In homage to Pass it to Bulis’ awesome bandwagoner’s guide to Team Canada’s forwards, we here at Rated Zed decided to attempt to replicate the style in a cheat sheet for Team Russia, the other team that sort of has our allegiance (don’t worry, Canada, you’re still #1 in our hearts).
About: Ilya Kovalchuk is a left-winger who is the captain of KHL team SKA St. Petersburg. Known for his incredible stamina and versatility, he often plays bigger minutes than a top defensive pairing. Also known for his controversial decision to “retire” from the NHL only to play in the KHL, there by screwing over the Devils. Oh, and terrible facial hair.
Nickname(s): Kovy, Kovy2012, He Who Shall Not Be Named (New Jersey Only), Thrillya
My non-existent wife thinks he looks like: Bill Hicks
Expect to hear: “Has Kovalchuk been out there for the entire penalty kill?”
Don’t expect to hear: “I know I’m American and all, but being a Devils fan really makes me want to cheer for Russia if Kovalchuk’s playing”
About: Alex Radulov is a high-scoring right winger for CSKA. He is the KHL’s all-time leader in a bunch of statistical categories, which would be way more impressive if Jagr had spent more than three seasons there. Also, one time, the Nashville Predators lost a playoff game and then he went to a bar afterwards, which apparently makes him the poster boy for how Russians don’t have character. Also, there is this video, which is weirdly way less creepy than the original childhood favourite.
Nickname(s): Sasha, A-Rad, Radu, Animal, The Enigmiest Enigma, the Nashville Predators’ greatest offensive threat
My non-existent wife thinks he looks like: Halfway between Robb Stark and Hodor
Expect to hear: “Radulov scores, and celebrates by sheathing his hockey stick!”
Don’t expect to hear: “I, Don Cherry, am a huge Rattlehoff fan”
About: Ovechkin is a winger (I won’t tell you which one, or else you’d be way more informed than the PHWA and so wouldn’t need this guide) and captain of the Washington Capitals. He is the best pure sniper in hockey today, and sometimes he does stuff like this, and also he hits hard, although his backchecking is occasionally questionable. His primary weapon is his blistering powerplay one-timer.
Nicknames: Alexander the Great, The Great 8, Great great great great great ok i fucking get it already he’s good, Alexander the Grate (when he’s playing goalie)
My non-existent wife thinks he looks like: Cillian Murphy, only about 100% less good-looking
Expect to hear: “And Ovechkin is at the top of the circle, the pass to Ovechkin, and he roofs it!”
Don’t expect to hear: “And Ovechkin is on top of the roof, Ovechkin has some tar, and he roofs with it!”
About: Alex Syomin plays right wing for the Carolina Hurricanes. He was unexpectedly – and inexcusably – left off the original roster, but is in Sochi replacing the injured Sergei Soin (who, rumour has it, ojnly made it originally because the selection team couldn’t resist an English-language pun. “What about Sergei?” asked Bilyaletdinov. “So in!” replied Fyodorov.) He shows frequent flashes of brilliance and is a good possession player, but his production level is often inconsistent.
Nickname(s): Alexander the Pretty Good
My non-existent wife thinks he looks like: Val Kilmer
Expect to hear: “Sometimes he scores, and sometimes he doesn’t. He’s such an enigma!”
Don’t expect to hear: “He’s an encryption machine used by the Nazis in World War II. He’s such an Enigma!”
About: Presumably brought in to provide a veteran presence by a Russian-based player, Popov plays left-wing for Avangard Omsk. Popov has some offensive skill, but he is definitely most known for his commitment to Avangard, his team for his entire career. In one sense this is a great choice, as Avangard is the coolest-named team in hockey, and also it makes him a fan favourite. In another sense, it’s terrible, because it presumably involves living in Omsk.
Nickname(s): Alexander the Adequate
My non-existent wife thinks he looks like: Julia Roberts, if she were a dude
Expect to hear: “Alex Popov skates with the puck!”
Don’t expect to hear: “Alex Popov wins gold in swimming! And invents radio! And wins the Battle of the Dnieper! And studies ketone chemistry! And designs a bunch of buildings! And races cars!”
About: Primarily known for his size, Svitov is a Centre for Salavat Yulaev Ufa. He was an enforcer for several seasons in the AHL and NHL. For a tough guy (fun fact: the Russian word for a hockey enforcer is “teffguy”), Svitov has pretty great offensive ability. But then, so does Chris Stewart, and he ain’t on Team Canada.
