Wednesday, 1 February 2012

Accident Or With Intent?

There's no doubt that Alexander Radulov is a bit of a different cat. He walked out on the Nashville Predators, taking his act back to his native Russia where he now suits up for Salavat Yulaev Ufa. He's a perennial KHL All-Star, but he continually spends the off-season flirting with Nashville fans in saying that he wants to return to the team before ultimately landing back in Russia again. The kid is talented without a doubt, but I've always questioned his professionalism when it comes to the being a contributor to whatever team he suits up for. And tonight in the KHL, Radulov's professionalism was called into question once more in what seems like a surreal situation.

In Ufa's game against Barys Astana, Alexander Radulov's temper seemed to get the best of him. Thanks to the KHL being several hours ahead of us, the video for this incident is available today despite it being the middle of the night in Russia. Take a look at Radulov's actions from the game tonight. The clip is only six seconds, though, so you may need to replay it.

Of course, I have to ask: do you think Radulov hit the man in the suit, identified as Ilari Nackel, with his stick on purpose? He seems to turn, size up where Nackel is standing, and then slam the blade of his stick into Nackel's face. Or he simply could have been looking to see if Nackel was far enough away in order to throw a bit of a temper tantrum.

What I can't figure out is why Radulov is so angry. He scored a goal and added an assist in the game against Barys, and his team rallied from a 1-0 deficit after the first period to win the game 4-3. Radulov leads the KHL in goals, assists, and points this season, so it's not like the guy is stuck in some sort of scoring slump. So what gives? And why was Nackel's reaction like nothing happened?

What say you, readers: do you think Radulov intentionally slashed former Finnish national player Ilari Nackel in the face, or was this just an unfortunate accident? Leave your thoughts in the comments!

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

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