Russian coach changes mind, will use Radulov

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The United States scored both of its regulation goals on bad penalties taken by Russian forward Alexander Radulov during America’s 3-2 shootout victory on Saturday. So naturally, Russia coach Zinetula Bilyaletdinov wasn’t happy with Radulov after the game.

Bilyaletdinov, speaking through a translator, suggested the former Preds forward should be scratched “among other things.”

It turns out that Bilyaletdinov has changed his mind because Radulov is playing against Slovakia and projected to skate alongside Pavel Datsyuk and Ilya Kovalchuk, according to CBC’s Elliotte Friedman.

Radulov has excelled at the KHL level for years and has nine goals and 34 points in 33 games this season. At the same time, if Bilyaletdinov was going to make a statement, this was the time to do it. Russia is set to play a Slovak team that wasn’t highly regarded going into this tournament and failed to beat Slovenia.

Russia should be able to win this game with or without Radulov, but it looks like Bilyaletdinov has decided to stick with him.