Andrey Osadchenko

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  • World junior championship: Vasilevski expected to shine in net for Russia

    Russia's Andrei Vasilevski (Getty Images)

    Star forward Mikhail Grigorenko recently made a telling comment about Team Russia’s goaltending.

    “Only our team has Andrei Vasilevski. No other team does,” he said.

    That’s ultimately right on so many levels.

    Russia’s goaltender Andrei Vasilevski will set a new record for his country as he enters his third world junior championship.

    Andrei Medvedev played at three different world junior championships for Team Russia and two under-18 world championships as well back in the early 2000’s. But Vasilevski will top that feat as he was part of Russia’s under-18 Team Russia for three straight years. He made his debut for Russia when he was just 15.

    Russia’s coach Mikhail Varnakov said Vasilevski should be his starting goalie but still leaves some room for speculation.

    “I think it’s an obvious decision. Vasilevski is hands down our number one choice. (Ivan) Nalimov will be his backup and (Igor) Ustinsky is the third goalie. That’s what we’re going to start with and see how it’s going to pan out.”

    The

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  • Team Russia’s Busarov opens up about Canada, says Sweden will be ‘tougher’ to play

    Team Russia captain Georgy Busarov at the Super Series

    Russian Super Series captain Georgy Busarov had a trip to remember when he visited Canada for the first time. Some people even joked it would be his final destination after playing the Canadians.

    “My coach told me I wouldn’t come back,” says Busarov with a laugh. “Everybody told me the same thing – keep your head up. Everybody knows the way Canadians play, there’s not much new to tell. Everybody sees the way they play every game at the world juniors, the world championship, and in the NHL. It’s all there for you on display. Besides, [our coach] Mikhail Varnakov always tells us everything we need to know about tactics.”

    Busarov was invited to Russia’s pre-world junior camp and is expected to make the final roster. He didn’t miss a single tournament with the team this year and has a pretty good idea of what to expect at the 2014 world juniors in Malmo, Sweden.

    “We didn’t play all the teams,” said Busarov. “We didn’t play Team USA. As for the teams we did play, I was the most impressed with

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  • Varnakov fills Russia’s WJC camp roster with a few surprises

    Russia's Mikhail Grigorenko and Nikita Kucherov (right) celebrate. (Candian Press)

    Team Russia’s head coach Mikhail Varnakov announced his 29-player roster for the world junior camp on Tuesday and there were some surprises.

    The list raised a number of questions as it lacked last season’s bronze medalists Daniil Zharkov, and Pavel Koledov, who seems to be available for this year’s tournament, as well as Vladimir Tkachev, who turned a few a heads at the recent Subway Super Series.

    On Thursday the Buffalo Sabres announced that they had made returnee Mikhail Grigorenko available for the Russian national squad.

    “Grigorenko definitely would be a serious addition to our team. … We would be glad to have him,” assistant coach Evgeny Koreshkov told R-Sport, prior to the star forward’s release.

    “He played well at the last world juniors but you always expect people to play a little better. Grigorenko can be a leader of Team Russia this year.

    “We won Game 3 of the [Subway Super] series against Team OHL 5-2 and we had [Nikita] Zadorov on our team. He brought some confidence into the

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  • Russia’s Tkachev might be undersized, but he’s not overlooked

    Vladimir Tkachev in action against Team OHL

    It really doesn’t matter if you’ve followed the Subway Super Series this season or not – chances are you hadn’t heard about Vladimir Tkachev before his goal against Team QMJHL in Game 1.

    Hockey players rarely brag about their individual plays in public but Tkachev’s comments are not unusual in that regard.

    “I got the puck, deked around two guys and scored. Nothing special,” he says.

    Tkachev blew past Laurent Dauphin and Samuel Morin to score on QMJHL goalie Zach Fucale. Dauphin was a second-round pick by the Phoenix Coyotes, Morin was a first-rounder for the Philadelphia Flyers and Fucale was picked by the Montreal Canadiens in the 2nd round this past summer as well.

    Nothing special? Really?

    “It’s nothing special for me,” says Tkachev. “I know I can do it. I’ve done it before.”

    Not arrogance but confidence. That’s quite a statement to make for a goal of that caliber.

    Tkachev was picked 39th overall at the CHL Import Draft by the Moncton Wildcats but decided to stay in his hometown –

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  • Nikita Zadorov: There’s nothing cooler than the NHL

    Zadorov would be crucial to London's Memorial Cup ambitions (AP)

    If there is one OHL team that got really good news this week, it’s the London Knights. Buffalo Sabres sent down their defenceman Nikita Zadorov to London, Ont., after a 7-game stint in the NHL.

    One might think Zadorov’s performance in the big leagues would be a one-step-at-a-time kind of thing as he’s just an 18-year-old defenceman with nothing but two years of major junior experience under his belt. However, in seven games with the Buffalo Sabres prior to his return to the Memorial Cup-host London Knights, he averaged over 17 minutes of ice-time and scored a goal.

    What does this kid have - nerves of steel?

    “Actually, I wasn’t nervous at all,” says Zadorov. “No, seriously. I’d been waiting for that moment for such a long time, why would I be nervous? I’ve played hockey for 15 years. Why would I be nervous if I love the game?”

    It may sound implausible but every NHL player will tell you the same – it’s easier to play on the big club rather than in the minors. Zadorov is no exception.

