Russians Blaming Partying For Loss

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Russians Blaming "Partying" For Loss January 4, 2013 8:01 AM

As Team Russia lost to Team Sweeden yesterday, stories began to come out concerning some of the Russian players enjoying the nightlife of Ufa just a little to mach and a little too often.

Alexander Semak, the 1988 New Jersey Devils draft pick and current Head Coach of Tolpar Ufa spoke publicly yesterday. “My friends tell me every day that they saw one [Russian junior hockey team] player in a nightclub and then met the others in the street during a night walk,” RIA Novosti quoted Semak as saying.

Semak said that Team Russia’s management made a mistake basing the team’s headquarters out of a hotel in the center of the city. Semak alleged nobody was monitoring the players in their free time, so it should be no surprise they may have goneto nightclubs instead of resting and preparing for the games.

Semak has also claimed that he personally came across several Team Russia members in Ufa restaurants. Not that going out to eat is wrong, but if true, the team should have been eating together simply to maintain focus.

“Who is he? A coach? Of what club? Tolpar? Never heard of such!” Russian forward Mikhail Grigorenko told Sportbox.ru when asked about Semak’s accusations.

Tolpar is a meber of the Russian MHL. The MHL is a thirty team league located in 8 countries, Grigorenko’s suggestion that he had not hear of the team is not likely since they have been in Ufa for quite some time and Tolpar features on of Russias great young forwards in 1992 DOB forward Artyom Gareyev who leads the MHL in scoring. Gareyev has received much acclaim within Russia, and has brought a national spotlight on Ufa outside of the WJC.

Lets face the facts folks, hockey players have been known for quite a while to have their fun. Russian hockey players have a reputation for enjoying themselves more than some others. Left to their own devices, unsupervised players have been known to what is usually not a good idea.

Lets look at the facts. The Russians were out-shot 14-2 in the opening period by Sweeden. It took Russia nearly 15 minutes to get its first shot on goal. Russia allowed Sweden to score twice in the first 10 minutes. Does that sound like a sluggish start?

Is it conclusive of late nights out? No. Is it out of character for Team Russia? Yes. With so many world class athletes, the Russain team should have dominated teams like Switzerland before playing a team like Sweeden. It took a last minute goal in regulation for the Russians to tie Switzerland, and a shootout to win the game a few days earlier.

Some are saying that the pattern of behavior now being talked about can be matched up with the results on the ice. If this is the case, Team Russia may have some house cleaning to do.

By Joseph Kolodziej

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