With Russia officially banned from the Olympics but not it's athletes, get used to hearing this: The Olympic Athletes From Russia. That's the official title given to any of the clean Russian athletes.
With that in mind, the hockey athletes from Russia were named today. Fifteen of the twenty five roster spots were given to players from the KHL team SKA St. Petersburg. The Russians made sure the bulk of their Olympic team has played together much of this season. While every other nation throws together teams just before the Olympics, the Russians have been building chemistry and strategy for months now.
Furthermore, SKA St. Petersburg's coach, Oleg Znorak, just happens to be the national team. Not surprisingly St. Petersburg is the defending KHL champion and leading the league so far this season.
Further yet, the rest of the team is comprised of eight members of CSKA Moscow, the KHL's second best team, and two from Metallurg Magnitogorsk.
And, unless there is a surprise addition on the first day of the Olympics, no there is no number eight from the Washington Capitals. Some people are still hoping against hope that that happens.
The Russians should be the tournament favorites. Slava Voynov on defense. Pavel Datsyuk and Ilya Kovalchuk up front.
I'm a little surprised Nikita Tryamkin is not on the roster. Sources told me that the giant defenseman was having a break through season in the KHL this year.
They will be playing with a neutral jersey and a neutral flag. But the odds suggest they will win the gold medal. Then we will get to hear what their neutral anthem sounds like.