July 17, 2021

Russians Play Crucial Role in NHL Championship


Russians Play Crucial Role in NHL Championship
The star of the NHL this year, Tampa Bay Lightning goaltender Andrei Vasilevsky. Wikimedia Commons user Michael Miller

The Tampa Bay Lightning just won the NHL championship for the second year in a row. As always in the NHL, Russians were involved. In fact, the Stanley Cup championship-winning and playoff-MVP-trophy-winning goaltender is a guy from the Siberian city of Tyumen: Andrei Vasilevsky.

Only a year and a half ago, Vasilevsky was featured on the cover of The Hockey News as "the NHL's new crease king" – the crease being the blue semicircle in front of the net. His father of the same name was a goaltender in the Russian Superleague.

During these four-round playoffs, Vasilevsky was accused of having more-than-regulation goaltender padding in what the New York Post called "the NHL's dumbest controversy." The publication concluded that it was just a matter of the camera adding 10 pounds. Actually, it is a pretty hilarious photograph and Twitter conversation, here. Extra padding or not, Vasilevsky is recognized by many as the world's top goaltender at the moment.

Living in coastal Florida as they do, the championship-winning Lightning scheduled a celebration boat parade. During the parade, 26-year-old Vasilevsky put his playoff MVP trophy (the Conn Smythe) on his head, and one sports reporter called it the "lasting image of the 2021 NHL season," a season plagued by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Check out the parade video of the team's second-most famous Russian, Nikita Kucherov, or Kuch (pronounced "Cooch"), from Maykop. Kucherov said that the league's best goaltender trophy (the Vezina) was stolen from "Vasy" – a move that Kucherov called "Number One Bullshit." (How do you translate that into Russian?) At any rate, the phrase has already been turned into a meme-t-shirt, which "Vasy" wears along with the trophy on his head at the parade.

There is one more Russian on the winning team, Mikhail Sergachev from Nizhnekamsk.

Maybe all the memetic shenanigans being generated by the winning Russians will help put hockey on the map for American sports fans – many of whom know nothing about hockey.

Something else that happened at the boat parade: the 128-year-old Stanley Cup got majorly dented. As far as we know, the Russians had nothing to do with that.

You Might Also Like

KHL Victor Crowned
  • May 23, 2021

KHL Victor Crowned

Omsk Avangard clinches Russian hockey's Gagarin Cup with some famous NHL faces.
Not-Russia Does Great Figure Skating
  • April 25, 2021

Not-Russia Does Great Figure Skating

The non-doping "Russia" won three out of four events at the recent world figure skating championships and swept the ladies' podium.
New Life Breathed into the Museum of Hockey
  • February 28, 2021

New Life Breathed into the Museum of Hockey

Moscow's stunning Museum of Hockey and Hockey Hall of Fame is a hidden gem with new investors ready to keep it going – hopefully for a long time to come.
Like this post? Get a weekly email digest + member-only deals

Some of Our Books

Driving Down Russia's Spine

Driving Down Russia's Spine

The story of the epic Spine of Russia trip, intertwining fascinating subject profiles with digressions into historical and cultural themes relevant to understanding modern Russia. 
Jews in Service to the Tsar

Jews in Service to the Tsar

Benjamin Disraeli advised, “Read no history: nothing but biography, for that is life without theory.” With Jews in Service to the Tsar, Lev Berdnikov offers us 28 biographies spanning five centuries of Russian Jewish history, and each portrait opens a new window onto the history of Eastern Europe’s Jews, illuminating dark corners and challenging widely-held conceptions about the role of Jews in Russian history.
Bears in the Caviar

Bears in the Caviar

Bears in the Caviar is a hilarious and insightful memoir by a diplomat who was “present at the creation” of US-Soviet relations. Charles Thayer headed off to Russia in 1933, calculating that if he could just learn Russian and be on the spot when the US and USSR established relations, he could make himself indispensable and start a career in the foreign service. Remarkably, he pulled it of.
The Little Humpbacked Horse

The Little Humpbacked Horse

A beloved Russian classic about a resourceful Russian peasant, Vanya, and his miracle-working horse, who together undergo various trials, exploits and adventures at the whim of a laughable tsar, told in rich, narrative poetry.
Fearful Majesty

Fearful Majesty

This acclaimed biography of one of Russia’s most important and tyrannical rulers is not only a rich, readable biography, it is also surprisingly timely, revealing how many of the issues Russia faces today have their roots in Ivan’s reign.
Marooned in Moscow

Marooned in Moscow

This gripping autobiography plays out against the backdrop of Russia's bloody Civil War, and was one of the first Western eyewitness accounts of life in post-revolutionary Russia. Marooned in Moscow provides a fascinating account of one woman's entry into war-torn Russia in early 1920, first-person impressions of many in the top Soviet leadership, and accounts of the author's increasingly dangerous work as a journalist and spy, to say nothing of her work on behalf of prisoners, her two arrests, and her eventual ten-month-long imprisonment, including in the infamous Lubyanka prison. It is a veritable encyclopedia of life in Russia in the early 1920s.
At the Circus

At the Circus

This wonderful novella by Alexander Kuprin tells the story of the wrestler Arbuzov and his battle against a renowned American wrestler. Rich in detail and characterization, At the Circus brims with excitement and life. You can smell the sawdust in the big top, see the vivid and colorful characters, sense the tension build as Arbuzov readies to face off against the American.
White Magic

White Magic

The thirteen tales in this volume – all written by Russian émigrés, writers who fled their native country in the early twentieth century – contain a fair dose of magic and mysticism, of terror and the supernatural. There are Petersburg revenants, grief-stricken avengers, Lithuanian vampires, flying skeletons, murders and duels, and even a ghostly Edgar Allen Poe.
Steppe / Степь

Steppe / Степь

This is the work that made Chekhov, launching his career as a writer and playwright of national and international renown. Retranslated and updated, this new bilingual edition is a super way to improve your Russian.
Murder and the Muse

Murder and the Muse

KGB Chief Andropov has tapped Matyushkin to solve a brazen jewel heist from Picasso’s wife at the posh Metropole Hotel. But when the case bleeds over into murder, machinations, and international intrigue, not everyone is eager to see where the clues might lead.
Moscow and Muscovites

Moscow and Muscovites

Vladimir Gilyarovsky's classic portrait of the Russian capital is one of Russians’ most beloved books. Yet it has never before been translated into English. Until now! It is a spectactular verbal pastiche: conversation, from gutter gibberish to the drawing room; oratory, from illiterates to aristocrats; prose, from boilerplate to Tolstoy; poetry, from earthy humor to Pushkin. 

About Us

Russian Life is a publication of a 30-year-young, award-winning publishing house that creates a bimonthly magazine, books, maps, and other products for Russophiles the world over.

Latest Posts


Our Contacts

Russian Life
PO Box 567
Montpelier VT 05601-0567

802-223-4955