Thoughts on Game 7

Wow. What a great series we got to see this week. I don't know anyone who had picked them to win. But if you can force a game 7, anything can happen. Sure, the other guys might have had a couple flashy Russian players, but it really just goes to show you what a determined team can do, especially with a little help from a hot goalie. And really, in retrospect, when a team has as long and storied a history as these guys, it's probably never a good idea to count them out completely.

So, credit where credit is due: Congratulations to Ak Bars Kazan on winning the KHL playoffs and taking home the Gagarin Cup.  I think that Alexei Shevchenko said it best in the opening paragraph to his article on the KHL's english website:

"The final game unfolded as all had expected. Both teams knew full well how the slightest mistake would be punished, and concentrated all their efforts into not gifting their opponents any chances. Experience told in the end. The visitors twice breached Michael Garnett’s defenses, while preventing the hosts from doing the same to Petri Vehanen."
Of course it stands to reason. HC MVD made the fatal error of putting a Canadian in goal. The western decadence he displayed in net and his capitalist laziness made his defenses far too easy to breach. And, just as the USSR gifted East Germany to the west, experience told in the end and HC MVD gifted Ak Bars too many chances. Iilya Nikulin said it best a bit later in the Shevchenko article:
“We just kept battling. Not just for ourselves, but for the injured guys,” he said. “Unity is our strength. We never surrender when the going gets tough. That little bit extra makes Kazan what it is – not a team of one or two players, but a real, united collective.”

Keep battling. Not just for ourselves. Unity is our strength. Never Surrender. A real, united collective. This is why western hockey will ultimately fail. Do not be seduced by the star-driven bourgeois that is the National Hockey League, where working-class players become a commodity unto themselves. It is only through collective determination that a strong new proletarian hockey utopia can emerge. Long live Alexander Medvedev. Long live the KHL.

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