U20 WJC 2002 Team Russia Player Review

By Eugene Belashchenko



PART II: Forwards

By: Eugene Belashchenko (Special thanks to Robert Neuhauser and a Finnish
observer for their assistance on preparing this article.)




1st line: Stanislav Chistov- Aleksander Svitov - Yuri Troubachev  
2nd line: Igor Grigorenko - Andrei Taratukhin - Aleksander Perezhogin 
3rd line: Alexander Frolov - Ivan Nepriaev - Alexander Polushin
4th line: Alexander Suglobov - Sergei Soin - Ruslan Zainulin


1st line:
Stanislav Chistov- Juri Troubachev - Igor Grigorenko

2nd line:
Alexander Frolov - Ivan Nepriaev - Alexander Polushin 

3rd line: Alexander Suglobov - Andrei Taratukhin -Sergei Soin

4th line: Alexander Suglobov - Sergei Soin - Ruslan Zainulin 


1st line:
Stanislav Chistov- Yuri Troubachev - Igor Grigorenko

2nd line:
Alexander Frolov - Ivan Nepriaev - Alexander Polushin 

3rd line:
Sergei Soin -
Alexander Svitov - Andrei Taratukhin

4th line: Alexander Suglobov - Sergei Soin - Ruslan Zainulin 


Right Wing

Games: 7  G:2
A:3 Pts:5 PIM:6 +/-: +6 (6-0)


Polushin was Russia’s best two way forward.  Alexander played wing on the line
with Ivan Nepriayev at center and Alexander Frolov on the on the left wing.  The
three players formed Team Russia’s third line in the round robin, but the line
was clearly Russia’s best and was promoted to second in the playoffs.  Alexander
was one of Team Russia’s most consistent players.  He gave all he had each time
he stepped on the ice.  Alexander was very responsible defensively.  He did not
hesitate to work for the puck in the corners and boards.  He was the only
forwards to not have the unpleasant experience of being on the ice when the
other team scored.  Offensively, Alexander does not hesitate to drive towards
the net.  He has solid individual skills, but his physical tenacity and drive
usually earned him his points.  



Left Wing

Games: 7  G:6
A:2 Pts:8 PIM:4 +/-: +5 (6-1)

Alexander Frolov
was Russia’s offensive powerhouse.  After not fairing well at the Four Nations
Tournament, Alexander returned with a vengeance.  He showed impressive balance
between physical toughness, skill and size.  Alexander showed the reason why he
is one of the top scorers in the Super League this season.   He handled the puck
well and showed off his great shot.   According to one of the observers from the
tournament, Alexander’s most effective shooting spot was the slot.  Alexander
Frolov lead the Russian team in scoring and was named to the tournament’s second
all star team. 



Left Wing

Games: 7  G:4
A:4 Pts:8 PIM:0 +/-: +2 (6-4)


Chistov showed no rust from the ordeal he endured since being forcefully drafted
into the army.  Stanislav was Russia’s most skilled forward.  He showed off he
renowned ability to set up line mates as well as his ability to score.  His
shot, though not as hard as Volchenkov’s, was extremely accurate.   Chistov
showed great mobility with speed and excellent puckhandling.  His hockey sense
is very mature for a player his age.  Stanislav sees the ice well and set up his
line mates on numerous scoring chances.  The only negative aspect of his game
that arose from the WJC was his hesitation to play physical hockey.  According
to observers from the tournament, he did not fight for the puck in the corners
or along the boards.   While he did have a sizable force on his line for that in
Alexander Svitov, a concern still exists regarding his ability to play well a
physical environment. 





Games: 7  G:2
A:4 Pts:6 PIM:4 +/-: +1 (6-5)


Yuri Trubachev
did not start the tournament well.  In the beginning of the tournament he was
completely miscast by Plyuschev in the grinding winger role. Once playing center
again, Yuri’s intensity reached a new high and he was all over the ice.  Yuri
showed impressive passing skills and was one of Russia’s best centers.  His
skating and speed were great. Defensively, Yuri played excellent two way
hockey.  One observer believed he Russia’s best center. 



Right Wing

Games: 7  G:1
A:2 Pts:3 PIM:4 +/-: +1 (5-4)


Igor Grigorenko
had a solid first showing at the U20 WJC.  He started the tournament on the top
line with Alexander Perezhogin and Andrei Taratukhin, but was promoted to the
top line for the playoffs when his line disintegrated with Taratukhin
underachieving and Perezhogin suffering an injury.  He showed huge offensive
potential and showcased his impressive skating and puckhandling skills.   He
created plenty of scoring chances for himself – his 18 shots were the most on
the team.  However, all except one did not reach their intended target.  Igor’s
shot needs work; it was not well aimed well and was often lacked power.
Defensively, Igor was not a liability, but more of a non factor.




