International Ice Hockey Federation

The other two

The other two

Ovi isn't the only winner joining Russia

Published 12.05.2016 15:09 GMT+3 | Author Andy Potts
The other two
Yevgeni Kuznetsov listens to the national anthem after a win at the 2014 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship. Photo: Andre Ringuette / HHOF-IIHF Images
Orlov and Kuznetsov may not have the same headline-grabbing profile as Ovechkin, but Russia's other new recruits are no strangers to international glory.

The arrival of Alexander Ovechkin, the poster boy of Russian hockey, has overshadowed two of his Washington Capitals' team-mates joining him on the way to Moscow.

But for all Ovi's achievements in the colours of team Russia, Yevgeni Kuznetsov and Dmitri Orlov share a golden record in tournament play for their homeland, joining tournament-winning rosters in 2011 and 2014.

Junior comebacks

The pair came together in 2011 for the World Juniors in Buffalo. In a tournament characterised by Russian resilience, Valeri Bragin's team flirted with elimination more than once. Indifferent form in the group stage set up a win-or-bust showdown with the Czechs: the winner advanced to the QF with the loser facing the indignity of a relegation round. The Czechs scored early, but Orlov came up with the equalizer on a third-minute power play and Russia, at last was rolling. Kuznetsov made it 2-1 and by the first intermission Bragin's team was in control at 4-1. Kuznetsov finished with 1+3, Orlov posted 1+2 and Russia's 8-3 win emphatically prolonged the campaign.

Into the quarters, and Russia trailled 3-1 in the third against Finland. Kuznetsov came to the rescue. A goal on 56:19 gave the team hope; his assist for Maxim Kitsyn tied the game in the 59th and - as if scripted - the young Chelyabinsk star snatched the overtime winner.

Another late equalizer, this time on an Orlov assist for Sergei Kalinin, salvaged a 3-3 tie with Sweden in the semi and a shoot-out win set up a clash with Canada. And, once again, it took a big fightback to take the gold.

With the Maple Leafs leading 3-0 at the end of the second, the fat lady was clearing her throat for a rousing rendition of 'O, Canada' when Kuznetsov began pulling the strings. Three assists from the Traktor man plowed through Canadian hopes; Russia shot home five unanswered goals and the cup was won. Kuznetsov and Orlov both made the team of the tournament and both featured in the top 10 point scorers. The forward shared second spot with Vladimir Tarasenko after producing 4+7, while Orlov's 1+7=8 was the second best return from a D-man in the competition.

Senior cameos

The pair next came together on a team Russia roster in 2014 when Oleg Znarok called them into his first World Championship campaign in Minsk.

Once again it was a run that ended in gold, although this time neither player made such a dramatic contribution. Orlov's tournament ended early after he picked up an injury in the second period of Russia's third game. Kuznetsov remained on the roster throughout the competition, playing a supporting role as Viktor Tikhonov, Danis Zaripov and Sergei Plotnikov dominated the scoring.

Hockey hotbeds

Orlov's arrival also sets up an impressive treble for Metallurg Novokuznetsk. The Siberian team languishes among the outsiders in the KHL, where it has yet to make the play-offs in the league's current format, but boasts a formidable record of generating young talent. Orlov joins goaltending duo Sergei Bobrovski and Ilya Sorokin, two other Metallurg graduates on Znarok's roster, proving once again that the coalfields of the Kuzbas are a rich seam of sporting talent.

And in Chelyabinsk, the Traktor organization is celebrating a similar achievment as its graduate Kuznetsov joins Anton Belov and Vyacheslav Voinov from the Ural city.

 

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