Kukla's Korner Hockey
by Paul on 04/17/13 at 06:54 AM ET
from Michael Arace of the Columbus Dispatch,
“There are good stereotypes and bad, and most people focus on the bad,” said Slava Malamud, a senior writer for the Russian daily Sport Express and a correspondent for NHL.com.
Malamud, based in Washington, was in such a rush to get to Columbus to talk to Blue Jackets goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky, he got a speeding ticket from a firm-but-polite Ohio state trooper last week. Welcome to Ohio, Slava.
“With Russians, everyone is looking for lots of skill,” Malamud said. “Alexander Ovechkin has lots of skill, but he plays against type because he is driven by emotion. The prevailing stereotype is they are aloof, tough to figure out. They don’t always care as much because they are brought up with different values.”
The stereotype is a Cold War holdover that persists, nearly a quarter century after Alexander Mogilny defected. Russians are talented, but they hide behind a language barrier and do not care about their teammates. Right?
“During the Soviet era, the Olympics and the world championships meant much more than the Stanley Cup,” Malamud said. “That is changing. Ovechkin, Evgeni Malkin, these guys grew up wanting to win the Stanley Cup. It’s a totally different dynamic.”
Yet, the bias persists, even right here in Columbus. Pascal Leclaire, Alexandre Picard and Gilbert Brule are on a too-long list of Blue Jackets first-round picks who did not stick, but they were not lazy malcontents and team killers like Nikolay Zherdev and Nikita Filatov. Right?
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