Lightning go international in latest win

by Gary Shelton on January 20, 2016 · 0 comments

in general, Tampa Bay Lightning

Namestikov passes through traffic./ANDREW J. KRAMER

Namestikov passes through traffic./ANDREW J. KRAMER

Wednesday, 6 a.m.

Once, there was distrust.

Once, there was skepticism.

Oh, it wasn't that anyone doubted the talent of the Russian hockey player. Everyone agreed they were fast, and they were skilled, and they spoke the language of hockey. Still, a lot of coaches, and a lot of players, seemed to look differently at Russian players.

There was a disconnect in those days, a stereotype that left relationships as cold as the ice below. Russians were portrayed as caring less about the game, as being as unreachable as they were uncommunicative.

“Enigmatic” is a word that used to appear in almost every story on a Russian player. “Selfish'' used to appear all the time, too, in a suspicious world. The larger rinks made the Russians play with more finesse, the rhetoric went.

It sounds silly these days. But then, don't most stereotypes?

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