Juniors left for Canada: - Korsunov, + Ezhov
Animosity in the air between Zherdev and Ishmatov

DEC.22 (RHI) -- This morning Russian National U-20 team left Moscow for Canada. Last night head coach Rafail Ishmatov and his assistants released the final roster. Team Captain and the veteran of last year's gold medal performance Vladimir Korsunov was the last and most unexpected cut.

The back injury Anaheim's prospect sustained during a fight in exhibition contest on Wednesday unabled him to practice with the team for the past three days, as of Saturday afternoon Vlad continued to experience significantly painful back spasms and showed no signs of improvement. After the initial cuts were made, Russia's coaching staff decided to replace Korsunov with 18-year old Denis Ezhov, who's currently touring Canada with the '85 Selects team. Eligible for the 2003 NHL entry draft rearguard, ranked fourth among Russian players by R.S.B., will report to the team in Sydney.

FINAL ROSTER

Goaltenders: Andrei Medvedev, Konstantin Barulin.
Defensemen: Denis Grebeshkov, Fedor Tyutin, Kirill Koltsov, Konstantin Korneev, Maxim Kondratiev, Denis Fakhrutdinov, Mikhail Lyubushin, Denis Ezhov.
Forwards: Yuri Trubachev, Alexander Ovechkin, Alexander Polushin, Igor Grigorenko, Andrei Taratukhin, Alexander Perezhogin, Nikolai Zherdev, Sergei Anshakov, Alexei Kaigorodov, Timofei Shishkanov, Evgeny Artyukhin, Dmitry Pestunov.

Note that starting tomorrow Russian Hockey Insider & Dostoevsky Report will provide you with detailed player by player analyses of the final roster in its WJC preview.

SATURDAY'S EXHIBITION

On Saturday Russian Juniors played its last exhibition game against RSL's Soviet Wings. Ishmatov's side wasted an early two goal lead, as the game concluded in a 3-3 draw.

Netminder Andrei Medvedev delivered a shaky performance and was quite frustrated to be pulled off midway through the game, as he threw his stick at the empty stands of the Soviet Wings Sports Palace.

"I wasn't very pleased with (Medvedev's) reaction, but I could understand his struggles. He didn't play much this season for Spartak," - said Ishmatov.

Nikolai Zherdev was benched for a few shifts in the final period. He took two unnecessarily penalties that resolved in opponents goals. In fact all of the Soviet Wings' goals came with a man advantage.

Following the game ill-fated remarks between the coach and Red Army's puckwiz continued:

"(Zherdev's) individualism and lack of discipline costs us dearly. I think I know the way to get the message through his head (referring to benching)." - said Ishmatov.

Meantime Zherdev thought it was fine to fire back: "I'm sick with all those comments about individualism. I play the same way I've always played."

GAME SUMMARY

RUSSIA - SOVIET WINGS  3-3 (3-2, 0-1, 0-0)

First period:
1. RUS 0:21  Polushin
2. RUS 1:47  Kaigorodov (Kondratiev, Tyutin)  (pp)
3. SW 6:17  Rakhmatullin (Khasanov)  (pp)
4. SW 12:55  Doolgy (Denisov, Nikulin)  (pp)
5. SW 19:09  Perezhogin (Koltsov, Taratukhin)  (pp)
Second period:
6. SW 11:05  Ulyanov (Nikulin, Bets)  (pp)
Third period:
No scoring.

Russia: Medvedev (Barulin, 31:05). Tyutin - Grebeshkov, Ovechkin - Trubachev - Polushin, Koltsov - Korneev, Grigorenko - Taratukhin - Perezhogin, Kondratiev - Shinin, Zherdev - Kaigorodov - Anshakov, Lyubushin - Fakhrutdinov, Golovin - Pestunov - Semin.

-- Max Dostoevsky

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