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 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 forward Nail Yakupov is considered a top prospect for the 2012 NHL Draft. He’s had a good showing so far at the 2012 World Junior Championship, picking up five assists in the four preliminary round games. One of those assists came in Russia‘s 4-3 overtime loss to Sweden, which sends the Russians to the quarter-finals against the Czech Republic.
Yakupov talked about the loss to Sweden following the game.
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.
There has been a good deal of turnover from last year’s Russian gold medal squad to the 2012 WJC edition. One of those new faces is that of Alexander Khokhlachev, the Boston Bruins prospect currently plying his trade in the OHL. Khokhlachev has impressed so far with his play at this World Junior Championship, and now it appears that the rest of the team is peaking along with Khokhlachev at just the right time.
Khokhlachev spoke with the media following his team’s 14-0 defeat of Latvia, a game in which the Russian forward scored two goals. Read more»