Nickname(s): Alexander the Great in size but not so much in hockey ability, Svittles
My non-existent wife thinks he looks like: Chad Kroeger
Expect to hear: “Not a huge surprise, Svitov is in the pressbox again”
Don’t expect to hear: “Not a huge surprise, Svitov is the offensive star of the tournament”
About: I’ll be honest, I know nothing about this guy whatsoever
About: Viktor Tikhonov is a right winger that plays for SKA St. Petersburg. Pretty much the only notable thing about him is that he is the grandson of the great Soviet coach Viktor Tikhonov, with whom he shares his name.
Nickname(s): Viktor Tikhonov the Younger
My non-existent wife thinks he looks like: Erik Karlsson’s less good-looking brother
Expect to hear: “Did you know Viktor Tikhonov is the grandson of the greatest coach in Soviet hockey history?”
Don’t expect to hear: Anything else about Viktor Tikhonov
About: Evgeni Malkin is a centre for the Pittsburgh Penguins, and one of the NHL’s premier playmakers. However, he also has the size to occasionally be a net-front presence and is a scoring threat, as accentuated by his world famous quote. Although frequently plagued by injury problems, when healthy he is a formidable player. He also makes a formidable mayo-on-egg.
Nickname(s): Geno, Uncle Geno, The Malkin-tent
My non-existent wife thinks he looks like: a young Lurch
Expect to hear: “Malkin’s passing ability really sets him apart”
Don’t expect to hear: “Malkin’s passability really sets him apart from the other transgendered players at these games”
About: Known for being incredibly difficult to strip off the puck, by reporters and NHLers alike, Datsyuk is a centre who plays for the Detroit Red Wings. He has developed a legendary reputation for wizardry that is earned, and has won the NHL’s Selke (best defensive forward) and Lady Bing (clean play) trophies, being one of only two players in history to win both.
Nickname(s): Dats, the Wizard, the Magician, the Warlock, King of Keepaway
My non-existent wife thinks he looks like: a guitar pick
Expect to hear: “Datsyuk sure is strong on the puck”
Don’t expect to hear: “Datsyuk sure is strong with the right hook”
About: Kulyomin is a winger for the Toronto Maple Leafs. After a 30 goal season a few years back, he has more recently been used in a more defensive role. Of course, being outshot as they always are, every Toronto Maple Leaf is being used in a defensive role in the sense that they’re in the defensive zone. Don Cherry is not a fan of Kulyomin because “he doesn’t fight, doesn’t hit and doesn’t score”. While normally Cherry’s ire would indicate a player is actually really excellent, in Kulyomin’s case that’s not true.
Nickname(s): Kulie, Nikolai Klue-me-in, Don Cherry’s #1 Pal
My non-existent wife thinks he looks like: John Elway
Expect to hear: KOOL-eh-min
Don’t expect to hear: koo-LYO-min, unless you’re listening to the Russian feed.
About: Anisimov is a centre for the NHL’s Columbus Blue Jackets. Known for his versatility, decent size and his usually dependable backchecking, he is probably going to get some penalty killing time, but not be Russia’s biggest offensive threat on the ice.
Nickname(s): Arty-Party, Arty-Farty, Arty-Lange, that guy who’s not named Alex but you think he is
My non-existent wife thinks he looks like: Dzokhar Tsarnaev
Expect to hear: “Artem Anisimov along the boards…”
Don’t expect to hear: “I bet Team Canada wishes they could trade Rick Nash for Artem Anisimov”
About: Valeri Nichushkin is a rookie right winger who plays on the Dallas Stars’ first line. Just 18, Nichushkin is the youngest member of Team Russia by over four years. Although this means he might fall prey to the dreaded traditions of dedovschina, Russia will look to him as harbinger of a bright hockey future. Since his name rhymes with Pushkin, he is also sure to be a sentimental favourite of the Russian intelligentsia.
Nickname(s): Nuke, Duke Nukem, Val, -eri Ni-, Chushkin,
My non-existent wife thinks he looks like: this guy Travis that I used to work with. I have no idea why my non-existent wife knows who that is, since that was a while ago.
Expect to hear: “Valeri Nichushkin is going to be Russia’s star of the future”
Don’t expect to hear: “Valeri Nichushkin is going to be Russia’s star of the future, but at present he is just a dilute stellar nebula”
About: Vladimir Tarasenko is a right wing for the St. Louis Blues. Skilled, speedy, and an excellent possession player, he entered the league last year, and started off impressing with pretty goals, before falling off somewhat toward the latter part of the season.
Nickname(s): The Tank
My non-existent wife thinks he looks like: Brian Jones
Expect to hear: “That was a nifty move by Tarasenko”
Don’t expect to hear: “That was a nifty move by Tarasenko, owner of my favourite moving company”