Former San Jose Shark heavyweight Andrei Nazarov was recently in the states on an East-Coast scouting trip on behalf of Team Russia. In addition to his regular gig as head coach of Traktor Chelyabinsk of the KHL, Andrei is also a coach for Team Russia, which is gearing up for the IIHF World Championship in May. Andrei's job was to scout out which Russian NHL players had the potential for playing for Team Russia in the World Championship.
Upon returning to Chelyabinsk, Sport-Express caught up with him to get his impressions of the NHL teams he saw. While in the states he visited New York, Newark, Raleigh, Pittsburgh and Washington, and had the following to say when asked about the chances of any Russian Caps players making it to the World Championship: (for additional reading, "Fear The Fin", our SBNation counterpart for the San Jose Sharks, recently ran a nifty little "Where are they now" article on the former акула).
-You ended your trip in Washington.
"Now there is where they play some Russian hockey! Washington came alive during the second half of the season, when the Ovechkin-Backstrom-Semin line basically never left the ice. The guys were having fun, and there isn't another line as brilliant as them in the NHL today! I don't know how opponents in the playoffs can contain that line."
-So the Team Russia coaches aren't really counting on any Russian players in Washington since they're going to go really deep into the playoffs?
"Washington's offense is incomparable. But nevertheless I think we have our guy on the team who can help out. (smiles)"
-Don't keep it a secret-who is this guy?
"With all due respect to my former San Jose teammate and current Washington goaltending coach, I would tell Arturs Irbe that his protégé Jose Theodore is capable of helping out Team Russian."
-So Theodore is a weak goaltender?
"I'm sorry, but I've really said more than I should have."
-Is Semyon Varlamov stronger than Theodor?
"Varlamov is the goaltender of the future for Team Russia. The second season for a young player is always the most difficult, but Semyon has coped exceedingly well with all of the difficulties."