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Russian trio top NHL list

Three Russian stars led the way as the NHL’s list of top wingers was revealed

Russian stars Alexander Ovechkin, Nikita Kucherov, and Kirill Kaprizov have topped the charts as analysts and producers at the NHL Network listed their current top 20 wingers in the league.

The North American network posted the rundown on Sunday as part of its series profiling the league ahead of the 2022/23 season.

Coming in at number one was Washington Capitals veteran Ovechkin, 36, who continues his pursuit of the all-time NHL scoring record and registered 50 goals last season for the ninth time.

The Russian is currently second on the NHL all-time list of scorers with 780 goals – behind only Gordie Howe (801) and the great Wayne Gretzky (894).

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‘The Great 8’: Alexander Ovechkin. © Nick Wass / Associated Press
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NHL Network analyst Stu Grimson said the ‘The Great Eight’ continues to stand out for his resilience and relentless drive.  

“His durability, the way he plays, the brutal pounding he puts on his body year after year after year. That should take a toll. It’s a testament to him as an athlete and the way he looks after himself that he’s been able to be that durable over time,” said Grimson.

“But then, number two, and this maybe goes more towards the results that we’ve seen, the heart that ticks inside this guy that drives him to do what he does night after night after night. It’s a combination of those two components that make him great,” he added.

Rated at number two was Tampa Bay Lightning’s Russian winger Nikita Kucherov, who fell just short with his team’s bid for a ‘threepeat’ of Stanley Cup titles last season as they lost their final series against the Colorado Avalanche.

Kucherov, 29, remains a key component of the Bolts and was the NHL’s Hart Trophy winner for league MVP in 2018/19.

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Nikita Kucherov was among the heroes for Tampa Bay. © AP / Chris O'Meara
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Grimson described Kucherov as bringing “a lot of emotion and a lot of passion to the game” – traits which “rub off on the rest of the group.”

“But just in terms of the skillset and the contribution, I think he’s one of the most cerebral players in the game today,” added the analyst.

Listed number three was Minnesota Wild winger Kaprizov, 25.

Headlines have swirled around Kaprizov this summer after there were concerns that he might not make it back to the US from Russia amid claims he was caught up in a fake military ID scandal in his homeland.

However, those fears did not materialize and the 2020/21 Calder Trophy winner for the NHL’s best rookie talent has now rejoined the Minnesota camp.

NHL Network analyst Mike Rupp said Kaprizov had strong claims to be number one on the list.

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Kaprizov is set to rejoin his Minnesota teammates. © Harry How / Getty Images
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“The thing about him that separates him from some of these other guys on the list is the way he dogs the puck,” Rupp was quoted as saying.

“If you take the puck away from Kirill, he is all over you. He’ll fight, he’ll do everything he can to get it back. His play away from the puck is light years beyond his age.”

Elsewhere on the list, Russia’s Artemi Panarin of the New York Rangers was included at number eight after the 30-year-old helped his team to the Eastern Conference Finals last season.

The 2022/23 NHL regular season is set to get underway on October 7 with the first of two games in Prague, Czech Republic.   

https://ift.tt/2vl83bi 22, 2022 at 06:10PM
from RT – Daily news

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