Dear (Hockey) Diary.

I know I haven’t written in you very often lately, all that philosophy talk and a full-time job of being an asshole are really talking their toll, but today is special. First, my fellow countryman, Evgeni Malkin, having awoken from a deep sleep, proved himself to be worthy of his noble name and scored an important overtime goal. Second, my other countryman, Nikolai Khabibulin, having been forced to add an extra letter to his last name – the letter his French rival/rotation partner so mindlessly disregards – in order to survive in the cruel world of non-Cyrillic alphabet and inferior hockey, showed himself to be a real hero tonight, letting the mighty Hawks win a crucial game.


Хабибулин looking crazy after the fold:

15 thoughts on “Dear (Hockey) Diary.

    • Thanks! I didn’t want to brag but then I probably should just to rub it in – second year in a row too, although I have to say that the amount of Russian action in Stanley Cup certainty overshadowed this Championship…

  1. Extra letters – the problem is all those Russian letters with compound sounds, llike x, not to mention the мягкий знак and whatnot.

    As for notable playoff Russians let me just add a quick plug for the magnificent Samsonov and the intermittently-useful Babchuk.

    But my favorite name in the playoffs is Dustin Byfuglien, improbably pronounced “Bufflin” or “Big Buff.”

  2. Yesterday at a bar where I was lucky enough to observe Chicago’s scrappy but ultimately winsome play there was a guy with Byfuglien’s jersey – I think he was secretly delighted that almost everyone who glanced at him after a characteristics yelp he produced here and there stopped his gaze to inspect all the letters and to mentally attempt a pronunciation…

  3. To be fair, X is not really a compound sound, it’s one letter and one sounds…

    Also I was proud to discover yesterday that Varlamov gives his post-game interviews in Russian with an awkward translator who mindlessly produces such phrases as “a silly goal” (referring to Malkin’s goal in overtime) that immediately make headlines. I hope Varlamov in fact speaks perfect English and is just fucking with everyone…

  4. OK, I am having so much ‘separated at birth’ fun with the Eastern Conference series’ coaches.

    In one series we have a large, bald, thick-necked old French Canadian against a slender, corporate young Poindexter.

    And in the other series we have a large, bald, thick-necked old French Canadian against a slender, corporate young Poindexter.

  5. Apparently the NHL was saving up all the drama for Carolina/Boston game 7. I stopped wishing 2-1 had held up when the overtime was a nonstop bonanza of outstanding hockey and then Walker got his poetic reward.

    • Yeah, after that 6-2 destruction of Capitals (and I didn’t watch Red Wings-Ducks), this was a good one. Now to the next round predictions: I think Chicago vs Pittsburgh could be a nice finals series…

  6. Hi Mikhail,
    while following the Giro d’Italia on up popped this conversation about the spelling of the Georgian cyclist’s name which i thought you would enjoy:

    Sivtsov or Siutsou?
    Steve_Froth: Tim, we had to dig through some old emails yesterday to confirm the agreed-upon spelling. The team assures us that he prefers Sivtsov. “That’s what he told me!” Columbia’s Kristy Scrymgeour told us last year, when he came out of nowhere to win the Brasstown Bald stage at the Tour de Georgia.
    CPelkey: The problem with Sivtov’s name is the same as we encounter with other riders and teams from that part of the world. His name is Канстанцін Сіўцоў and there is never really a consistent translation of Cyrillic lettering into Latin.

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