Games: 7  G:0
A:2 Pts:2 PIM:14 +/-: +4 (5-1)


Ivan Nepriayev
played on Russia’s most stable line along with Alexander Frolov and Alexander
Polushin on his wings.  He is a natural center and showcased his excellent
passing skills.  He did not score a single goal in the tournament, despite
having several great chances.  According to an observer from the tournament, as
a result of his lack of production, it appeared that Ivan was a bit frustrated
and took a couple of questionable penalties.  Ivan was Russia’s second best
center of the tournament.



Right Wing

Games: 6  G:1
A:0 Pts:1 PIM:4 +/-: +1 (2-1)


For a player who
has been commented by some to have super skills and little hockey sense,
Alexander had an impressive tournament, considering the expectations.  He
started the tournament on the fourth line with Ruslan Zainullin and Sergei Soin. 
He used his size well, skated well and displayed solid defensively. Alexander
also showed an precise wrist shot. He did not use his line mates enough, but his
hockey sense has developed well since the draft year.  During the playoffs he
was promoted to Russia’s third line and played along side of Andrei Taratukhin,
while Sergei Soin was moved to the wing, his natural position.  Alexander showed
a lot of potential and should have gotten more ice time. 



Sergei SOIN:

Center/Left Wing

Games: 7  G:2
A:0 Pts:2 PIM:0 +/-: -1 (2-3)


Sergei Soin
showed great physical ability and talent.  However, while he showed his skating
and puck handling, he also continued to show his inability to share.  He started
the tournament on the fourth line, but was then moved to the third line for the
playoffs. He first played center and proved able, but not natural in that role. 
Once moved to the wing, his game improved.  He has a solid shot, but did not use
it enough in the tournament.  According to an observer, Sergei also needs to
play better defensively and become more aggressive, though he tried hard in the
“grinder” role.  Alexander had an average tournament and it remains to be seen
if he can learn to be a team player. 




Games: 7  G:0
A:2 Pts:2 PIM:37 +/-: 0 (2-2)


Taratukhin played the entire tournament on Russia’s mobile, defense oriented
third line.  It appears that Andrei may have taken his defensive
responsibilities a bit too seriously.  Though he was intense, Andrei’s careless
penalties were often uncalled for.  According to an observer from the tournament
he often resorted to dirty illegal hits rather then play straight up physical
hockey and as a result incurred some costly penalties.   His potential is
unquestionable, but Andrei’s behavior at the tournament was quite different
compared to what was expected from this highly skilled forward.  Andrei did not
fare well at the tournament and compared to the expectations, he delivered one
of the poorest performances. 




Games: 5  G:2
A:1 Pts:3 PIM:43 +/-: +3 (4-1)


While it
appeared that Stanislav Chistov put his frustration behind him and played one of
the best tournaments of his career, Alexander Svitov was not as fortunate. 
Almost the entire time he was on the ice, Alexander played physical, but often
questionable style of hockey.  Alexander often used his size advantage, but did
not showcase the skill level that made him more then just a big guy.  He did
produce, but is capable of much more.  Alexander started the tournament on the
first line with Stanislav Chistov, but finished on the third line responsible
for physical defensive play.   Alexander Svitov took too me unnecessary
penalties, but represented a physical presence that Russia needed.  He was
suspended for two games due to an incident in the game against Canada.  
Alexander is entering dangerous territory – his skills are not yet sufficiently
developed and he is beginning to increasingly rely on his size, instead of his
talent.  This may carry him through in competition against his peers, or even
the Super League, but will not be enough for the NHL. 



Left Wing

Games: 4  G:0
A:0 Pts:0 PIM:4 +/-: 0 (1-1)


Perezhogin started the tournament on Russia’s second line, but only managed to
play three games before suffering an injury in the fourth game.   He was really
a non factor in most games – lacking any offensive production.  He plummeted in
the team’s depth prior to his injury and received little ice time to improve his
performance.  His overall performance was poor compared to the previous



Right Wing

Games: 4  G:0
A:1 Pts:1 PIM:4 +/-: -1 (1-2)


Ruslan was never expected to
be a big factor at the WJC.  He played the entire tournament on Russia’s fourth
line and did not show anything that merited a promotion.   According to an
observer from the tournament, he had trouble keeping up with the pace of the
game and did not play well defensively.   He has the size and the talent to
develop into a solid two way player, but the tournament made it quite apparent
how far away he is from being NHL ready. Nevertheless, it was an achievement for
Ruslan to make the Russian junior squad ad get some ice time, since he has never
been a consistent member of the Russian National Team.