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the "RUSSIAN FACTOR/NON-FACTOR" revisited

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07-03-2013, 09:20 AM
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rocky7
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the "RUSSIAN FACTOR/NON-FACTOR" revisited

With Nichushkin dropping to 10th and being drafted by Dallas, the "russian factor" again rears it's ugly head it would seem. Old ideas die hard in the NHL, the 'establishment' and it's archaic modus operandi still rules the day. Change is slow as the old boys hold vehemently to the reins. It's ridiculous to me and detrimental to hockey and to fans that enjoy to be entertained by the best talented players. It's high time that new blood and new ideas be embraced by the NHL.

A quick study looking into the so-called "Russian Factor" shows it to be of little consequence in reality.

I wanted to start this thread here hoping to get thoughts from those that may have more knowledge about this silly phenomenon.

Any and all thoughts appreciated.

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07-03-2013, 10:46 AM
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Darth Yoda
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It does not steal any russians from us. Only from teams choosing to not pick them top ten. If they want to come, it does not matter where they have been picked.

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07-03-2013, 06:03 PM
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Yakushev72
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Originally Posted by Darth Yoda View Post
It does not steal any russians from us. Only from teams choosing to not pick them top ten. If they want to come, it does not matter where they have been picked.
While there is no reason at all to believe that the "Russian Factor" pertains to top-notch players, who still seem to prefer to come to the NHL as soon as they can get there, it may be a strong factor for more marginal or on-the-bubble players who are at risk of not making the NHL club and getting sent down instead to the AHL. Many of these players get stuck there, either because they just weren't good enough or because they failed to make the adjustment to their new surroundings. Many of those players will be better off, have a better career, and definitely make more money if they migrate back to the KHL. So as long as the KHL exists in its current form, I think the Russian Factor is real for NHL teams.

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07-03-2013, 07:41 PM
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following the hurricanes it was clear that rutherford is a gm that lets the russian factor dictate his moves. some reading i did regarding nichushkin led me to believe there are many gms still of that mind set. he apparently impressed the dallas stars but it is evident to me that that factor plays a large role still.

we'll see how nich turns out but a few teams may be kicking themselves. there just doesn't seem to be a large enough sample size or precedent to support such a ridiculous bias imo.

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07-04-2013, 02:38 AM
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Quoting Zadorov he was continuously asked about vodka during the interviews. I mean, if teams still operate on that level of perception of Russia and russian players little wonder the russian factor is a factor.

In all seriousness there is for some reason a strong belief in NA, not only among fans, but also among team officials obviously that a player gets completely lost for them if he stays in Russia for a couple of years of developing and the only chance to develop a player is to bring him over right away a put him through the whole NA system. The only benefit for the players I see in that is getting accostomed to the diffrent culture and learn the language. Otherwise the players are better off developing at least until the age of 21-22 in their home country.

But that's what russian factor is in most cases. It's not even the fear that the player wouldn't come over at all, it's more the expectation to have the player in their system of development right away and thus the fear of not being able to get that, like there is no rest of the world.

What we get is in many cases a player who didn't finish his learning in Russia and got the NA system "forced" at him at age 16-19. Some manage to convert it into something useful, a lot of them just don't.

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07-04-2013, 06:08 AM
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you make some very good points. on top of that while they are developing at home, they are making more money. as well, they ARE AT HOME however and one could argue living better at a very young age (perhaps a trade off regarding learning the culture and language), not to mention having to ride around on a bus from town to town.

it's late and i'm tired but you raise some good points Atas2000.

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07-04-2013, 10:37 AM
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Yakushev72
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rocky7 View Post
following the hurricanes it was clear that rutherford is a gm that lets the russian factor dictate his moves. some reading i did regarding nichushkin led me to believe there are many gms still of that mind set. he apparently impressed the dallas stars but it is evident to me that that factor plays a large role still.

we'll see how nich turns out but a few teams may be kicking themselves. there just doesn't seem to be a large enough sample size or precedent to support such a ridiculous bias imo.
Excellent points! Its hard to say how high Nichushkin's offensive upside really is, but, at the risk of overstating the case, he has some "superstar" potential without a doubt. Guys who are as big as Mario Lemieux who have the ability to blow by defenders on the outside, get underneath their shoulder to give them a free path to the net, and then deke the goalie and stuff the puck home, are few and far between. It will be interesting to see which Nichushkin turns up.

