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Olympics » Igor Zakharkin: “Evgeny Nabokov should be the Olympics’ starter”

Igor Zakharkin:

Igor Zakharkin: “Evgeny Nabokov should be the Olympics’ starter” (Photo © Associated Press)

In this interview with Sovietskiy Sport, Team Russia’s assistant coach Igor Zakharkin stated that Evgeny Nabokov will most likely be the starting goalkeeper in Vancouver. He also indicated that they plan to reunite the famous ZZM (Zaripov, Zinoviev, Morozov) line.

– Did you have talks with Evgeny Nabokov and Ilya Bryzgalov? Did you talk with Evgeny Nabokov and Ilya Bryzgalov? Who of them will have to be a backup goalie and resign himself to this decision?
– There can’t be two first goalies in a game and there is no doubt that Evgeny Nabokov should be the starter. He’s a great goalkeeper with undeniable qualities. He excellently commands the defense. He’s a player with a winning soul who can turn up the team’s spirit. All this makes in my sight Evgeny Nabokov a first goalie.

– According to which principle will you form the team’s roster? 13+7 or four regular lines?
– Now we are more inclined towards the second variant. The Olympic tournament’s peculiarity is its shortness. It’s only six matches. And we could always play with less quality forwards. Do you remember the 2009 WC in Bern, when we played almost all the games with 11 forwards? Sometimes even 10.

– Ovechkin and Kovalchuk are ready to play half match. This is an usual practice in the NHL.
– Exactly. Kovalchuk in 2009 WC in Bern played 25 to 30 minutes a night.

– And as a result they were among the tournaments’ most valuable players. And what can you say about the possibile line Ovechkin – Datsyuk – Semin and the Kazan unit made up of Zaripov, Tereschenko and Morozov?
– We consider many variants. All of them have their pluses and minuses. Datsyuk is an universal player, able to play in any unit. But it’s important to talk not about the lines, but about the way the team plays.

– But I won’t go ahead, it was just playing with names. Why won’t you reunite the ZZM line? I think that Zinoviev will be ready to play with Morozov and Zaripov.
– If we’ll see that Malkin is good and will arise the necessity to strengthen the Semin – Ovechkin combo, then we’ll put them in one line. And on the other way around, if Kovalchuk and Afinogenov will need help, then Zinoviev will play between them.

– Which combination will you test in the First Channel Cup?
– We want to see how Fedorov interacts with Kozlov. And once again Radulov will play with Saprykin. And why not reunite Zinoviev with Zaripov and Morozov? We’ll try, but this is all theory, you’ll see the practice halfway through December in the Khodynka.

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