Mironov takes his bow
Mironov takes his bow
Russian rookie aims to hit hard
Andrei Mironov, a 20-year-old defenceman with Dynamo Moscow, made his World Championship debut for Oleg Znarok’s team and added to his Euro Hockey Tour run-outs during only his third season as a senior pro.
Mironov’s defending in the KHL has been characterised by his willingness to use a ‘windmill’ check, getting in low on an opponent and flipping him into the air at the point of impact. It’s a crowd pleaser at Dynamo – and it’s something the youngster is keen to show off at this level.
“If I get the chance I’ll definitely try a ‘windmill’,” he told journalists after Russia’s practice on Tuesday. “But the thing is the game here is much faster and there are players who are smart enough to get away from a hit like that.”
Life on the fast track is nothing new for Mironov even if his elevation to the World Championship roster came so suddenly that he was mistakenly listed as a forward on pre-game line-up. After a season of junior hockey with MVD Balashikha he was called into Znarok’s Dynamo Moscow roster for the 2012/13 season, helping the blue-and-whites defend their Gagarin Cup title. He also helped his country to World Junior bronze in 2013 and 2014.
Now he’s an established member of the Dynamo roster and last season he was averaging more than 17 minutes a game under the guidance of Harijs Vitolins, assistant coach for the Russian national team. Mironov also made his first All-Star Game in January, enlivening the penalty shot competition with an attempt from a shopping trolley wheeled by his Dynamo team-mate Alexander Yeryomenko.Continue reading
Now he’s at his first World Championship, stepping in to replace Yevgeni Biryukov after the Metallurg Magnitogorsk man suffered a fractured jaw against Slovenia – and relishing life on the big stage despite that 2-4 reverse against the Americans.
“I’m feeling good,” he said. “I just need to keep working on my game and that’s what I’m trying to do. Against the Americans I felt a bit jittery and the speed of the game was something new – it was even faster than the games I played for Russia in the Euro Hockey Tour. You have to keep thinking the whole time, you can’t let up even for a second.”
Although the Russians have come in for some criticism following their defeat against a young USA roster, Mironov did not agree that this was more of a college team than a World Championship contender.
“I don’t know what game people were watching,” the defenceman said. “The Americans have plenty of good players on their roster and most of them are playing in the NHL. But the responsibility for losing lies with everyone, including me. We're all to blame for the goals we conceded."
In response to that defeat Russia rotated its lines in practice, swapping Ilya Kovalchuk and Vladimir Tarasenko in a bid to spark a new combination to support the scoring power offered by the SKA St. Petersburg troika of Yevgeni Dadonov, Vadim Shipachyov and Artemi Panarin.
“The Americans wanted it more,” said assistant coach Vitolins. “Most of the incidents where it was a 50-50 call, they won it – that means they had a greater will to win. If we’d really battled and still lost then fair enough, but there are some big questions for us from that game.”
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