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04-11-2007, 11:22 AM
  #1
Pensfan86
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Why...?

This question may not be a great one to put out there, so I ask that no one take offense to this but..

Why is it that Russian players seemingly have a commonality of lacking motivation and effort?

When I think of the soviet union squads in the olympics, I immidiately think of teams putting an all out effort every game, night in and night out. Why then does it seem that the more recent generation of Russian players lack this motivation that, in addition to skill, made the Soviet Union so difficult to play with? I am not saying all Russian players give minimal efforts. Ovechkin, for one, nearly kills himself every night flying around the rink. However, for every player like him, I think of guys like Yashin, Kozlov, Zherdev, etc. who are incredibly skilled, but seemingly do not care half of the time. Any inputs?

Also, I, myself, am 50% Russian, so please do not look at this post as a knock on an entire nation or something, just focus on the question at hand.

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04-11-2007, 11:33 AM
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LapierreSports
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Its very hard to find a european leader in the NHL and impossible to find a russian leader.

In my book, Europeans in the NHL are the icing on the cake, but they can never be the cake.

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04-11-2007, 11:34 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pensfan86 View Post
This question may not be a great one to put out there, so I ask that no one take offense to this but..

Why is it that Russian players seemingly have a commonality of lacking motivation and effort?

When I think of the soviet union squads in the olympics, I immidiately think of teams putting an all out effort every game, night in and night out. Why then does it seem that the more recent generation of Russian players lack this motivation that, in addition to skill, made the Soviet Union so difficult to play with? I am not saying all Russian players give minimal efforts. Ovechkin, for one, nearly kills himself every night flying around the rink. However, for every player like him, I think of guys like Yashin, Kozlov, Zherdev, etc. who are incredibly skilled, but seemingly do not care half of the time. Any inputs?

Also, I, myself, am 50% Russian, so please do not look at this post as a knock on an entire nation or something, just focus on the question at hand.


You forgot Kovalev who plays 1 game out of 4....

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04-11-2007, 11:38 AM
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ForsbergForever
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Originally Posted by LapierreSports View Post
You forgot Kovalev who plays 1 game out of 4....
and Samsonov, who just plain doesn't play

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04-11-2007, 11:50 AM
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I love russian people, and I hate when people call them *****, those guys are tough SOAB and a proud bunch but it's true that they're tough to motivate and lack the sense of urgency.

I don't know if it's politically correct to say but this most have something to do with the communist regime. Leftist state tends to take individual responsabilisation out of people. When you're being feed by the state growing up, that doesn't help you to bring the best of yourself.

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04-11-2007, 12:04 PM
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I don't think the motivation is the good way to look at it at all.

Europeean hockey doesn't focus on the same aspect of the game the north american hockey. Those players are issued from a traning program where most of the game is based on individual skills. The more individualy skilled players have a chance to make their way to the NHL. The russian training program doesn't put accent or try at all to devellop gritty 4th liners and if they do, scouts would not cross the ocean to see those type of players.

Therefore, most of the russian players in the NHL have a game based on individual skills and not much on physical play. Unfortunately, in north american hockey, if a player relate entirely on himself, most of them end up making a giveaway 9 times out of 10. Plays like that and less physical implication make most of them seems lazy while they just learn the game like that. That's not a myth that it takes an adaptation for most of the Russian players when they come over. If Kovalev had been issued from a north american program, he'll probably be a more gritty forward but there's no way his offensive skills (hands,deke) would have blossomed like they did. At the end of the day, I believe it's more a question of how do you see the game.

Talking about Kovalev, I firmly believe the guy is giving 100% at each presence but there's no gas left at all. Kovalev is a VERY proud athlete. There's no way that he play lazy hockey when he see guys like Latendresse with as much goals as him. Still, it looks like.

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04-11-2007, 12:15 PM
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While I agree it can look like guys aren't giving 100% or slacking a bit, I think we underestimate the effort and motivation it takes to get to that level. These are professional athletes who give and try a lot harder than any of us could imagine just to get to that level. They are the best in the world for their effort and skill, not just one of those. The arguement is the same for "unskilled" players. They are tremendously skilled just to get to that level.

