NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – Monday, August 12, 2013.

Is Alexander Ovechkin “enigmatic”? Will Evgeny Kuznetsov jump to the Capitals this season? Why did the Stars acquire Sergei Gonchar? Read on for the latest on these players, plus updates on the Phoenix Coyotes, Minnesota Wild and more.

Capitals star Alexander Ovechkin among a number of Russian players unfairly labelled "enigmatic".

Capitals star Alexander Ovechkin among a number of Russian players unfairly labelled “enigmatic”.

EDMONTON JOURNAL: Jonathan Willis on how the label “enigmatic” gets attached to every Russian NHL player (some more than others) by the hockey media, including Washington’s Alexander Ovechkin. Willis believes it “reflects the inability of the media as a class to cover Russian players fairly than it does faults in those players as a class.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I agree. North American hockey writers (and fans) have a tendency to affix labels upon European players, particularly those from hockey powerhouses like Russia and Sweden.  Russians are “enigmatic”, while Swedes are “gutless”. European players as a whole are accused of not taking the Stanley Cup playoffs as seriously as North American players, especially Canadians. I believe one reason for these labels is some European players struggle to adjust to both the NHL game and North American culture.

 The European media, however, are just as guilty in affixing labels to Canadian players. Since the 1972 Summit Series, they consider Canadian players to be arrogant goons.  You can’t judge an entire group because of the actions of a few, especially when those actions might have more to do with adjusting to a new league in a new country.

CSNWASHINGTON.COM: It’s unlikely Capitals prospect Evgeny Kuznetsov will make the jump from the KHL to the Capitals in time for this season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Hey, speaking of enigmatic Russians…actually, Kuznetsov prefers to continue playing in the KHL largely because he’ll earn far more in that league at this point in his career than under an entry-level contract with the Capitals. Can’t say I blame him. He’ll probably make the jump in the next year or two why he’s banked his KHL dough.

DALLAS MORNING NEWS: Stars GM Jim Nill explained his acquisition of defenseman Sergei Gonchar in June was to provide a veteran presence for his younger players, particularly 2013 first round pick Valeri Nichushkin.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: But, but, he’s Russian! Everyone knows Russian players are selfish and enigmatic and horrible leaders, because the stereotype told us so! 

ARIZONA REPUBLIC: The story of how four investors came to the Phoenix Coyotes rescue.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Rescue? Or respite? Tune in five years from now to see if the Coyotes combined losses exceeds $50 million, and we’ll know for sure if those investors “rescused” the team.

NHL.COM: With his core players in place (especially Zach Parise and Ryan Suter), Minnesota Wild GM Chuck Fletcher is looking forward to a playoff run.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: That’ll depend as much upon the development of their young players (like Jonas Brodin, Charlie Coyle, Mikael Granlund and the recently acquired Nino Niederreiter) as the performance of veteran core players.

VANCOUVER PROVINCE: Former Canucks forward Jeff Tambellini is a partner in a business which focuses on training hockey pros and prospects.

CHICAGO TRIBUNE: Former Blackhawks defenseman Steve Montador has signed with KHL team Medvescak Zagreb.

2 Comments

  1. Totally agree with you Spector re Russian etc players getting all those labels. You referred to it vaguely but I also think it is about language as well. If a player has difficulty expressing themselves or understanding questions the answers get skewed. Happens a lot when media types rely on poor translations of other countries media for news on NHL players. I also think the NA media has a tendency to cherry pick stories that fit these stereotypes so that is the under current in a lot of strie about European players.

    • Speaking of ‘cherry pick’ there’s a certain commentator on HNIC who for years has been allowed to freely promote these stereotypes and perhaps may have even invented some of them…