a few of them won't reach their potential, but I see at least 8 prospects, who got the potential to be good/very good players. Some of them got elite potential. But Sochi is for most of them too early.

    Historically Russia never had tremendous Centerdepth, but every 10 years 2-3 highclass C, and with some overlapping generations could fill a whole sbornaja roster.

    It's cool to have 4 elite C, but it's not a must to win the Olympics.

    Much more important would be, that they start playing a bit a more flexible system, especially with the actual average defense.

    And I'm not even sure if it's only the Coaches fault, or if most of the players of the actual generation just aren't capable to dump it deep into the zone once in a while and successfully force repossession. I mean the finns were so compact and strong at protecting their own Blueline, a few well timed dumps could've helped loosen the brickets. But only the Kulemin-Line tried it, nowonder they were the best line in that game.

    How about a canadian Assistant-Coach...:sarcasm:
     
  13. PeacEnforcer

    PeacEnforcer Registered User

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    All I can say u must be severely delusional and prefer to pass personal misconceptions off for a fact, e.g ignoring the NHL and KHL statistics for the previous (not 2010-2011) seasons and most importanting, igonring Russia's achivements over the past four years. Well, if your memory refuses to serve u right or if there are some other reasons for your criminally selective use of statistics, I'll remind u that

    1) as recently as 2008 and 2009 we won two consecutive golds at the WC (notably, one of them being in Quebec, right during the Canadian celebrations of the 100th anniversary of the sport), also claimed sliver and bronze. And it's worth reminding u that we did not win a single major title since 1994 thru 2006;

    2) besides, don't u forget, that the team described by u as being at @an all-time [email protected] HAS BEATEN your "mighty, powerful and unbeatable":laugh: squad 5 times out of 6 since 2006 at all major hockey tournmanets - I guess we were much helped by the ever "declining and deteriorating" quality of our game:laugh:

    By the way, u should seriously ask yourself how is it that your beloved "all-mighty":sarcasm: Canada cannot beat Russia EVEN when it's so OBVIOUSLY AND UNDENIABLY BADLY coached as it was at these past worlds???

    3) third, for two years in a row we won all stages of the Euro Tour tournament, once running a streak of 27?! consecutive wins (counting World Championship and Euro Tour and victories) - the second best result in hockey history.

    4) Over the last years we have also seen the establishment of the KHL, VHL (roughly, the Russian analog of the AHL) and most critically - the MHL - the junior hockey league which have already paid dividend: cause for the first time over the past several years we won the Super Series played between Canadian and Russian youths, we also beat u at the WJC to claim the title (after returning home empty-handed for quite a while) and won a myriad of exhibition matches against various OHL and Amercian youth teams in the past season.

    So, if u look OBJECTIVELY at the big picture rather then tamper with facts to fit your story, what u will see is that Russian hockey began to get out of the slump it found itself in after the collapse of the USSR, loss of national identity and mass migration of our best players overseas. Only an extremely BIASED and even more extremely subjective individual (btw, not surprisingly a canandian, since candians tend to jump out of their pants to downplay all our victories and achievements and to blow theirs out of all proportions) , would argue that we made great strides over the past 4-5 years, compared to the sad and pathetic picture we saw in the 1994-2006 seasons.

    Having said that, it's undeniable that after the rise of 2007-2009, beginning from the fiasco in Vancouver and ending with the latest failure in Bratislava, our national team did lose in quality of its performance. However, on the one hand, that loss was PREDOMINANTLY due to the coaching staff who began resting on their laurels instead of continuing to work hard and generate new ideas, and on the other, this recent downfall in quality and results MUST BE SEEN IN PERSPECTIVE, and weighed up agaisnt our recent achievements that came after a lengthy futile and gold-less period, namely: the resounding bounce-back of 2007-2009, continuing success at the Euro Tours, consecutive victories over Canada - our major rival, victory at the WJC, and establishment of new Russian leagues.