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04-11-2007, 01:19 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LapierreSports View Post
Its very hard to find a european leader in the NHL and impossible to find a russian leader.

In my book, Europeans in the NHL are the icing on the cake, but they can never be the cake.
Then you should have seen Mikhailov, Starshinov, Fetisov, Bobrov .....play.

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04-11-2007, 01:42 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wisent View Post
Then you should have seen Mikhailov, Starshinov, Fetisov, Bobrov .....play.
The only one I saw is Fetisov....and you are right about him, but you named 4 guys in a span of 60 years....

Try naming 5 in todays league, just europeans...Lidstrom ? Sundin ? Forsberg ? I really have to search hard to find european leaders....

Nothing against them, its just a fact. Icing on the cake, never the cake....

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04-11-2007, 01:48 PM
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Originally Posted by LapierreSports View Post
The only one I saw is Fetisov....and you are right about him, but you named 4 guys in a span of 60 years....

Try naming 5 in todays league, just europeans...Lidstrom ? Sundin ? Forsberg ? I really have to search hard to find european leaders....

Nothing against them, its just a fact.
Forsberg, Alfie, AO (or at least he looks to be a great leader in the future.

Both Mikhailov and Starshinov were both very gritty and seemed like great leaders. If you watch those old games they looked like they would go through walls to win. The Big Yak was always my favorite but those two followed soon after.

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04-11-2007, 01:55 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LapierreSports View Post
Its very hard to find a european leader in the NHL and impossible to find a russian leader.

In my book, Europeans in the NHL are the icing on the cake, but they can never be the cake.
Thanks Pat Burns.

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Old
04-11-2007, 02:08 PM
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Nalyd Psycho
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Originally Posted by Wisent View Post
Then you should have seen Mikhailov, Starshinov, Fetisov, Bobrov .....play.
Notice how none of them are active?

I think it's no coincidence that the great Russian teams of the past had some great leaders on them as well.

But, I think alot of it is perception vs reality. In North America we have a certain perspective of what hard work is. While Russians view it differently. Many Russians like Fedorov and Kovalev are notorious for not giving it their all. And yet, in big game situations, they are very effective players. Their style is just deceptive.

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04-11-2007, 02:11 PM
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Originally Posted by JaymzB View Post
Thanks Pat Burns.
Hahahaha....it was well said, dont you think ?

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04-11-2007, 03:08 PM
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True, of the active players I can think of none. Perhaps Fedorov. He was always clutch in important games (not so much in the regular season though).
5 of today, hmm. Sundin, Koivu, Alfredsson and there it stops for me. There are definitely more great sportsman but that big leader only comes to mind with these 3 for me.


Last edited by Wisent: 04-11-2007 at 03:14 PM.
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Old
04-11-2007, 03:45 PM
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Slava Kozlov is a very underrated leader. He usually gives it his all(not lazy other Russians) and he has been a very clutch for the Thrashers while he has been there. I know it's hard to say he's been clutch for a team who just got in the playoffs for the first time this year but he has had countless overtime winners and he was a big time player for the Wings in the 90's.

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04-11-2007, 03:48 PM
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Kyle McMahon
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Perhaps with the end of the iron curtain and the change in Russian society has had an effect. Under a commuist regime you had to work hard for the state, and if you acted "un-communist" it was off to the gulag camp. The old Soviet national team trained year round and there was no choice in the matter. Obviously times have changed, so maybe that work ethic is no longer driven into players like it used to be? That's just my theory.

My favorite player ever is Igor Ulanov, who grew up when communism was in power. He's tough, gritty, hard-working, and will sacrafice any part of his body for the state...I mean the team. Igor would have been a great communist!

