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Pavel Datsyuk, Center
Datsyuk is one of the three best two-way players in the world, and his performance at the Olympics will have a drastic impact on the team's chances of winning a medal.
The 34-year-old's ability to win important faceoffs, play physical, create turnovers and shut down the opposing teams' best forwards will be a crucial part of Russia's success in Sochi because this team doesn't have much defensive skill at forward.
In addition to his defensive responsibilities, Datsyuk will also need to produce offensively for Russia to have the depth down the middle that it needs to defeat top teams such as Canada and the United States. His playmaking skills and creativity with the puck should create a ton of scoring chances for elite goal-scoring wingers such as Ovechkin and Kovalchuk.
Andrei Markov, Defenseman
Markov's importance to the Russian blue line will be immense. He's the only defenseman on the team with the size (6'0" and 204 pounds), defensive skill and experience to succeed in a shutdown role. He doesn't have much mobility, which could be a problem on an Olympic-sized ice rink, but his defensive abilities will make him a valuable player in late-game situations or whenever Russia is protecting a lead.
Markov should also play a huge role on Russia's penalty kill as a defensive defenseman who blocks shots, plays physical and clears traffic from the front of the net.
Sergei Bobrovsky, Goaltender
Bobrovsky is the best goaltender whom Russia will bring to the Olympics in a long time. Russia has won only a silver (1998) and a bronze medal (2002) since NHL players were first allowed to participate in Olympic competition, and poor goaltending is one of the primary reasons for this lack of gold medal success.
With an elite goaltender between the pipes, don't expect Russia to give up many goals. The 24-year-old from Columbus allowed two or fewer goals in 26 of the 38 games he played in last season. He rarely makes mistakes and shows exceptional mental toughness and composure for a young netminder.
If Bobrovsky plays well in Sochi, it's incredibly difficult to picture Russia not playing in the gold medal game because this team will give him plenty of offensive support.