    Winding up, I think we are clearly going in the right direction and the most pressing issue now is to make the right choice of the head coach for the national team. Other than that I think our future looks bright, at least by far brighter than 4-5 years ago:nod:.
     
  14. doakacola*

    doakacola* Registered User

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    This is what s/b the biggest concern to Russia hockey. Frankly the US has worst case pulled even with Russia and IMO has moved past them.
     
  15. doakacola*

    doakacola* Registered User

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    WJC is a meaningless barometer. I'm a big USA hockey fan but I don't put much stock into the US beating Canada at the U-18 because Canada's best isn't remotely there.
     
  16. Peter25

    Peter25 Registered User

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    This is not entirely true if the Soviet Union is also accounted.

    In the late 1970s and early 180s the Soviets had Petrov, Shadrin, Maltsev, Zhluktov, V.Golikov, Tyumenev, Kovin, Larionov, Bykov, Shepelev, Semenov all in their primes. This was the best center depth any nation has ever had.
     
  17. Peter25

    Peter25 Registered User

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    1. By mirror image I meant "opposite".
    2. Yes, after Kuznetsov, Tarasenko, Orlov, Kitsyn and possibly Bobkov there was not much talent on Russia's WJC team. The victory was a great team effort and one of the best display of determination I have ever seen at junior level.
    3. I usually trust my eyes when evaluation hockey players. I just don't see elite potential in Tarasenko. I hope he proves me wrong and takes a big step forward during the next season. Right now if you compare Tarasenko to Granlund, Ekman-Larsson, Pääjärvi or Rundblad you can see that the latter four can play against men in tough competition when Tarasenko tends to disappear and become a non-factor.
     
  18. bruinsfan46

    bruinsfan46 Registered User

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    Gretzky, Lemieux, Yzerman, Messier, Hawerchuk.... you get the picture. There's no way that title doesn't belong to the Canadians of the late 80s, you had two of the three greatest hockey players ever playing at or near their best.

    As for the topic of the thread, while the depth of Russian hockey maybe falling off just a bit, they're still pretty damn good at producing elite talent and with guys like Yakupov coming it doesn't look like it's about to come to an end. It's hard to judge just how good the depth of Russian hockey is with so many players staying home now.
     
    Last edited: May 16, 2011
  19. Peter25

    Peter25 Registered User

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    Well, you are correct. Canada always had a great center depth and in the 1980s it was exceptional. You can add Trottier, Dionne and Perreault to the mix as well.
     
  20. mattihp

    mattihp Registered User

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    The players are awesome, they just need to find someone to put them together as a team as well. When we saw russian players being team players for the first time since the Soviet Union we were scared, because there was NO nation that was close to as being as good as them.
     
  21. duga

    duga Registered User

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    Historically was probably a bit unlucky,more my history of watching:)

    I haven't seen all off them play, first WC I remember was 84 or 85. Beside the obvious elite C here like Petrov, Maltsev, Bykov, Larionov,were they truely all elite?

    and Petrov, Shadrin and Maltsev are more than 10 years older than Bykov and Larionov (and not in their prime in the early 80's I guess?)... so definitivly 2 generations overlapping. but the depth between the generations seemed to be unusally strong (with guys like Zhluktov, Kovin, Golikov...) You could give me a few words on them?

    Beside, as you are a strong advocate of russian home grown talent.
    What would you do with the dilemma on D?
    I mean the strongest defenseman developed after the arrival of Markov are probably Volchenkov, Tyutin, Nikulin... fine players but not elite. I mean e.g. Swiss Hockey could claim to have developed a equal defense in that time span, considering depth as well as talent. Not a good sign for Russia.

    the average russian D nowadays, despite all the puck skills, seem to lack oftenly some basic stuff in positioning, intensity, smart decisionmaking...I really hope they find a solution soon.
     
  22. Alessandro Seren Rosso

    Alessandro Seren Rosso Registered User

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    On Tarasenko I guess we'll agree to disagree.
    Regarding the rest, I still think that we have great players, and we only need some good coaches.
     