As for European leaders, I really don't think there are any in the league right now that I'd classify as "great leaders". When have Koivu, Sundin, or especially Alfredsson ever shown that great leadership that brought the rest of the team up a notch? Time and again Ottawa has gassed playoff series with Alfredsson under-performing. Sundin closed out the season with 1 goal in 20 games or something like that when his team needed him to step up and lead them into the playoffs. Over the years Montreal has repeatedly had the wheels fall off at inopportune times under Koivu's watch, and while I'm certainly not saying that it's any of those players faults, those types of things generally don't happen to great leaders.

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04-11-2007, 03:55 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LapierreSports View Post
Its very hard to find a european leader in the NHL and impossible to find a russian leader.

In my book, Europeans in the NHL are the icing on the cake, but they can never be the cake.
Sundin, Forsberg, Koivu, Forsberg, Jokinen, Zetterberg, Chara aren't Russians but they are great leaders. And save the Alfredsson bashing. I have watched hundreds of Sens games and Alfie has not been the hardest working or tied for the hardest working Sen a handful of times.

All 7 are the best players or among the best players on most teams they have been on and are also among the hardest working players.

With Russians there seems to be an actually valid stereotype. Though Ovechkin is a gross exception. and players like Mogilny in his later seasons, or Larionov were total professionals.

But go down your list of the best Russian players in the last 15 years and there are so many that fit the stereotype.

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04-11-2007, 03:57 PM
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I think it's almost impossible for a Russian trained and bred player to be a leader here. Leaders must be able to communicate with their team and English is the language used by the majority of NHL players. Canadian and American players are obviously the most comfortable with the language so its just way easier for them to step into a leadership role. It has nothing to do with leadership abilities just circumstances. You look at those old teams composed fully of Russians, or even their more recent Olympic teams. Those squads dont lack leadership, but their abilities dont translate over into the NHL game where they have a variety of players and are uncomfortable to communicate with them.

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04-11-2007, 05:36 PM
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Originally Posted by Nalyd Psycho View Post
Notice how none of them are active?

I think it's no coincidence that the great Russian teams of the past had some great leaders on them as well.

But, I think alot of it is perception vs reality. In North America we have a certain perspective of what hard work is. While Russians view it differently. Many Russians like Fedorov and Kovalev are notorious for not giving it their all. And yet, in big game situations, they are very effective players. Their style is just deceptive.
Could be they save their bodies for the big games, although there's a difference between Feds and Kovalev.

Feds could be invisible offensively but still not hurt you with his defensive pressence.

Kovalev is just a flat out floater who plays when he decides.

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04-12-2007, 06:38 AM
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Players like yakushev would go through a wall. Also guys like Makarov and Krutov would stop at nothing to win. These guys wanted to beat Canada every time. Look at clips of the '87 Canada Cup. They played so well as a team, they WANTED to win.

Ovechkin is the exception. In the 2006 playoffs there were 9 Canadians in the top 10 in scoring - the other - an American. The Alfredsson's and the Datsyuk's of the league were gone. Dont get me going on Datsyuk either. Only once a European has won the Conn Smythe Trophy. It was 2002 and Lidstrom won over what many thought was a much more deserving Yzerman. Other than that you have very little to choose from in years where a Euro could have won the Conn Smythe. Bure was close in '94, ditto Fedorov in '97. But other than that it's weak.

In '06 Staal, Ward, BrindAmour, Pronger and Roloson were the front runners. In '04 it was down to pretty much Richards and Iginla. In '03 Giguere and Brodeur. In '01 Roy and Sakic. It's a safe bet to say that the 2007 Conn Smythe Trophy winner will be Canadian. Why? Well it's happened 40/42 times. A 97% ratio is pretty good.

As for the tag of Europeans not being true plaoff performers it may be unfair but year after year the Cup winning teams are littered with Canadians/Americans. Kurri shares the record of 19 goals in a playoff year, Fedorov was clutch, Lidstrom and Forsberg were both huge for their teams and Jagr has never been a playoff slouch, but it's hard to look deep and find a ture European champion that was HUGE in his teams Cup win. Roenick a few years back criticzed Roman Cechmanek saying that he was looking forward to going back to his summer home in Czech Republic than winning. Take that whichever way you want.

