The institute of experts has almost outlived its usefulness in Russia lately. Well-known hockey players in the past are either afraid to speak out, or they say only what they were told from above in the form of a training manual. Original thoughts cannot be found during the day with anger. Do not count as such attacks of Alexander Kozhevnikov towards Bob Hartley.
Against this sterile background, every unconventional statement resembles a tsunami. So the children’s coach of Nikita Kucherov, Gennady Kurdin, issued such a resonant thesis that he still does not fit in his head. Here is a piece of his interview with colleagues from Sport Express.
– What do you expect from Nikita (Kucherov – approx. Sport24) at the Olympics?
– Much depends on the team spirit. He will play, but in this team he will not be the undisputed leader, as in Tampa. Because Alexander Ovechkin and Evgeny Malkin will be there. It is probably wrong to say so on my part, but if I were a coach, I would not have taken either Ovechkin or Malkin.
– Even so?
– Yes. They will play a lot, but we must admit that their time has passed. Now the younger ones are winning. I do not want to say this to them in offense – I respect them, and they are definitely worthy of being called up to the national team. But for this to happen, there must be a coach like Tarasov or Tikhonov, who at one time did not take Kharlamov, and the USSR national team then won the Canada Cup for the first and only time.
At first glance, this sounds like madness. Ovechkin and Malkin are two legends. Acting superstars. How can you not take them to the main tournament of the fourth year? Some will see age-related changes in Kurdin’s words, while others will see the patronage of their pupils. Ovechkin and Malkin will not be in China, no one will take away time from Kucherov in the majority. And there, you see, and there is a place in the composition for Gusev.
Taking Kurdin’s words seriously is really tricky. He is an ambiguous person as a coach. For every Kucherov, Gusev or Ozhiganov, he has a ward with an undermined psyche. The harsh methods of this specialist have already cost him his job at the Avangard Academy. And as a speaker, he is completely too odious.
Previously, Kurdin used to get the New Jersey coaches and managers. The latter he called “morons” at all. Of course, because of the problems that Gusev had. “He was inadequate, his roof went off,” – this is how Gennady Gennadyevich walked over Yevgeny Kuznetsov when he was convicted of using cocaine. “Ilya is a great businessman, but he doesn’t have enough hockey already,” – and this is about Kovalchuk. And we still do not take criticism of CSKA and Peteris Skudra, who operated in Nizhny Novgorod, native to Kurdin.
In general, one could pass by Kurdin’s statement. But what if we drop the catchy headline for a second and read into the meaning of what was said by the honored coach of Russia? First of all, he says that Ovechkin and Malkin are indisputable authorities. Which will get their place in the first links and the majority. A priori. No matter how they play. In whatever form we approached the Olympics. Is it correct?
The Russian national team has been dependent on Ovechkin for several years. Not in the sense that she cannot live without him and is helpless when Ovi does not come to the World Cup. Rather, it is a subtype of toxic relationships, when it is both bad and unbearable apart. From year to year Alexander rushes to the next world championship, but when he comes, he often hurts rather than helps. Not even some kind of cut-offs or rash throws. Ovechkin, by his very presence, poses to the coaches the sometimes unsolvable task of “how to fit the best sniper of world hockey into the team’s game.”
It’s a little easier with Malkin. He single-handedly pulled out the 2012 World Cup, and in general, Gino has more successful tournaments for the national team than Ovechkin. Although in Vancouver and Sochi, they failed together. Zhenya’s trouble is that every year the bouquet of his injuries becomes richer, and his influence on the game is getting smaller. So he spends this summer recovering from another operation. And the unprepared Malkin is a time bomb. One has only to remember the 2016 World Cup to understand that one of the best center-forwards on the planet can sometimes be a burden.
Now imagine. Ovechkin, Malkin, Kucherov, Panarin, Whims, Svechnikov, Tarasenko, possibly Dadonov and Radulov. Inevitably, someone will fall into the third link, in which it will be extremely difficult to give more than 13-14 minutes of playing time. And who should be left without a majority? Even if you play four forwards, then someone will be superfluous. And the second special brigade is, as a rule, scraps. And this is not to mention the fact that someone is forced to do not their own business. And then we will be surprised that Kucherov is not as effective as in Tampa. But this will not happen due to the fact that Nikita is not a patriot and gives all the best in games for the club. It’s just that when Ovechkin is alive, no one will fix the game of the whole team on him.
Well, the most accurate words of Kurdin relate to the coaches. Of course, the cut of Malkin with that catastrophic shortage of central strikers is petty tyranny. Although the current Malkin might not have made it to the Canadian national team. But if a real charismatic was at the head of the Russian national team, he could curb the same Ovechkin. Now Alexander the Great is able to suppress any person from the headquarters of the Russian national team with his authority. But is he ready to give in return something that will help win gold or even medals of the Olympic Games? There are big doubts about this.
Since 2018, when Ovechkin finally reached the Stanley Cup, he has only been interested in Gretzky’s record. And at the click of a button, switching from individual goals to team goals is not easy, even for such a great player. Whereas Kucherov wins here and now. He’s on the wave. As they say – in prime. Nikita in the national team should push Ovi into the background, but Ovi in the third or fourth link is Valery Bragin’s nightmare. So it turns out that Kurdin’s seemingly absurd statement gives rise to thinking about how difficult it will be in China to dispose of the wealth that will come to us from the NHL.
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