A look toward Vancouver, 2.0

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Last year about this time, we projected what the rosters for the top seven hockey-playing countries would look like for the upcoming 2010 Winter Olympics (and reposted it in October). Well, now is a pretty good time to take a second look at those roster projections and make any necessary adjustments.

Instead of doing all seven teams in one gargantuan blog post, we are doing this over the course of a few days. Sadly, this is the end of the road (and a day late). We finish with what should be a mighty Team Russia.

RUSSIA

Forwards

ALEX OVECHKIN-Pavel Datsyuk-ALEXANDER SEMIN

Ilya Kovalchuk-Evgeni Malkin-Alex Kovalev

Danis Zaripov-Alexei Yashin-Aleksey Morozov

Sergei Mozyakin-SERGEI FEDOROV-Alexander Radulov

Alexander Frolov-Alexei Tereschenko

Just missed: Slava Kozlov, Nikolai Zherdev

Defensemen

Andrei Markov-Anton Volchenkov

Sergei Gonchar-Fedor Tyutin

Dmitri Kalinin-Dennis Grebeshkov

Ilya Nikulin

Just missed: Sergei Zubov

Goaltenders

Nikolai Khabibulin

Evgeni Nabokov

SIMEON VARLAMOV

Just missed: Ilya Bryzgalov

Skinny: There’s no secret to where the strength of this team lies – Russia will boast four of the top 10 forwards in the world – and that doesn’t count Semin and Kovlaev who would easily be in that group if it were based on talent alone. Picking this team isn’t easy, because it will have more KHL guys than might be expected.

Prevailing opinion also suggests that Ovechkin and Malkin will be linemates in this tournament, but here’s one opinion that says not so fast. It might make more sense to play Datsyuk with Ovechkin. If Fedorov does indeed play in the KHL next season, it could give him a better chance to make this team, which is a little light on centers.

The defense corps will likely be targeted as a weakness, but this group also might be a little better than people think. Markov and Gonchar will be power-play dynamos, and both are better all-around guys than they get credit for.

Picking a goaltender isn’t easy, but here’s guessing the Bulin Wall gets the nod because of his big-game experience. Also, don’t be surprised if Nabokov gets left off this team – especially if Varlamov is the No. 1 guy in Washington. Bryzgalov played very well for the Russians this summer, and that might have earned him a spot.

Clearly, the Russians are loaded and one of the favorites. They’ve already proven they can beat the Canadians on their home turf – though Team Canada will have a much different look.

PREVIOUS ENTRIES

- June 3:Czech Republic

- June 4: Slovakia

- June 5: Finland

- June 8:Sweden

- June 9:United States

- June 10:Canada

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