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04-12-2007, 07:19 AM
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I agree with you guys who say that euros is the icing on the cake. I can only speak for swedish athleetes. But it seems that swedish athletes allways chokes when it matters the most. They can be the best in the world during season but when, world championships or olympics comes, they underachieve. I know there are exceptions like Tre Kronor last year, the soccer team of 94, Anja Pärsson this years world championships in Åre. If I where to start a franchise I would have the core of the team made up of North Americans and complement it with some offensive flair from europe.

You need good old western canadian boys to win.

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04-12-2007, 01:12 PM
  #22
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Originally Posted by Big Phil View Post
Players like yakushev would go through a wall. Also guys like Makarov and Krutov would stop at nothing to win. These guys wanted to beat Canada every time. Look at clips of the '87 Canada Cup. They played so well as a team, they WANTED to win.

Ovechkin is the exception. In the 2006 playoffs there were 9 Canadians in the top 10 in scoring - the other - an American. The Alfredsson's and the Datsyuk's of the league were gone. Dont get me going on Datsyuk either. Only once a European has won the Conn Smythe Trophy. It was 2002 and Lidstrom won over what many thought was a much more deserving Yzerman. Other than that you have very little to choose from in years where a Euro could have won the Conn Smythe. Bure was close in '94, ditto Fedorov in '97. But other than that it's weak.

In '06 Staal, Ward, BrindAmour, Pronger and Roloson were the front runners. In '04 it was down to pretty much Richards and Iginla. In '03 Giguere and Brodeur. In '01 Roy and Sakic. It's a safe bet to say that the 2007 Conn Smythe Trophy winner will be Canadian. Why? Well it's happened 40/42 times. A 97% ratio is pretty good.

As for the tag of Europeans not being true plaoff performers it may be unfair but year after year the Cup winning teams are littered with Canadians/Americans. Kurri shares the record of 19 goals in a playoff year, Fedorov was clutch, Lidstrom and Forsberg were both huge for their teams and Jagr has never been a playoff slouch, but it's hard to look deep and find a ture European champion that was HUGE in his teams Cup win. Roenick a few years back criticzed Roman Cechmanek saying that he was looking forward to going back to his summer home in Czech Republic than winning. Take that whichever way you want.
Cause there were so many non-canadians playing in the NHL before 1990. Talk about choosing your numbers.

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04-12-2007, 02:36 PM
  #23
12# Peter Bondra
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Cause there were so many non-canadians playing in the NHL before 1990. Talk about choosing your numbers.
You didnt know that Roy was European?

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04-12-2007, 04:15 PM
  #24
NOTENOUGHBREWER
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Originally Posted by Big Phil View Post
As for the tag of Europeans not being true plaoff performers it may be unfair but year after year the Cup winning teams are littered with Canadians/Americans. Kurri shares the record of 19 goals in a playoff year, Fedorov was clutch, Lidstrom and Forsberg were both huge for their teams and Jagr has never been a playoff slouch, but it's hard to look deep and find a ture European champion that was HUGE in his teams Cup win. Roenick a few years back criticzed Roman Cechmanek saying that he was looking forward to going back to his summer home in Czech Republic than winning. Take that whichever way you want.
Didnt you just contradict yourself? Saying Lidstrom Federov and Forsberg were clutch and huge for their teams and then say you cant find a European that was huge in his teams cup win?

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04-12-2007, 07:02 PM
  #25
Big Phil
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Originally Posted by NOTENOUGHBREWER View Post
Didnt you just contradict yourself? Saying Lidstrom Federov and Forsberg were clutch and huge for their teams and then say you cant find a European that was huge in his teams cup win?
Okay other than those guys for sure. And as for the above mentioned ratio of 40'42 Canadians winning the Conn Smythe being unfair then fine, let's do from 1990 to '06. That's 15/17 good for 88%.

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