International Week- Strangers in a strange land-Part II

This morning I discussed the The off-ice adjustment of internationals, particularly the Russians, have to deal with when coming to N. America. I think there's another side of the coin.

In some hockey corners it's been said that internationals are soft, and that a team captained by an international is never going to win a Cup. While I think this is all hogwash, Alfredsson captained one to the finals, and Lidstrom and the Beige Wings could end up winning one before all is said and done (god forbid). Besides there's plenty of great foreign players that will become captains and some will win the cup as captain of their team. IT's just a matter of time before it happens.

But why are foreigners, and again specifically Russians, more likely to be labeled soft, or in other cases, like Alexei Yashin's, greedy. I Think a lot of it has to do with how they grew up.

Now I want to qualify my statements first. This is speculation, I do not know how people grew up. But I get the feeling that Stanley cup is revered a lot more by N. American players than players based in Europe. Sure they know about the Cup, but in N. America it is the holy grail of hockey. I suspect that in other countries it's a nice trophy, but Olympic Gold or the World Cup is just as revered, and maybe even more revered, than the Stanley Cup.

If that is true, why would a player leave his home country to come play on a different continant. I suspect many want to be the best at what they do, play among the best players in the world and rightfully see how good they are. We know them as Lidstrom's, Forsberg's, Ovechkin's, Jagr's, and Hejduk's. But if the Stanley Cup isn't the lure, and the competitive hockey isn't the lure, well then all that's left is the money. Even saying this though, I always got the impression Forsberg's GW shootout goal in the '94 Olympics meant more to him than the Cups he won in Denver. I mean he was on a stamp for Pete's sake.

I've always wondered why Alexei Yashin seemed to perform so much better in the Plympics (an event he wasn't getting paid to play in) than the NHL. To be honest I don't think he cares about Hockey, and he cares about Russia, and money.

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