Mandatory Credit: Kevin Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports

Mikhail Grigorenko Named One of Russia's Best Players in WJC

Team Russia’s bid of winning the gold medal at the World Juniors has come to an end after they lost to Sweden today in the Semi-Finals. Russia had been responsible for knocking out the defending champions, the United States in the previous round thus making them one of the favourites heading into the medal rounds.

With the loss today, Russia will now play for the bronze medal game against either Team Canada or Finland depending on how that game wraps up later today.

Despite not winning the gold, both Mikhail Grigorenko and Nikita Zadorov had solid tournaments for Russia and Grigorenko has

been named as one of the three best players for Russia in the tournament. In 6 games Grigorenko scored 4 goals and added 3 assists but has been criticized for lack lustre attitude at times during the tournament.

While Zadorov wasn’t named as one of Russia’s best, the Buffalo Sabres defenceman had one heck of a tournament and some would argue he looked better all around than his teammate Grigorenko. Zadorov had 4 goals and one assist for 5 points and an impressive +4 throughout the first 6 games, which garnered him a lot of attention.

The Buffalo Sabres should be very excited to get their hands on Zadorov, he was arguably one of the best defencemen in the tournament and really showed how his game has evolved in the last few months. It will be a very short time until Zadorov is ready to be a Buffalo Sabre full time.

Both Grigorenko and Zadorov were held pointless in today’s loss to Sweden, but did their part in helping Russia get this far and eliminate the United States. They will have one more game to leave their mark as they look to bring home the bronze medal.

Heading into the tournament Grigorenko was quite vocal claiming he would win tournament MVP, a gold medal and that his teammate Zadorov would be the best player in the tournament. Unfortunately none of those claims will come true, but it is quite refreshing to see Grigorenko playing with confidence in his game and the two Sabres prospects seem to be developing some nice chemistry.

Russia will play for the bronze medal on Sunday morning.

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Tags: Mikhail Grigorenko Russia Zadorov

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