Nineteen-year-old Andrey Pedan is among those Russians who preferred venturing in the Canadian junior leagues system, rather than going for the usual route for European players; playing junior hockey back home then signing a contract directly with their draft team several years later. "My agent Alexei Dementiev advised me to go and play in the OHL, and this is what I did as I completely trust him. I think it was a good decision, I already adapted to the small ice surface last year and this year I further improved my game", Pedan said in Russian.
Russian forward Mikhail Grigorenko nearly had his first Under-20 WJC appearance cut short by an ankle injury. But Grigorenko, a top prospect for the 2012 NHL Draft, has overcome that injury and is poised to help Russia defend their 2011 WJC title in the 2012 gold medal game against Sweden.
Grigorenko talked about the win over Canada and about playing Sweden in the final.
Russian defenseman Grigori Zheldakov was somewhat of an unlikely hero for Russia at the 2012 World Junior Championship. But Zheldakov has scored the biggest goal for that team so far in the tournament, as his blast from the slot gave the Russian a 2-1 overtime win over the Czech Republic in the quarter-finals and a rematch with Canada.
Zheldakov talked about his goal following the win.
Russian head coach Valeri Bragin has been handed an almost entirely new team for the 2012 World Junior Championship after winning gold in 2011. He has so far managed to guide this young squad toward another medal but will face his toughest test in the semi-final match against the team Russia beat for gold last year, Canada.
Bragin talked about his team’s overtime win over the Czech Republic and the game against Canada.
Russian scorer Yevgeni Kuznetsov was the undisputed star of Russia‘s last outing at the 2012 World Junior Championship, a game in which he posted a nine-point night. But in Russia’s New year’s Eve showdown with Sweden, Kuznetsov was held pointless as he and his teammates fell to the Swedes in overtime, 4-3.
Kuznetsov met with the media following the loss to Sweden.