By 10 years ago
It’s finally over!
If you’ve stood by your computer constantly hitting refresh like I did, then you know I am talking about the Kovalchuk Sweepstakes, which is reportedly a 17-year deal with the New Jersey Devils. Yes, seventeen YEARS. Yeah, that is a loooooong time.
How long, Neil?
Well, seventeen years ago Ace of Base ruled the airwaves, and The New Mickey Mouse Club got some new members: Britney Spears, Justin Timberlake and Christina Aguilera. So yeah, 17 years is a long time.
Time will tell if he’s worth it, but Kovalchuk has put up some serious regular season numbers in his career before his 28th birthday: 642 career points in 621 career games at the NHL level. Not bad for the the first overall pick in the 2001 NHL entry draft.
I will leave others to debate whether or not the contract is worth it or how it just laughs in the face of the current CBA, but you have to believe that at least one Russian in the DC area was intently watching these talks unfold: Alexander Semin.
Alex Ovechkin and his friends have left Vancouver by now, and surely that’s a good thing. For the greatest conglomeration of hockey talent we may ever see, Team Russia played like amateurs. The 2010 Men’s Olympic hockey tournament was a disaster for the Russians, and that comes as a surprise to many of us. But why did the Russian Machine break? (Did you really think we’d let that go?)
[Ed Note: First, RMNB taught you how to correctly pronounce the names of some of Russia’s Best Hockey Players. Second, RMNB taught you how to support the Russian National Team in Vancouver with Authentic Russian Fan Chants and Cheers. Tonight, In Russian Lessons Part III, we’re here to teach you who the most popular, active hockey players in Russia are.
With NHL Games starting at 3am or later in Russia and the KHL starting to find more and more traction, we were interested who Russians talked about and followed the most. Would it be an NHL Player? Would it be a KHL Player? We felt this post was necessary because the media coverage in Washington makes a lot of people assume Alex Ovechkin is the most revered sportsman in the country. He has a huge following – to the point where he’s been on Game Shows and in Music Videos – but you’ll be surprised by what we found today. They’re all yours Fedor.]
Okay, I bet if you had to pick one person to be the most popular hockey player in Russia, you’d pick Alex Ovechkin. This is a great guess, but it’s not 100% true. Let’s check what hockey players Russian users search for the most using the Russian Search Engine “Yandex.” It is the most used Search Engine (51% of search market) in our country.
This week we look at Alex Ovechkin’s chances of going down as the greatest goal-scorer in NHL history, a break-down of last week’s big Kovalchuk trade, a look at the change in average shift length for today’s players versus those from 10 years ago (with a certain Capital being a rare exception), and busting a few common myths using the Vancouver Canucks as an example.
I had to wrangle these links up quickly, since I forgot what day it was. That’s when happens when you’re snowed in for almost a week without seeing the outside world. At least I had my spreadsheets to keep me busy.
[Ed Note: Last year during the Capitals Playoff run, Slava Malamud wrote an 800-word post about how to pronounce Russian Players names correctly for Capitals Insider. Problem was – after talking to RMNB groupmember Fedor Fedin (who resides in Moscow, Russia) – Slava wasn’t really doing the pronunciations justice. So today, with Fedor’s help, the Russian Machine is going to teach you how to say your favorite Russian Superstars names correctly. And yes, with wonderful, wonderful audio. Enjoy!]
One of the most frustrating things about being a fan of the Washington Capitals in Moscow is how much Americans mispronounce Russian Players’ names. Everybody does it! And a lot of the time, nobody has a clue they’re even doing it.
Do you know how many times I’ve heard «S-I-M-I-N» or «S-E-M-Y-O-N», and cringed? Let’s say more than a handful. But now it’s time for you to learn with my help.
Here is an interview between Dmitri Chesnokov and Alex Ovechkin that was published today on Sovetsky Sport’s Website and translated by Fedor Fedin. In this article, Alex Ovechkin addresses the Olympics, the Kovalchuk-to-DC rumors and his plans for the New Year. Take a look below. It’s a great read!
Michael Nylander has left a hole beneath the salary cap to the tune of $4 million. Nylander’s awkward and only somewhat amicable exit from the Washington Capitals opens up doors of possibility for the team. Naive I was to think that this discussion need not happen until nearer the draft or at least the trade deadline. Nope, we’re already hearing rumors that the Caps are interested in Ilya Kovalchuk. The left winger superstar has been firmly ensconced in Atlanta since 2001, and his hefty salary is still greater than what was freed up by Nylander’s exit. So what’s gonna give? Well, it better not be my boy, Alexander Semin!
Listen. Try not to act shocked, but this site is called Russian Machine Never Breaks, so we’re sort of in the business of hyping up the Sashas and the junior goalie with the currently sore crotch. Sure, Kovalchuk is a Russian, too, but then we won’t be able to do the “Lesser Sasha” and “Sasha Proper” jokes. Really, our Sasha joke quotient will be cut in half. Plus, there’s also that I think Semin is a terrific hockey player and an asset to the team.
The current Caps roster is built around Alexander Ovechkin, right? So wouldn’t the adding of another star left wing dilute that focus? Semin compliments Ovechkin, and on some days he outshines him. Kovalchuk’s numbers (593 points in 573 games) aren’t even that much better than Semin’s (244 points in 278 games), or at least perhaps not good enough to excuse the salary differential.
Yeah, I’m aware of the problems with Semin. He willfully won’t speak English, he went AWOL after the lockout, he gives up offensive-zone penalties like a (offensive joke about senior prom here), and he’s got more flash than substance. Guess what? I don’t care. Alexander Semin is under the wizardly guidance of Bruce “You had me at no problem” Boudreau. Bruce is upfront about his unhappiness with the lesser Sasha (see? You don’t wanna lose that!), and I think we’ve seen Semin respond with increased discipline and focus since returning from his wrist injury.
Alexander Semin’s presence on the Caps rewards both him and the team. Yeah, Kovalchuk is attractive, but we can’t ditch our date everytime some flirty girl at the other end of the bar flashes us a kind look. And if this truly is a championship season after all, we ought not mess with the magic halfway into it.
(This post’s Sasha count = 5)
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