Russia completed a repeat performance by winning the Gold Medal game at the 2009 IIHF World Championships Sunday, beating Team Canada 2-1. The winning goal came off the stick of onetime (and future?) Nashville Predator Alexander Radulov, on one of his patented "hestitate & shoot" wristers that went high over the shoulder of Canadian goaltender Dwayne Roloson. Check out the celebration after the goal, and the swagger that Radulov carries after receiving his gold medal:
Now, I know lots of folks will look at that and deride Radulov as a showboating, egocentric Euro, and that this kind of display is exactly why the Predators should avoid bringing him back to disrupt an otherwise united, workmanlike team.
I say, this guy wants to be a star, and that Nashville should prepare the stage for him. The Predators both need the offensive talent that Radulov brings to a lineup, and the flair that attracts the interest of the casual fan.
Regardless of what one thinks of Radulov's behavior, the bottom line is that the Nashville Predators were very well-represented at this year's World Championship:
Besides sniping the gold medal-winning goal, Radulov was 2nd on the Russian team in scoring with 4 goals and 6 assists in 9 games.
Third on Team Canada with a +7 rating, and logged plenty of ice time, he also caught Radulov with a good hip-check at one point in the tournament.
With 4 goals and 8 assists in 9 games, Weber asserted himself as the leader of a talented, young blueline group and was named the tournament's Best Defenseman for his efforts.
Earned the silver medal in his 3rd stint as an assistant coach for Team Canada, after having won gold the last time in 2003.
Just one goal and 2 assists in 9 games left him somewhat in the shadow of fellow defensemen John Michael Liles, Jack Johnson and Ron Hainsey, who were among the top 5 scorers on Team USA.
With two assists in nine games, Wilson was the lone non-NHL player on the American squad and thus played a limited role.
Put up a goal and 2 assists in just 4 games for Finland, a level of production that Nashville hoped for out of him last season. He certainly helped himself as free agency approaches July 1st.
A .926 save percentage, 1.93 GAA and a shutout in six games weren't enough to lift Finland into the medal round, but you can't blame Rinne for that.
'In six games for Switzerland, tallied no points, was a -1 and had one penalty. Look for more of Josi this fall, as he may take the next step and bring his game to the AHL in Milwaukee.