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Author: Alessandro Seren RossoDate: 10/13/2009
Sibir - Avangard: Vladimir Tarasenko , Nikita Zaitsev and Nikita Pivtsakin evaluation

2010 Kontinental Hockey League (KHL)

In the 10/10 match between Sibir Novosibirsk and Avangard Omsk, played in the Omsk Arena, we observed a three interesting prospects, being them Nikita Pivtsakin, Nikita Zaitsev and Vladimir Tarasenko.

Tarasenko has played a very good match. He played an excellent first period, in which he even scored a goal, then he has been a little quieter in the second and third stanzas because of the different style of his team. After a shoot after just one minute while being resilient to a defenseman's attempt to stop him, he scored the go-ahead goal for Sibir two minutes later: with a burning acceleration in the neutral zone he went on unchallenged and with a well-timed top shelf snap shot he put the puck in the back of the net defended by Karri Ramo. Even if this was the highlight of the game for him, he attempted more always playing the puck, trying to search holes in the opposition. He looked improved in the physical game, even if the big ones still outmuscle him with ease, especially along the boards. Another area in which he has to work on is the defense. He tries hard and uses his good skating to get back in the zone trying to help out, but he has to be more consistent in that even if sometimes he's able to win some puck because of his good timing and commitment. He has been on ice for a couple of Avangard's goals, but he wasn't the responsible. In the second and third period as said he has been a little less valuable. Sibir switched to a more direct, defense-first style of play, letting little room to the creative forwards. On top of that, he doesn't play in four on four or penalty killings, and Sibir had little powerplay time throughout the whole game. His game overall was very good, but generally speaking he has to find a little more confidence and play more the puck, maybe using more his passing play. He's a second line left winger and he has to act more like one. He's able to do it very well with juniors, has to reach an upper level to do it with the main team too.

His team mate Nikita Zaitsev didn't play too well. He looked a little bit out of place and was having hard time against quick forwards. Though he did display some grit and good physical play, he didn't shy away from battles and constantly tried to check hard along the boards, even if he must move his feet more while defending. As many other youngsters, he tends to be a little bit too passive. He was a lot more comfortable playing against juniors. Even while on the offensive part of the game, he didn't want to play the puck and show the excellent breakout pass abilities he showcased in the U18 WJC, but instead most of times he just preferred playing the puck along the boards searching for the easy option. The potential is there, but this 2010 eligible needs to get some confidence.

His colleague Nikita Pivtsakin from Avangard did play a better match. A reliable two-way defenseman with a very good passing game, he's a player who likes to keep it simple at both ends of the rink, but that manages to be effective with interesting offensive options as well as good defensive play. There must be a reason if he was drafted in the CHL import draft, but there is a reason either if Avangard didn't let him go.

Related Player Profiles: . N.Pivtsakin V.Tarasenko N.Zaitsev
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