Valeri Nichushkin Olympic selection met with Russian management disagreements

Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Did Nichushkin earn his spot or was it premature?

Valeri Nichushkin's selection to Team Russia for the 2014 Winter Olympics came as a surprise to many. Not many 18-year-olds make the Olympics with less than half of their rookie season under their belt.

Nichushkin had to be thrilled at his inclusion, but a report from Russia indicates that his coaches aren't nearly as enthused. In fact, a rift appears to have opened up between Russian coach Zinetula Bilyaletdinov and general manager Alexei Yashin about whether the rookie deserves to play in Sochi.

Did Nichushkin earn his spot, or was it a premature gift? Bilyaletdinov told reporters on Tuesday that his roster spot was an "advance payment", something Nichushkin "must justify" in Sochi. Yashin felt differently.

"It's hard to talk about an advance payment. It's the wrong word," said Yashin, who played 850 career NHL games. "Nichushkin has earned the call to the Olympics with his game."

His numbers seem to back it up. Nichushkin has nine goals and 13 assists in 41 games for Dallas after a blistering December that rocketed him into contention for the Calder Trophy. Nichushkin will get a chance to prove his worth in Sochi on February 13 when Russia takes on Slovakia.

More from SB Nation NHL:

Power rankings: Blues rise to the top

Alex the Great: How Ovechkin is scoring so many goals

Olympics: Snubs inevitable for Canada | USA roster analysis

Olympic rosters shouldn’t be built with NHL restraints

X
Log In Sign Up

forgot?
Log In Sign Up

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

Join SBNation.com

You must be a member of SBNation.com to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at SBNation.com. You should read them.

Join SBNation.com

You must be a member of SBNation.com to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at SBNation.com. You should read them.

Spinner

Authenticating

Great!

Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.