For hockey fans of my vintage that grew up admiring the stoic, robotic, almost emotion free brilliance of the Soviet hockey system, watching the individualist and almost selfish diva-like flare of current Russian stars like Alexander Ovechkin is tough to accept. The beautiful dedication to the Soviet ideal of how hockey should be played absolutely fascinated me
Roy MacGregor of The Globe And Mail has a fantastic article looking at the evolution of the Russian hockey star.
“Individual enterprise was alien to the Soviet way and to the 1972 Soviet hockey team,” Martin says. “The Russian game, until the system changed, was based on the collective philosophy. Players were confined to training camp barracks year around. They were trained to keep emotions under control.”