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Author: Eugene Belashchenko (RussianProspects.com Exclusive)Date: 02/05/2007
Russia’s starting job falls to Konstantin Barulin (St. Louis Blues)


Konstantin Barulin at the 2003 NHL Entry Draft after being drafted by the St. Louis Blues (Photo Source: RussianProspects exclusive)
Russian national team is currently preparing for the last leg of the EuroTour competiton, the Sweden Games and has run into a serious problem between the pipes. It appears that the squad will have to make due without its three top goaltending choices for the tournament. Vasily Koshechkin (Tampa Bay Lightning) will miss the tournament after requesting the time off from Russia’s head coach Vyacheslav Bykov due to physical and mental fatigue after handling the starting responsibilities for his Russian club, HC Lada, as well as for the national team. Russia’s second netminder Alexander Eremenko has suffered an injured wrist and will likely miss the tournament. Finally, Washington Capitals talented 18 year old prospect Semen Varlamov (Washington Capitals) has been suffering from a severe case of the flue and has been isolated from the team to prevent him from potentially infecting the whole squad. Hopefully, he will be able to join the team, but it remains unlikely.

Consequently, Team Russia’s starting job has befell on another talented young Russian goalie the 22 year old Konstantin Barulin (St. Louis Blues) , who has been playing extremely well for HC Khimik over the past few months. Thus, others’ problems have turned into a great opportunity for Barulin to prove himself and make a good impression on Team Russia’s head coach, throwing his name into the competition if not for the 2007, then for the 2008 World Championships.

In addition to Barulin, HC CSKA Moscow back up netminder Nikita Bespalov will likely be the second string goalie. CSKA is helmed by Russia’s head coach Bykov, who likely wanted to give Bespalov a chance to gain international experience, but was unwilling to risk his club’s well performing number one netminder, Ivan Kasutin .

- Eugene Belashchenko (RussianProspects.com)

Related Player Profiles: . K.Barulin A.Eremenko V.Koshechkin S.Varlamov
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