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Head coach: Russian hockey players’ departure to NHL poses serious problem

June 09, 2015, 15:56 UTC+3 MOSCOW

Ten players who have departed were those whom Russia was counting on for the participation in the 2016 World Championship, Oleg Znarok, the head coach of the national team, says

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© Valery Sharifulin/TASS

MOSCOW, June 9. /TASS/. Departure of talented Russian ice hockey players to the US National Hockey League (NHL) poses a problem for the formation of the national squad for the next year’s IIHF World Championship in Russia, Oleg Znarok, the head coach of the national team, said on Tuesday.

"The departure of about ten players at once to the NHL is a very serious problem for us," Znarok told journalists. "We are now facing the issue of whom we will be inviting to the national team for the participation in the 2016 World Championship, to be held in Russia."

"Those who have departed were the players we have been counting on," Znarok added.

Following the end of the current season a number of the most possible candidates for the national team have already signed or are about to sign contracts with NHL clubs. Among them are such players from this year’s national team as defenceman Yevgeny Medvedev and forwards Artemy Panarin, Sergey Plotnikov, Anton Slepyshev and Sergey Kalinin.

Russia handed over its champions title at this year’s IIHF World Championship in the Czech Republic to Canada after the crushing defeat 1-6 to the Canadians in the final match in Prague last month.

The 2010 and 2014 Olympic Champions Canada were indeed hungry for the world champion’s title, which they last held in 2007, and barraged into the final match against the reigning world champions Russia in a crushing winning spree boasting a record of 60-15 (goals scored and goals missed).

On the whole, the Canadians weighty 6-1 win is also proved by the statistics, which shows that the reigning Olympic champions outshot the Russian squad in the final match by the whopping 37-12 margin.

Russian squad’s Head Coach Oleg Znarok, who led the team to the world championship’s title last year in Belarus, praised his team’s game during the final match in Prague saying the players kept fighting team Canada until the very last minute.

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