Monday, 26 August 2013

It's All Russia Today

With the KHL season set to start next week and the anticipation of the Sochi Olympics growing, hockey in Russia is reaching an apex. There's a lot to be excited about, and it seems as though the country is starting to get its hockey-mad persona back. Of course, I'm in Canada so I can't speak of whether they lost that persona or not - my guess is they haven't - but you get the idea that we here in North America know little about what's happening on Russia's sports scene. In saying that, though, we got some news on this side of the pond today, so let's work through a couple of points.

Fight of the Summer

From SovSport and Puck Daddy, HBIC is proud to present the fight of the summer.
If you're appalled at what's going on, let me give you a little background. That's Pittsburgh Penguins star Evgeni Malkin play-fighting with a seven year-old from a local hockey school team in Tver. It's all part of a charity game organized by Ilya Kovalchuk of SKA St. Petersburg. If you watch closely, Malkin throws the first punch as the two sides are shaking hands. The young man, not one to back down from any player regardless of size, engages Malkin despite giving up at least a foot in height and probably about 100 lbs. in weight. While it appears that Malkin has the upperhand, throwing punches and nearly jerseying the kid, things change as they reach the corner when the youngster jerseys Malkin and the superstar finds himself face-down on the ice.

The best part? If you look closely at the end of the video, you can see the young man smiling from ear to ear. He's going to have stories to tell his kids for years about he beat the heck out of one of the sport's greatest players. Kudos to Evgeni Malkin for making one youngster's entire hockey career with a 39-second scrap. Even if he doesn't play hockey for a living, he'll be able to tell everyone about the day he beat Evgeni Malkin in a hockey fight!

New Russian Duds

From, Team Russia unveiled their new look for the upcoming Sochi Olympic Games as Alexander Ovechkin and women's team member Ekaterina Smolenceva modeled the new uniforms.
I actually like what Nike has done on these uniforms. They aren't overstated or gaudy, they avoided the lace-up collar (finally!), and both uniforms feel Russian in their designs. The women's uniform incorporates the Russian coat-of-arms into the sublimated design, and the men use the coat-of-arms as the logo on their chests. While the fonts and back of the uniforms weren't shown, I'd say these uniforms deserve a couple of thumbs-up overall.

Ten-Cent Head

There's is no doubt that Alexander Radulov has an immense amount of talent. He showed his skills with the Nashville Predators for a few short years before bolting back to Russia to play in the KHL. Since that time, he's been a regular on that circuit's all-star squads, and he routinely is found atop or near the leaders in most offensive categories. But something is seriously wrong with his head.

It was reported today that Alexander Radulov was stripped of his captaincy by CSKA GM Sergei Fedorov after having "problems with discipline". While Fedorov didn't elaborate on what the issue was in terms of the discipline Radulov faced, he did state, "He shouldn’t and cannot be hurt" in regards to losing the letter on his jersey. Former Penguin and Ak Bars Kazan team member Alexei Morozov will assume the captaincy after Radulov's demotion.

It's hard to tell whether Radulov is worth the trouble he seems to bring with him where ever he plays. He's walked out on contracts (Nashville), he nearly decapitated a goalie coach with a stick (Salavat Yulaev Ufa), and now he's caught the ire of Sergei Fedorov in Moscow. What gives?

For all the talent Radulov seems to have on the ice, all I see is an immature jerk with a ten-cent head.

There are a few quick stories from Russia. As always, comments welcome!

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

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