I don’t know what it is about Russia but it seems to elude the average North American. Many were raised to hate the Soviets because of the Cold War. Now everything is kosher although we probably hate the fact that their hockey players are undeniably talented, especially come December during the World Juniors. And if you think otherwise, you’re probably Don Cherry’s #1 fan. To the left, please.
My knowledge of Russia is minimal, I’ll be the first to admit it. As a kid I thought everyone in Russia was poor and had to line up for toilet paper. As an adult I realize it’s a vibrant place, yes, yet still a relatively poor nation. And the wealthy are really fucking wealthy.
Now that NHLers are playing in the KHL I’m getting my first glimpse into life in the biggest country in the world. Sure, Evgeni Malkin’s Twitter is chalk full of insight, but he’s just one guy. Now, thanks to social networking we’re hearing tons of stories and seeing some really weird shit.
But poor boys like Nail Yakupov, who hasn’t played an NHL game, has to carry his own baggage onto the tiny planes. Our heart bleeds.