Sunday, March 9, 2014

The Guide to Being a Russian NHL'er

Dear Evgeny Kuznetsov,

Tomorrow, you will be making your NHL debut against the Pittsburgh Penguins. In two days, you will be making your national television debut, also against the Penguins.

Please read what I say here: it will impact your entire future in the league.

No doubt you have heard of all the controversy Alex Ovechkin has gotten himself into, while other Russian players don't get that kind of scrutiny.

Outlined here is a step-by-step guide to surviving the jungle the NHL is to you Russians.

1. Play for Pittsburgh. Too late for that, bud. Unless you play for the Penguins or maybe the Detroit Red Wings, you will be condemned for, really, being Russian.

2. Don't Celebrate. Look at players like Ovechkin or Nail Yakupov. They play with their hearts on their sleeves, and they get criticized for it. However, players like Evgeni Malkin and Sergei Fedorov show the old CCCP tradition of no emotion. Follow their lead instead of the blasphemous non-hockey celebrations of your teammate Ovechkin.

3. Take Goalie Lessons. Being Russian, you'll have to do everything or the media will be all over you. You have to score, pass, play D, have a good plus-minus despite being on a terrible even-strength team, and if you let up in even one of those aspects, you're done. Unless you can play goalie. Maybe you'll be given a brief pass.

4. Don't Take Anything I Said Here to Heart. Go out there, be yourself, score, have fun, and treat the media like OV does: the joke it really is.


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