  23. Zine

    Zine Registered User

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    Only 2 significant problems exist:

    1. In terms of development - a lack of quality defensemen.

    2. In terms of game execution - a lack of successful coaching.
     
  24. Zine

    Zine Registered User

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    I'd say it was on decline.

    1987-1990 were lean years but 1991-forward looks to have some serious talent......and I think the formation of the MHL plays a big part in this going forward.

    Tarasenko, Kuznetsov, Kabanov (if he gets his **** straight), Yakupov, Kucherov, Grigorenko, Nichushkin, have the potential to dominate. You can also add Galchenyuk who was basically brought up in Dynamo's system. That's some serious potential talent.

    Although the lack of defensemen produced is a significant problem.
     
  25. Theokritos

    Theokritos Moderator

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    The question is: Is there a substantial degradation? Let's see.

    Russian forwards in the NHL:
    1989-90: 6 Forwards. Top 30: 1.
    1990-91: 8 Forwards. Top 30: 2.
    1991-92: 14 Forwards. Top 30: 2.
    1992-93: 26 Forwards. Top 30: 2.
    1993-94: 33 Forwards. Top 30: 2.
    1994-95: 37 Forwards. Top 30: 5.
    1995-96: 34 Forwards. Top 30: 3.
    1996-97: 34 Forwards. Top 30: 2.
    1997-98: 28 Forwards. Top 30: 3.
    1998-99: 33 Forwards. Top 30: 1.
    1999-00: 41 Forwards. Top 30: 3.
    2000-01: 42 Forwards. Top 30: 4.
    2001-02: 39 Forwards. Top 30: 5.
    2002-03: 38 Forwards. Top 30: 4.
    2003-04: 41 Forwards. Top 30: 3.
    2004-05: Lockout.
    2005-06: 26 Forwards. Top 30: 3 (Ovechkin, Kovalchuk, Datsyuk).
    2006-07: 27 Forwards. Top 30: 4 (Ovechkin, Datsyuk, Malkin, Slava Kozlov).
    2007-08: 19 Forwards. Top 30: 5 (Ovechkin, Malkin, Datsyuk, Kovalchuk, Kovalyov).
    2008-09: 21 Forwards. Top 30: 6 (Malkin, Ovechkin, Datsyuk, Kovalchuk, Syomin, Slava Kozlov).
    2009-10: 20 Forwards. Top 30: 5 (Ovechkin, Kovalchuk, Syomin, Malkin, Datsyuk).

    Obviously 2010-11 wasn't a good year for the Russian forwards in the NHL in general. But Datsyuk and Malkin very obviously lost their Top-30 spots solely through injuries. Hence, Russia has still three Top-30-calibre forwards. Kovalchuk and Syomin on the other hand had disappointing seasons. I'm not defending them, but it remains to be seen whether their shortcomings are going to become permanent. Judging by how Kovalchuk looked this spring, I don't think so. But we'll see. If "one Russian in the Top 30" becomes the rule: you're right. If not: 2010-11 was just one fluke year. No cause to draw far reaching conclusion until then.

    Another point: The number of Russian NHL players has declined by about 50% since 2005. However, the number of Russian forwards in the Top-30 has not dropped in the period from 2006-2010. No surprise, you might say: The best are still here. It's the weaker and the middle-rated players that have gone. True in general, but I still think a guy like Alexander Radulov would probably be a Top-30 scorer in the NHL. And if the number of Russian Top-30 players in the NHL remains pretty much constant even though some potential Top-30 players prefer to play elsewhere, then Russia is not in such a bad shape depth-wise.

    Take into consideration that the number of foreigners in the KHL is increasing year after year. With all the top European players from the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Sweden, Finland and so on now playing there, it's no surprise that the the relative amount of Russians among the top scorers is decreasing.

    Edit: Im talking of forwards here. Defensemen - that's another story. In this departement I really think Russia has some work to do.
     
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