    “It is easier to play in the NHL,” he assures. “For instance, in the OHL you often have nobody to pass the puck to – nobody’s open. Usually the guys just don’t know what to do or where to go. In the NHL, though, everybody’s making themselves available. You have a billion of options to whom you may pass.”

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  • Russia’s Shiksatdarov: Part-time tour guide, full-time hockey player

    Team Russia forward Ildar Shiksatdarov

    Forward Ildar Shiksatdarov is trying to make the most out of his trip to Canada with Team Russia for the Subway Super Series.

    “I’ve been here before. A few years ago I had a camp in Ottawa. I work as a guide for our team. Part-time. Trying to make an extra buck,” said the 19-year-old with a laugh.

    The 11th annual Super Series kicks off Monday night in Gatineau, Quebec and it’s going to be the first time in a while that Shiksatdarov and many of his teammates are going to hit North American sized ice.

    “I was probably 12 when I last played in North America,” said Shiksatdarov. “CSKA played in Chicago and I was on the team. We finished in second place there.”

    Being a product of CSKA has its benefits. In the past few years Team Russia called up a number of CSKA players or CSKA hockey school alumni for the Subway Super Series – Nikita Gusev, Mikhail Grigorenko, Nikita Kucherov and Mikhail Naumenkov just to name a few.

    The latter was tied for first in scoring on Team Russia last year and he had an

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  • Russia isn’t sending their big guns to Super Series

    Team Russia celebrates a goal during the 2012 Subway Super Series

    For the past few seasons Team Russia entered the annual Subway Super Series with a mix of players from the Russian major junior hockey league (MHL) and their compatriots representing various CHL teams. Russia’s goal coming into the tournament has been to build a core for the world junior team and take a closer look at CHLers.

    This year it’s going to be a little different.

    Russia’s top players historically are a rare sight at the Super Series. Former junior superstars like Nikita Filatov, Alexei Cherepanov, Vladimir Tarasenko and Evgeny Kuznetsov never took part in the tournament.

    In fact, the only time Russia brought their big guns to Canada was last year when coach Mikhail Varnakov’s roster at the Super Series was an exact match to the one he used at the world juniors. The team was captained by Nail Yakupov, who was tied with Mikhail Naumenkov and Maxim Shalunov for first on Team Russia in points.

    However, if in the past Russia was missing a few key players at the Super Series, in 2013

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  • Russian hockey agent: CHL will ‘close its doors’ to all imports

    Makarov flummoxed Team USA and Alex Galchenyuk (Nathan Denette, The Canadian Press)CHL’s decision to ban import goalies from the league has caused quite a bit of turmoil overseas. While some Russian pundits believe Russian junior players would be better off developing in their homeland, one of the top hockey agents in the country, Alexei Dementiev, thinks otherwise.

    Dementiev made a name for himself in the past couple of years, stepping down from his duties as one of the Nashville Predators scouts to become a hockey agent. His client list include among many others Blues’ forward Vladimir Tarasenko, Habs’ prospect Alex Avtsin, Red Wings’ prospect Alexei Marchenko. He is also the agent for CHL alumni Alex Khokhlachev and Andrei Pedan.

    “The decision is very logical,” told Dementiev in his interview with Maria Rogovskaya of Championat.com. “At the NHL Entry draft I spoke to many junior league executives and it looks like the CHL is going to close its doors for all import players. Goalies are just the first in line. Canadians realized that they don’t have strong goalies not

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  • World junior championship: Alexander Semak shows Canadian criticism of junior teams has nothing on Russia

    Yakupov (right) had a 'sad face' during the tournament, says Alexander SemakIf you think Canadians are harsh on their players when they lose, you’re clearly not Russian.

    When it comes to criticism, Russian fans, media and pundits have no class — anything goes. Even by the lax standard, Alexander Semak's criticisms of Team Russia after its semifinal loss to Sweden went even farther than usual.

    As Sunaya Sapurji related, the alumnus of Team USSR at the 1987 Canada Cup and former New Jersey Devil, recently went on a rant about Team Russia performance in his interview to R-Sport.

    Sometimes reporters have to work their way around cliches they hear from the players and coaches. This is not the case. To put it in context, flash back to when Canada lost the world junior semifinal to Russia last season in Calgary. Imagine the following comments coming from a CHL coach who's also a legendary player, such as the Barrie Colts' Dale Hawerchuk or Quebec Remparts' Patrick Roy. That is who Semak, who coaches the junior team Tolpar in his native Ufa, is in Russia.

    Here is what

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  • World junior championship: In Russia, Nail Yakupov comments barely raised ripple

    Edmonton Oilers No. 1 overall pick Nail Yakupov (Getty Images)Nail Yakupov refuses to speak to the media at the world junior championship in Ufa, Russia. Yet, he still managed to get sucked into a media-scrutinized scandal.

    Two weeks ago Yakupov told R-Sport that ‘Canadians play dirty’ but Team Russia is ready for it. After going unnoticed, untouched and basically just ignored by both Russian media and fans, the story blew up on the first day of the world junior when it was translated and published in English.

    Canada's beloved Don Cherry making borderline chauvinistic comments on it was expected. Say what you want about Cherry — he gets his job done day in and day out. It’s not the first time he has made an insulting comment about a Russian hockey player. He is yet to offend one. He did make many laugh, though.

    Cherry addressed sentiments of many hockey fans in Canada. For generations Canadian fans have thought it is the Ruskies who play dirty and get wimpy. In Russia, it’s been the other way around since the 1972 Summit Series.

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