SOCHI, February 12 (R-Sport) – Dallas Stars forward Valeri Nichushkin and Ak Bars center Alexander Svitov won't be used for Russia's opening game against Slovenia in the Sochi Olympic hockey tournament, the head coach said Wednesday.
The host nation starts its quest for a first Olympic gold medal on Thursday at the 12,000-seater Bolshoy Ice Dome.
“We are likely to play the first game with the lines that we trained with today,” Zinetula Bilyaletdinov said. “We plan that Svitov and Nichushkin won’t play. I think we’ll start with eight defensemen. [Tonight] we’ll decide on the goaltender.”
The 18-year-old Nichushkin is by far the youngest player on Russia’s roster, while Svitov is considered to be a possible replacement for Pavel Datsyuk, who has just recovered from a groin injury and was in doubt for the start of the tournament.
The men’s hockey tournament will be held from February 12 to 23.
Russia’s potential line-up:
Alexander Ovechkin – Evgeni Malkin – Alexander Semin, Slava Voynov – Andrei Markov
Ilya Kovalchuk – Pavel Datsyuk – Alexander Radulov, Nikita Nikitin – Anton Belov
Vladimir Tarasenko – Artem Anisimov – Nikolai Kulemin, Alexei Emelin – Evgeny Medvedev
Alexander Popov – Alexei Tereshchenko – Viktor Tikhonov, Fedor Tyutin – Ilya Nukulin