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07-04-2013, 01:05 PM
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No doubt relative to the NHL draft, the Russian factor has a huge influence both for elite talents and more marginal talents.

Russia only had 8 NHL picks this year, which is surely in no way indicative of the talent in the age group relative to other hockey nations. Canada had 90+, the US around 60. There is simply no reason IMO to draft an 18 yr old project from Russia from an NHL POV (likewise with other European nations to extent). If they progress, take them later.

The more interesting question is whether the "Russian factor" has significant merit when dicussing top end talents. People worry about getting elite Russians over, when the evidence suggests that the elite talents generally come over. The flight risk is a bigger threat than actually getting them over. That often comes down to bad management/system development/or them not being good enough. Some NHL teams absolutely should stay clear from drafting high end Russians, because they aren't adept enough at developing young players successfuly to avoid these situations. NHL teams with patience and good development and visibility throughout their organisation should not fear drafting a player high just because he is Russian.

Since fewer and fewer younger Russian players find themselves having NHL contracts/affiliation we see fewer Russians in the AHL - something surely most Russians would agree is a positive.

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07-04-2013, 04:08 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Atas2000 View Post
Quoting Zadorov he was continuously asked about vodka during the interviews. I mean, if teams still operate on that level of perception of Russia and russian players little wonder the russian factor is a factor.

In all seriousness there is for some reason a strong belief in NA, not only among fans, but also among team officials obviously that a player gets completely lost for them if he stays in Russia for a couple of years of developing and the only chance to develop a player is to bring him over right away a put him through the whole NA system. The only benefit for the players I see in that is getting accostomed to the diffrent culture and learn the language. Otherwise the players are better off developing at least until the age of 21-22 in their home country.

But that's what russian factor is in most cases. It's not even the fear that the player wouldn't come over at all, it's more the expectation to have the player in their system of development right away and thus the fear of not being able to get that, like there is no rest of the world.

What we get is in many cases a player who didn't finish his learning in Russia and got the NA system "forced" at him at age 16-19. Some manage to convert it into something useful, a lot of them just don't.
Based on Hannu Jortikka's comments from his time in Habarovks, seems that alcohol use is fairly common among the players. Jortikka himself is no stranger to it himself but even he was shocked how many players showed up to morning training sessions hungover or flat out drunk. Because they were so called star players, he couldn't suspend them because the club bosses would over rule that. Even Jere Karalahti has said that he's a saint compared to some of his team mates when it comes to alcohol use during the season.

Re: Nichuskin, I wouldn't call him falling to 10th a disaster by any means(if getting picked 10th overall can be considered falling in the first place). Based on today's trade e.g., he may have ended up on just the right team.

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07-04-2013, 08:50 PM
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it certainly isn't a non-factor. it exists in a big way. it was everywhere surrounding the draft. these kids are getting painted with a broad brush and it's discrimination and bias that affects their careers very negatively. they aren't individuals, they are RUSSIANS.

it has negative consequences for the sport, for teams and for hockey fans that enjoy skillful hockey and want to be entertained by talented players.

while i believe that all europeans are touched by it, russians are without doubt impacted the most. i don't think it goes so deeply as to be called racist (although for some the stereotype goes pretty close) so much as perhaps political. whatever it is it is harmful in many ways and there is imo, very little reason for it. every effort should be made by all affected to acknowledge it. then deal with it. the "russian factor" shouldn't be allowed to be a detriment to the careers of the many because of the choices of a very few.

old ideas die hard in the establishment that is hockey. that said, everyone involved is responsible. russians too.

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07-06-2013, 03:30 AM
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Originally Posted by rocky7 View Post
it certainly isn't a non-factor. it exists in a big way. it was everywhere surrounding the draft. these kids are getting painted with a broad brush and it's discrimination and bias that affects their careers very negatively.
How exactly is Nichushkin's career affected negatively? Or anybody else's for that matter? I mean what difference does it make whether he's picked 3rd, 10th or even 30th?

None whatsoever.

I really don't see how the "Russian factor" is affecting anyone, outside maybe the teams that choose to go for a marginally weaker player but even that is doubtful since the draft is mostly a crapshoot anyway.

