gets to bring some Detroit Red Wing structure to Alex Ovechkin
and Alexander Semin
and Ilya Kovalchuk
gets to show Evgeni Malkin
what he has learned about positioning in a couple of weeks as a New Jersey Devil when Team Russia opens its Olympic schedule Tuesday night against Latvia.
Datsyuk, the all-around marvel who has won Selke Trophies as well as contend for scoring titles, donned a black practice sweater for yesterday's first full practice of the Vancouver Games at Canada Hockey Place. On his left was Ovechkin. On his right was Semin.
"I know my job whether I'm on the Detroit Red Wings
or the Russian national team," Datsyuk said. Presumably, that job will often require being the third forward high on the Russian Black Line.
The Russian Red Line was just as frighteningly power-packed. It had Kovalchuk on the left with Malkin in the middle and Maxim Afinogenov
on the right. With defensemen Sergei Gonchar
and Fedor Tyutin
also clad in red, it made that quintet the only five-man unit among the four in Team Russia's system to be comprised exclusively of NHL players.
Elder statesman Sergei Fedorov
centered Alexander Radulov
and Viktor Kozlov
on the White Line of three former NHLers.
On defense, Andrei Markov
of the Montreal Canadiens
went through every drill without much apparent difficulty -- and with partner Anton Volchenkov
of the Ottawa Senators
. Afterward, though, he conceded that he is not at 100 percent because of an undisclosed injury that caused him to miss the Canadiens' last two games before the Olympic break.