Team Russia took to the ice for practice earlier this morning and iced a mildly competent line of Alex Ovechkin, Evgeni Malkin and Alexander Semin. And by mildly competent, we mean deadly. For now it appears that the host nation is resisting the urge to place Pavel Datsyuk alongside Malkin and Ovechkin during five-on-five play.
@mfinewaxhockey Pavel Datsjuk practiced today and here are line combinations for team Russia: Ovechkin-Malkin-Semin Belov-Nikitin.
— Antti Mäkinen (@sirmakinen) February 11, 2014
Russia couldn’t possibly neglect the trio of Datsyuk, Malkin and Ovechkin during power play practice though.
Russia practicing…up front on pp, Malkin,Datsyuk, Ovechkin. Yikes.
— Steve Goldstein (@goldieonice) February 11, 2014
Professional goaltenders are long beyond the point of being scared of anything that’s coming at them. If anything can recreate those initial bouts with fear that comes with strapping pads to your legs before standing in front of pucks, this power play unit is it.
The three of them have posted more than 300 power play points combined while playing in the NHL—Ovechkin leads the charge with a whopping 142 points with the extra man—and all three players are capable of finishing chances or setting them up. The scenario of Ovechkin sitting in his patented spot, Malkin causing havoc in front of the net and Datsyuk creating space in the slot with his passing and skating doesn’t bode well for the competition.
Russia will need everything it can get out of its forwards because the defense isn’t particularly sound. If this first line is any indication, there should be plenty of goals happening for the team.