Nikita Kucherov is a virtual lock to be the NHL MVP this season while Alex Ovechkin and Evgeni Malkin are likely Hall of Fame players when their hockey careers are over. Yet Team Russia, with all that individual firepower, can struggle to play together on the big stage against teams considered to be lesser opponents – at least on paper. And on Saturday, the Russian national team was upset by Finland 1-0 in the semifinals of the IIHF World Championship. Since 2009, Team Russia is 5-6 in the semis, and that frustration has started to boil over among fans and reporters.
But Nastya Ovechkina was not having any of it. Nastya took to Instagram after the game to encourage Team Russia fans to get a grip. It appears she used Caps fans as a positive example.
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Самая большая разница между болельщиками российской сборной( не всех🙏🏻) и болельщиками клубов нхл, это то, что для российских болельщиков , если команда проиграла, нужно обязательно всех облить грязью, тогда когда болельщики клубов, поддерживают свою команду и любимых игроков при любых результатах😉 нужно гордиться нашими соотечественниками которые являются кумирами миллионов людей по всему миру и служат примером для молодого поколения!!! Нужно уметь достойно принимать поражение и ценить труд других людей! Всем добра🙌🏽удачи ребятам завтра🙏🏻#iihfworlds
A post shared by Nastasiya Ovechkina (@nastyashubskaya) on
Nastya wore an Alex Ovechkin Team Russia jersey in the photo.
“The biggest difference between fans of the Russian National Team (not everyone) and NHL fans is that Russian fans absolutely have to dump on everyone if the team loses, whereas NHL fans support their team and favorite players no matter what the results,” Nastya wrote in the caption as translated by Graham Dumas. “We need to be proud of our countrymen, who are idolized by millions of people around the world and serve as examples for young people! We need to know how to take a loss with dignity and value the work of other people. I wish everyone well, and good luck to the guys tomorrow!”
Nastya has a huge megaphone on Instagram with over 421k followers and shares a life with Ovi, who has been a lightning rod for criticism in the past. Before the Capitals won the Stanley Cup, Ovi was often an easy (and lazy) target for national analysts looking to explain away the Capitals failures despite him consistently playing well individually.
There’s an emotional and mental toll that’s exacted when players are relentlessly criticized. I give huge props to Nastya for being the strong woman she is and standing up to it. Her thoughts were communicated so productively.
Team Russia will play the Czech Republic on Sunday in the bronze medal game of the World Championship.
Headline photo: @nastyashubskaya
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