Oct 3, 2013, 1:19 PM EDT
November will be a key month for Russian NHL players hoping to make the Sochi Olympic team.
Russian Hockey Federation president Vladislav Tretiak, the goaltender on the 1980 Soviet Union Olympic team, and Olympic coach Zinetula Bilyaletdinov will scout North American professional players in person.
“I will definitely go to North America in November in order to cover as many players as possible, not only goaltenders,” Tretiak said, according to R-Sport. “Bilyaletdinov will also go, but I want to meet with the guys personally, talk to them, evaluate their level of readiness ahead of the Olympics.”
Russia has not won an Olympic hockey medal since a bronze at the 2002 Salt Lake City Games, and it has never won Olympic gold. The Soviet Union won all but two Olympic hockey tournaments from 1956 through 1988, and the Unified Team won gold in 1992.
The men’s hockey gold might be the most coveted medal for the host nation come February, just as in the Vancouver Games. The home-ice advantage will certainly help Russia. Neither Canada nor the U.S. won medals at the last two Olympics held outside North America (1998 and 2006).
Washington Capitals superstar Alex Ovechkin is expected to lead the 25-man Russian Olympic team. He was the first Russian torchbearer during the torch relay that began Sunday (video here). Russia is stacked with star forwards, including Evgeni Malkin, Ilya Kovalchuk and Pavel Datsyuk.
A big question for Russia is in goal. NHL starters Sergei Bobrovsky, Evgeni Nabokov and Semyon Varlamov were invited to their pre-Olympic camp. The enigmatic Ilya Bryzgalov, currently without a team but reportedly close to signing with Las Vegas of the ECHL, was not invited to that camp, but he is still eligible to be chosen.
Bryzgalov and Nabokov split time in goal at the 2010 Olympics, where Russia was eliminated by Canada in the quarterfinals.
“I think that Ilya is a good goaltender and if he plays fantastically, than why not?” Tretiak told R-Sport. “But it is the coaches’ business to decide who will go.”
Oct 19, 2014, 10:30 AM EDT
How top Americans, Austrian going for history will be affected this World Cup season.
Oct 17, 2014, 2:50 PM EDT
Two-time Olympic halfpipe champion won’t be competing, though.
Oct 17, 2014, 10:54 AM EDT
Top U.S. skaters are incorporating new rule into their programs this season.
Oct 17, 2014, 9:41 AM EDT
Runner faces up to 15 years in prison.
Oct 17, 2014, 6:48 AM EDT
Gatlin’s inclusion on previous 10-man nomination list drew criticism.
Oct 16, 2014, 4:34 PM EDT
Olympic silver medalist has an interesting post-skeleton bucket list.
Oct 16, 2014, 11:24 AM EDT
Biles recalls bee tale, talks of specific vault upgrade, uneven bars hatred.
Oct 16, 2014, 7:45 AM EDT
Three-time Olympic medalist previously said he was taking a break.
Oct 15, 2014, 2:44 PM EDT
Biles talks about the bee and what’s next.
Oct 15, 2014, 12:10 PM EDT
Erik Nieman, 15, flew from Arkansas to Charlotte for a special training session.
Oct 15, 2014, 10:12 AM EDT
U.S. champion makes her Grand Prix season debut at Skate America next week.
Oct 14, 2014, 1:06 PM EDT
Zoeggeler made history with his sixth medal in Sochi.
Oct 14, 2014, 12:56 PM EDT
Olympic champions won’t consider competitive future until the spring.
Oct 14, 2014, 10:56 AM EDT
Canadian Olympic goalie returns to Columbus Cottonmouths. Season starts Oct. 24.
Oct 14, 2014, 10:26 AM EDT
Lightning coach: “If [my daughters] look at this and are like, ‘You know what, I’d love to play hockey,’ then it’s paying off.”
Oct 14, 2014, 9:46 AM EDT
Three-time Olympian needed ankle surgery, according to the AP.
Oct 14, 2014, 9:24 AM EDT
Gebrselassie continues to become more confident that barrier will be broken.
Oct 14, 2014, 8:59 AM EDT
A fourth Olympics is a possibility for the eight-time Winter X Games champion.
Oct 14, 2014, 8:31 AM EDT
First Japanese man to win Olympic medal, World Championship.
Oct 13, 2014, 4:59 PM EDT
Four-time U.S. champion went back on retirement plans with specific goal in mind.
- Aksel Lund Svindal injured playing soccer, likely out most of season 0
- Justin Gatlin not among IAAF Athlete of the Year award finalists 0
- Noelle Pikus-Pace: I already miss skeleton, but happily retired 0
- Simone Biles still buzzing after World Championships whirlwind 0
- Gracie Gold calls audible, adds lyrics for post-Olympic season 0
- Meryl Davis, Charlie White look to uncertain future in ice dancing 0
- U.S. women’s volleyball wins breakthrough World Championship (video) 0
- Emotional Bode Miller medals in race that mattered most (61)
- Russian women kissing after relay victory at World Championships causes stir (60)
- IOC drops wrestling from 2020 Olympics (47)
- South Korea filing official complaint over Yuna Kim’s Olympic silver (39)
- Zola Budd, 47, dominates college runners in 5K (33)