15 May 2007
"I can be a cultural 'racist', meaning I am quick to judge the heart of European players on occasion".
Now this is not a new bias in hockey and it seems to permeate through a lot of Canadian and American hockey people, (starting with Don Cherry).
One thought behind this perceived lack of heart, may be that European Players don't care as much about winning the Stanley Cup as much as North American players. While this seems like a terrible thing to say, let me state my point first.
I was reading an interview with a Finnish (I think Finnish, maybe a different Euro player) the other day and he said something along the lines of (i.e. paraphrase): «Growing up I didn't dream of winning the Stanley Cup, I barely thought about it. It was my dream to be able to represent my country in the Olympics and international competition and win a Gold Medal. It wasn't until I got over here that I realized how important the Stanley Cup was.»
I think it's pretty safe to say that other europeans, especially those growing up behind the Iron Curtain, would have similar experiences.
I also think it's pretty easy to recognize that even the biggest Euro loafer out there will play his heart out for his country while maybe playing hard, but not quite as intense, for the Stanley Cup (*cough *cough Alexi Yashin). While this isn't true of all Euro players, many played hard for both the cup and country (Forsberg, Alfredsson, Lidstrom, Federov, and the list goes on. etc).
Just like there are plenty of Canadian players who may not get nearly as excited for the Olympics as they are for the Stanley Cup finals. It's just kind of human nature, there's the pinnacle of your career and, let's face it, life and there's everything else. Well maybe for Europeans, the Stanley Cup is "Everything else"?
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