Found a week old interview with Eric Duhachek who is a sports writer with the Globe and Mail newspaper by Slava Malamud (Sport-Express, Nov. 11, 2008). It's kind of weird that the interview was taken in English, then translated by 'poor' Slava into Russian, and now I have to translate it back into English again.
Reminds me of a true story that I've heard:
'In Soviet Russia' the IBM mainframes where reverse engineered to produce them in Russia. The IBM documentation was translated into Russian and then the Indians bought Russian mainframes. They could've buy directly from IBM, but Russian mainframes were incredibly cheap, maybe it was even in exchange for tea or something. So Indians came to Russia to learn how to operate the mainframes, but English documentation was gone and Russians had to bring the translators to the classes who would translate IBM documentation from Russian into English for Indians... What a nightmare!
Anyway, Slava did a good job and it was worth to reverse translate it... Enjoy!
How often it happens in the NHL when one player says something negative about another one in the press?
It is extremely rare! I even don't remember when last time something like this has happened. The fact is that Crosby's status in the NHL is the same as of Wayne Gretzky's, and nobody ever said something bad about Gretzky. Yes, it was the same with Mario Lemieux... The journalists criticized Mario because he didn't always play with full dedication, but he was never criticized by other players...
I remember a few occasions. For example, Avery recently called Brodeur a fatso. And Claude Lemieux was called not very flattering when he was around. It seems that it's all about Crosby's status.
That's true. Besides Crosby is a annoyingly well mannered kid! It's one thing to criticize the guys who always play on the brink of a nervous breakdown. For example, recently Igor Larionov and Glenn Anderson have been inducted in the Hall of Fame. A lot of guys didn't like Anderson because of the way how he was waving his stick. It's ok to criticize these players, but the players like Gretzky, they are bulletproof. And Crosby is of the same kind, the clean positive face of the league. And by the way, Ovechkin is of the same kind too. Nobody, as you know, criticizes Ovechkin.
How much of the Crosby's status is justified?
It is fully justified. Semin said that Patrick Kane's better. I often watch both and I can confidently tell you there's no comparison. Crosby is much better than Kane. Perhaps Kane just impressed Semin in a couple of games against him. But Crosby, as we know, rarely shines vs. Washington.
Why, in your view, this criticism of one player by another is so rare in North America?
The North American sports culture has changed a lot in recent years. The NHL coaches their players that they should not tell the press anything interesting. Everybody goes through something called a " media training" where they are taught how to communicate with the press. They are taught to never irritate the other team. This kind of thing is called a stuff for a bulletin board in America. The coaches often put the negative comments about their team on the bulletin board in the locker room to motivate the players. You have to maintain the motivation during 82 games long season and there's nothing better than the words of some player from Washington that you are a nitwit. Here how they are taught that the criticism of other players won't get you anywhere and that you can lose instead.
How do you think the war of the words between Semin and Crosby will end?
The whole story will quietly die. Crosby is very cautious guy. In addition, they only play four times in a season. Yes, during their next meeting the journalists will salivate on it. Most likely neither player will have any more comments and all this in no way will transfer to the ice. I would be shocked if Crosby or some other Pittsburgh player would go after Semin for a revenge.
Don't you think that Crosby is overpromoted primadonna?
Of course not. I know his family, his father always goes to a brewery to drink beer with the reporters. It's a very simple, working Canadian family. There are quite a few primadonnas among American players, who came in the NHL through the prestigious colleges or expensive private schools. Crosby grew up in a very simple environment. He is similar to Gretzky in that too, both are quiet to themselves and very intelligently react to such situations. It is unlikely that it pleasures him when someone is swearing, but I don't think that this can really make an impact.
Could Crosby say the same to the press about Semin?
Absolutely not. In fact, early in his career Gretzky spoke very sharply of the New Jersey Devils (Gretzky called the New Jersey Devils a 'Mickey Mouse' organization after a 13-4 shellacking the Oilers put on the Devils in 1983). It created such a terrible buzz in the press that since then Gretzky has never said anything critical about anyone. By the way I've just interviewed him about the new members of the Hall of Fame, Larionov and Anderson. Wayne praised both and did it with great pleasure. But as soon as I asked him to comment on another Russian who came along with Larionov, Vladimir Krutov, Gretzky didn't want to say anything. The fact is that Krutov came here in nightmarish shape, gaining a lot of extra weight, and played awful. But Gretzky would rather say nothing than tell something bad about another fellow hockey player.
Looking to order something on Amazon?
Why not through this blog to support it?