Russia always has a strong team in competitions and this one is no exception. The team is captained by all star Alexander Ovechkin and his Washington team mates, Orlov and Kuznetsov will be playing alongside him. At 23, Kuznetsov is beginning to light up the NHL with his dazzling skill set so this will be a chance to prove himself on the national team and to link up with Ovi to push Russia beyond exceptions. In Sochi, the team had a somewhat underwhelming performance, playing as a group of individuals rather than a cohesive team therefore they will be eager to prove themselves. Having Panarin and Anisimov of the Chicago Blackhawks will be a big benefit to the team as this duo (alongside Patrick Kane) had an exceptional season.
Their goal tending is pretty solid with the options of Bobrovsky, Varlamov, or Vasilevskiy, and their forwards have a great deal of offensive power. Team Russia boasts Tarasenko, Malkin, and the magic man Pavel Datsyuk who has recently returned to his home nation leaving Detroit behind him. Datsyuk is 38 now, but still one of the best play makers who will be sorely missed in north America, so this is his last chance to wow the crowd in Canada.
Montreal’s Markov and Emelin will provide strong support in defence. Emelin often sacrifices his body to block shots, which is an asset for Russia, but it might leave Therrien sweating. At 36, Markov hasn’t shown too many signs of slowing down yet; he has suffered a few set-backs through injuries but remains a great playmaker on the power play.
Notably absent from the team are Ilya Kovalchuk and Val Nichushkin. Kovalchuk has had his time with the national team (though he is still a good player), but really at 24 Nichushkin ought to be breaking into the team and demonstrating his worth.
They’re not expected to win this tournament but could provide some upsets. They share a group with Sweden, Finland, and North America, so should at least pull a win against Sweden.