Why U Still Mad, Russia?

Why U Still Mad, Russia?

Corey WilsonWednesday,25 February 2015

I’ve only ever watched a handful of Kontinental Hockey League (KHL) games. And the only reason I did was because of the NHL lockout since, as a Canadian, I need hockey to survive. That being said, the games I watched were entertaining—though obviously many NHL regulars were in the lineup for those games. But prior to the 2012-2013 season, there was only one KHL team that I had any knowledge of. That team was HC Vityaz.

How does a North American come to learn of the KHL’s worst hockey team? Well, when you take the worst NHL players for a generation and throw them all on one hockey team, it’s hard to stay ignorant. For those of you who don’t know, HC Vityaz has a long history of playing a “North American” style of hockey. Which means a tough, physical style. European leagues have a reputation of playing fast, skilled, low-impact games, while North American leagues add physicality (and fighting) into the mix. HC Vityaz tried to bring that brand to their team by enlisting the help of the world’s biggest goons.

But hey, those years are over; the team has enlisted the help of many talented NHLers like Maxim Afinogenov, and Denis Grebeshkov. There’s some damn skill in the lineup. It appeared, that for once in their history, HC Vityaz was going to stop playing the “North American” style that got half their roster booted out of the NHL, and start playing hockey. With skill like that on the roster, maybe they could win the Russian Stanley Cup (that’s what it’s called, right?). If that isn’t the perfect plot for a Hollywood movie, I don’t know what is. “Team full of shit NHL players drags Russian hockey team into the gutters of the hockey world. But when the team enlists the help of former NHL stars like Maxim Afinogenov (played by Rob Schneider), nothing can stand in between them and Lord Igor’s Cup (that’s what it’s called; I Googled it this time).

And then former Red Wing, Cory Emmerton, was assaulted in the final seconds of a game. By whom?

A HC Vityaz player.

DAMMIT.

It’s a stupid play on behalf of Alexei Kudreman (the assailant), but he’s young, probably a real team player, and if you think about it he’s kind of a hero. Cory Emmerton raked in an astounding 22 penalty minutes in the NHL, that’s like four fights and probably like a stick infraction—probably a slash or something. When you compare that to former HC Vityaz players like Chris Simon, or Nick Tarnasky, the only thing you can say is that Kudreman is a fucking hero. A FUCKING HERO.

Which is exactly what HC Vityaz’s General Manager Igor Varitsky said.

“Emmerton turned out to be not a real Canadian. You can quote me on that. If you fall down and don’t fight – you can’t call yourself Canadian. Kudreman is a young kid, a true team player, and I think he’s a hero. It’s not right when he’s assaulted by 2 players – one on his right, the other on his left. They are not real hockey players either.”

Wait a second. Nevermind, scratch all that. He’s not a hero; he sucker-punched a guy with FOUR SECONDS left in the game. I played GTA IV; I know what revenge is, and that’s not how you take it. It’s bullshit to say that Emmerton isn’t a true Canadian for receiving five stitches, and a concussion from that play. Why? Because Canadian hockey isn’t about fighting, and being a loudmouth or stupid crap like that—if it was, half HC Vityaz’s team would still be in the fucking NHL. No. Canadian hockey is about toughness, and sacrifice. Ask Greg Campbell. That son of a bitch knows Canadian hockey.

When Campbell broke his leg on that play, did he lay down on the ice and cry for a whistle? No. He got up, put himself in shooting lanes, and finished his shift. Canadian.

Did Bobby Baun head home after he broke his leg? Fuck no. He got back into the game and scored the overtime winner. Canadian.

So, fuck you, Igor Varitsky. You have no idea what it means to be a real Canadian hockey player, and I have no idea why they’d name their Stanley Cup after you.

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Hat Tips:

Yahoo, YouTube, hockeyDB, NHL.com, Faceoff Circle, Image Credit: Flickr



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