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it has negative consequences for the sport, for teams and for hockey fans that enjoy skillful hockey and want to be entertained by talented players.
One could argue that if it means Russian players will stay home a little longer as a result then it's probably a good thing both for the sport of hockey and for the players themselves.

As for hockey fans, surely you realise that while it may have negative consequences for fans in NA if a player doesn't leave his country, it will conversely have positive consequences for the fans in the player's home country. So again it makes no difference either way.

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07-06-2013, 11:00 AM
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The Russian Factor will only greater as the KHL grows. Right now teams will still take shot in the dark on a Russian they like, but in future I would not be shocked if we see Russian numbers drop in draft even more than they already have, as less team will be willing to risk a pick on a Russian from coming over. That doesn't mean they will stop picking them. Just not as many as before, and likely they will be mid to late round picks and the team hopes it can talk the player into coming.

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07-06-2013, 12:45 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Landeskog View Post
The Russian Factor will only greater as the KHL grows. Right now teams will still take shot in the dark on a Russian they like, but in future I would not be shocked if we see Russian numbers drop in draft even more than they already have, as less team will be willing to risk a pick on a Russian from coming over. That doesn't mean they will stop picking them. Just not as many as before, and likely they will be mid to late round picks and the team hopes it can talk the player into coming.
They only drafted 8 players this year. Numbers simply cannot drop even further. Those 8 on average are simply too skilled to skip them.

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07-06-2013, 03:30 PM
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If the current expansion and upgrading of junior hockey in Russia has its intended effect, the number of Russians who are top prospects for the NHL draft will significantly increase within the next 5 years. All of the top prospects will no doubt be drafted, and there may be pressure to draft in earlier rounds to ensure access to the top talent. At the same time, you might find more prospects electing to play in the KHL instead of the NHL, especially if the economic security issues are satisfied.

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07-07-2013, 02:50 PM
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Atas2000
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How exactly is Nichushkin's career affected negatively? Or anybody else's for that matter? I mean what difference does it make whether he's picked 3rd, 10th or even 30th?

None whatsoever.
what if we talk players affected the most, not Nichushkin, who is a unanimous this year's russian top prospect. Let's talk about Slepyshev. KHL draft no.1 pick, one of the leaers on the junior NT goes undrafted in his draft year and gets drafted pretty low this year. I cant tell you he was pissed last year and because of going undrafted he now is pretty settled in the KHL. Let's talk about a lot of players definitely better than the players drafted in the later rounds who go undrafted(KHL regulars). What's the point for them in pursuing a carreer in the NHL? What's the point in caring about that topic NHL GM's are talking about, commitment and hard work to prove they belong in the NHL, if nobody considers them worthy of a 7th rounder?

[QUOTE=jekoh;68827593]
I really don't see how the "Russian factor" is affecting anyone, outside maybe the teams that choose to go for a marginally weaker player but even that is doubtful since the draft is mostly a crapshoot anyway.
[QUOTE=jekoh;68827593]

Well, what are we talking about anyway? Let's have a lottery instead of that crapshot-draft.

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07-08-2013, 05:45 AM
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Also I would like to add that judging by this year's draft the 'Russian factor' is expanding and might become the 'European factor', as a lot of talented players from Europe went lower in the draft or even undrafted.

I would say it is because there are a lot of conservative GMs who prefer safe picks - homegrown players who might be less talented than Europeans, but are somewhat guaranteed that they will report. So the business logic is simple: on one side there is a less talented NA player, who will report and play at least at AHL, will generate some safe revenue to organization; on the other side - talented European that might not report at all, so there is a risk of getting no pay off at all for this pick.

I agree that it sounds archaic, but the only possible cure for this are progressive GMs that are not afraid to take the risk and are ready to do some additional work to help European players adapt successfully. Examples are already here - Yzerman, Kekkalainen - but the problem is that they haven't won anything yet.

By the way, picking European players might have some indirect business bonus too, as it might help to expand organization's fanbase in Europe, which is generally good for business. So, personally, I don't understand why not to risk with at least some lower draft pick for that purpose.


Last edited by Caser: 07-08-2013 at 06:18 AM.
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