Russians care more for international play
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05-22-2012, 05:23 PM
Frank the Tank
The Oiler Tankers
Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: Chicago, IL
Originally Posted by
I played in the soviet hockey system in the 80s as a kid and a young teen, i can tell you that we never ever even gave two thoughts to winning the Stanley cup or what it even was. It was nothing. We didn't know about it. All we ever dreamed about was putting on the red sweater and winning at the international level. To play and beat the worlds best players from strange, hostile and exotic places. Nothing is more important to a Russian hockey player then wearing that red sweater.
On the other hand, I know numerous NHL players and most of them could care less about winning the WHC. It is considered a "loser" tournament for players who did not win the Stanley Cup. These are guys that have played with serious injuries (e.g., broken ribs, cracked vertebrae, serious meniscus tears in their knees) just to have a chance at winning the Stanley Cup. Overall, it is no surprise that hockey players from different backgrounds/nations place different values on each competition.
North American players put little value in the WHC because it is held during the NHL playoffs. I could personally care less when it is held, but it is obvious North American players and fans disregard the value of the WHC in its current format. If the IIHF wants to keep the format the same (a tournament that is valued in Europe by players and fans alike, and yet remains an afterthought in North America) then by all means they are free to keep the schedule the same. At the same time because the WHC has a poor following in NA, the NHL has no incentive to make any scheduling changes for the IIHF. Should the IIHF makes changes and the WHC gains wider acceptance in NA (meaning more revenue available to be shared) then the NHL would definitely be a more willing partner.
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