Russia : Restoration Required

Goaltender ILYA BRYZGALOV (30) of the Phoenix Coyotes as well as Salavat Yulayev Ufa defenseman DMITRI KALININ are two players Russian coach VYACHESLAV BYKOV will count on to help implement a Russian Restoration for ice hockey at the Winter Olympic Games.

Goaltender ILYA BRYZGALOV (30) of the Phoenix Coyotes as well as Salavat Yulayev Ufa defenseman DMITRI KALININ are two players Russian coach VYACHESLAV BYKOV will count on to help implement a Russian Restoration for ice hockey at the Winter Olympic Games.

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The national team of the old Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, if one adds the so-called Unified Team of the 1992 Albertville Games, entered ten ice hockey competitions at the Winter Olympics and won eight of those tournaments.

From 1956 to 1992, the USSR contested 70 ice hockey matches at the Winter Games and won 62 with two draws. The Soviet Union also never failed to medal having collected one silver and one bronze in addition to the eight Olympic gold medals. Players such as goaltender VLADISLAV TRETIAK, defenseman ALEXANDER RAGULIN and forward ANATOLI FIRSOV piled up as many as three titles for a career at the Winter Games.

Russia, meanwhile, since their first appearance at the 1994 Lillehammer Games, have never won the Olympic ice hockey championship.

The Russians, who have failed to medal twice at the Olympics, can only show a solitary silver and bronze from their participation at the Winter Games thus far.

Russian coach VYACHESLAV BYKOV, himself a two-time Olympic champion from both the Calgary and Albertville Games, respectively, has certain expectations, however, as do the people of a nation with such a rich tradition of success.

The Russians’ 8-2 victory over Latvia in their Group B opener at Vancouver was a fine start, but there are miles to go before Bykov’s charges can sleep…

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