Kukla's Korner Hockey
by Paul on 05/11/12 at 04:33 PM ET
from Michael Farber of Sports Illustrated,
...For hockey’s chattering classes—including some NHL executives—the Scottsdale episode represented a “Russian problem.” Forget that while Radulov grew up in Nizhni Tagli, Kostitsyn is actually from Belarus. In the Russian Devolution all semblance of nuance is lost. Although it has been more than two decades since marquee players left a crumbling Soviet Union to play in the NHL, players from former bloc countries often are still tossed into the same pot of borscht. When former Flyers captain Mike Richards and teammate Jeff Carter—who helped the Kings into the Western Conference finals with a sweep of St. Louis—were exiled by Philadelphia last summer amid rumors of excessive partying, their story was never framed as an example of the shortcomings of Canadian players. But Russians (and fellow travelers) are not given the same benefit of individuality. They are, in the collective imagination of many in the league, me-first players who are shy on sacrifice and not fully committed to the idea of the Stanley Cup as the ultimate hockey prize.
“Their mentality is what it is,” says Devils forward Patrik Elias, who is Czech. “A lot of the times they’re being brought up to be individual players throughout their careers, because if you have the skills, you’ve got to show it…. And I think it’s an adjustment for some of the guys to come here and build into that team system.”
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Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.
From breaking news to in-depth stories around the league, KK Hockey is updated with fresh stories all day long and will bring you the latest news as quickly as possible.
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