Off the Radar: Ice’s Valiev making most of second NHL Draft chance

by Chris Roberts
on

Rinat Valiev - Russia - 2013 Subway Super Series

Photo: Kootenay Ice defenseman and 2014 prospect Rinat Valiev competed for Russia in the 2013 Subway Super Series, posting no points and an even plus/minus rating in his two games vs. the WHL squad (courtesy of Derek Leung/Getty Images)

As well as acting as the hub for the Kootenay Ice, Cranbrook, BC is widely regarded for its rich railway history which dates back to the turn of the twentieth century. So it’s almost poetic that Rinat Valiev landed there in an effort to get a potential NHL career back on track.

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Sting’s Goldobin setting lofty goals for himself

by Jason Menard
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Nikolay Goldobin - Sarnia Sting

Photo: Sarnia Sting forward and 2014 prospect Nikolay Goldobin is the Sting’s leading scorer this season with 81 points, a point total that ties him for fifth overall in the OHL (courtesy of Terry Wilson/OHL Images)

For most draft-eligible players, receiving a first-round grade and spot in the top 15 would be cause for celebration. But most players aren’t Sarnia Sting forward Nikolay Goldobin, a player who has set some lofty goals for himself.

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Uncertainty surrounds small crop of Russian defensive prospects in KHL

by Alessandro Seren Rosso
on

Rushan Rafikov - Team Russia

Photo: Lokomotiv Yaroslavl defenseman and Calgary Flames prospect Rushan Rafikov took part in the Subway Super Series with Team Russia and was a late cut from Russia’s 2014 World Junior squad (courtesy of Derek Leung/Getty Images)

In spite of producing great defensemen like Sergei Gonchar, Vyacheslav Fetisov, and Sergei Zubov, Russia has a better reputation for developing forwards. This is well reflected in the NHL prospect situation in the KHL, where there are a number of intriguing offensive prospects, but only a few defenders with solid NHL potential.

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2014 WJC Review: Russia cops second straight bronze medal

by Alessandro Seren Rosso
on

Pavel Buchnevich - Team Russia

Photo: Team Russia forward Pavel Buchnevich celebrates his clinching goal in the 2014 WJC quarterfinal match vs. Team USA, a game won by the Russians, 5-3 (courtesy of ANDREAS HILLERGREN/AFP/Getty Images)

For the second year in a row, Team Russia came back home from the World Junior Championship with a bronze medal, once again beating Canada to earn that medal. If this can’t be considered a disaster, it cannot be considered a great success, either.

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2014 WJC Video: Mikhail Grigorenko, Russia

by Chapin Landvogt
on

Nikita Zadorov and Mikhail Grigorenko - Team Russia

Photo: Russian players Nikita Zadorov (L) and Mikhail Grigorenko (R) celebrate Grigorenko’s goal, the first one for Russia in their 2-1 win over Canada in the bronze medal game at the 2014 World Junior Championship (courtesy of LUDVIG THUNMAN / TT/AFP/Getty Images)

For the fourth straight year, Russia earned a medal at the 2014 World Junior Championship. And, for the third time in those four years, Canada was on the losing side of that equation as Russia won the bronze medal game at this year's event, 2-1. With both countries entering the tournament  with elevated expectations, playing for bronze is not something they planned on doing. But, with other countries showing improvement in their hockey programs, it may well be the new normal for these two hockey powers.

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