So, I don't really know what to say, but we are on Day 3, so I need to say something otherwise when I'm looking for shit in another year I'll be pissed at myself and my lack of OCD. I love Russia, I hate Russia. It's a thing most of you know but I'm prefacing it for the newer people. I didn't realize other people could be like this until I was in college and one of my professors, who was teaching Russian Civ, was a Hungarian whose family was forced out of their country after countless members were murdered during the "civil" disputes between Hungry and Russia that happened. And he said it is perfectly fine to still teach people about Russia even with all that on his plate because as long as you catch your biases, you can still discuss and talk about things in a civil manner. Which always amused me not only because of the "we all hate Russians" aspect but also because I'm still pretty sure he was teasing some of the other students in the class about their obvious American politics as well.

Anyway, I'm getting distracted from the subject matter at hand. Expect a lot of links:

Jet carrying hockey team crashes; at least 43 dead
PUBLISHED Wednesday, Sep 7, 2011 at 9:12 am EDT
LAST UPDATED 22 hours and 53 minutes ago

A jet carrying a top ice hockey team crashed into a river bank while taking off from Yaroslavl, Russia, Wednesday, killing at least 43 people and leaving two others critically injured in one of the worst plane crashes ever involving a sports team, officials said.

Among the dead were numerous former NHL players, including Stanley Cup winner Brad McCrimmon, three-time All-Star Pavol Demitra and other members of the Kontinental Hockey League's Yaroslavl Lokomotiv team.

The Russian government released a list of the passengers aboard the plane. The translated list can be found here.

Both Russia and the world of hockey were left stunned by the deaths of so many international stars in one catastrophic event. Two other people on board were critically injured.

The Russian Emergency Situations Ministry said the Yak-42 plane crashed into the shores of the Volga River immediately after leaving the airport near the western city of Yaroslavl, 150 miles (240 kilometers) northeast of Moscow. It was sunny at the time.

At first we didn't want to believe it. But right now there is no hope. The team is gone, a Lokomotiv official told Russian news outlet Sovietsky Sport. )

Alexander Vasyunov, a prospect for the New Jersey Devils, also died in the crash, Devils GM Lou Lamoriello told The (Bergen, N.J.) Record.

"Words cannot express what has transpired," Lamoriello said. "I knew a lot of players that were on that team."

In recent years, Russia and the other former Soviet republics have had some of the world's worst air traffic safety records. Experts blame the poor safety record on the age of the aircraft, weak government controls, poor pilot training and a cost-cutting mentality )

In other plane crashes involving sports teams:

-- 75 Marshall University football players, coaches, fans and crew died in Kentucky on Nov. 14, 1970 on the way home from a game.

-- 14 members of the University of Evansville basketball team and coach Bob Watson were among 29 killed on Dec. 13, 1977, when DC-3 charter bound for Nashville, Tenn., crashed just after takeoff from Evansville's airport.

-- 10 members of the Oklahoma State basketball team died in a 2001 crash in Colorado.

-- 30 members of the Uruguayan rugby club Old Christians were killed in the Andes in 1972.

-- The 18-member U.S. figure skating team died on their way to the 1961 world championships in Brussels.

-- In 1949, the Torino soccer team lost 18 players near Turin, Italy.

-- Eight Manchester United soccer players died in a 1958 Munich.

-- 14 members of the U.S. amateur boxing team were killed in a 1980 crash in Warsaw, Poland


I would've added the Polish President (and others) dying last year on the way to the Forest (Katyn Massacre). But, if something beats the Marshall crash (which I had family members on) then you know that shit is terrible.

Czechs mourn players killed in Russian crash
By KAREL JANICEK, Associated Press Sep 8, 12:37 pm EDT

PRAGUE (AP)—Hundreds of mourners gathered in the center of Prague on Thursday to honor the three Czech hockey players who died in the plane crash that killed 43 people and wiped out a top Russian club.

People lit candles around a impromptu monument in the Old Town Square formed by two ice hockey sticks, with some wearing the Czech national team jerseys and chanting the names of the three players—Karel Rachunek, Jan Marek and Josef Vasicek.

in Prague on Thursday, after someone in the crowd shouted,  )

From my favorite blog; Russian Machine Never Breaks:
There are two known survivors of the crash — a male flight attendant and forward Alexander Galimov, who is listed in “extremely critical” condition according to Sport-Express.

The KHL’s season opener between Salavat Yulaev and Atlant was in progress when news about the tragedy broke, and was stopped after nearly 15 minutes had been played. KHL president Alexander Medvedev said the KHL season will go on as scheduled starting tomorrow.

According to RMNB’s Fedor Fedin, the mood across Russia is somber. Almost every channel on television is devoted to news of the crash, and grizzly pictures have been broadcast.

Meanwhile, reactions to the tragedy have come pouring in from the hockey community, and has put together an extensive, though heartbreaking, collection of tweets from League players.

As for the Capitals, the catastrophe hits close to come for some players.

“I knew [Alexander Kalyanin] well, and I also know his father Igor Viktorovich well, who was a coach for Traktor,” Evengy Kuznetsov told KP Chelyabinsk. “It’s tough to talk right now. My condolences to his family.”

Former Capitals goalie Semyon Varlamov told Malamud he was ”in shock” and couldn’t say anything else. Varlamov played in Lokomotiv’s organization for four years, including two with the main club.

“It’s kind of a scary moment,” said a shaken Alex Ovechkin, via The Washington Times’ Stephen Whyno. “It’s a whole national tragedy.”

Fellow Russian Stanislav Galiev who, like Ovechkin, knew some of the players on the team, was also moved.

Candles are lit in tribute of Lokomotiv Yaroslavl in Prague’s Old Town Square.

“I am shocked,” Galiev said, again via Whyno. “It’s very sad.”

Whyno also reports that new Capitals goalie Tomas Vokoun declined to comment on the crash, saying his best friend was on board.

“Gloomy day in DC and even worse news in Russia,” defenseman John Carlson tweeted. “Prayers to all the family/friends associated today.”

“I heard about the accident, and I can’t say anything other than what happened today is just awful,” Nicklas Backstrom told, as translated by @Rabiesmalin, about countryman Stefan Liv. ”First, Stefan was a very good friend of mine, and then that the whole team was killed in the accident. You can say nothing bad about Stefan as a friend. He was a very happy and positive person and he always had a smile on his face. The news was awful to receive and hard to comprehend.”

The league echoed their players’ sentiments.
In what should be "OH MY GOD THIS IS SO AWESOME, YANN DANIS HAS A JOB AGAIN WITH HIS BEAUTIFUL EYELASHES" news, instead is omg that's right, Danis played in Russia for a while in this article entitled "Oilers free agent flew on some scary planes while playing in Russia."
“The commercial planes were fine but when you fly charter, the planes are older. You would see some duct tape here and there but you don’t think about it too much. What can you do?” said former New York Islander/New Jersey Devils goalie who was signed to a free-agent Edmonton Oilers’ contract this summer.

Danis said they had to pile team equipment in the cabin once because there was no room underneath but it was the refuelling which made him nervous.

“We were so far away from anything; if we flew from Khabarovsk to Moscow we had to stop in Siberia to get gas because the plane wasn’t big enough for the gas for an eight to 10-hour flight. You’d look out the window and it would be pitch black in the middle of the night, the wind and snow and crazy cold. The plane would be shaking,” said Danis, who played on a team based 30 minutes from the Chinese border.

Getting paid full salary and the safety of their families has always been a concern for North American players in Russia, although Danis said he liked his time in Khabarovsk. And there were always the worries of air travel within Russia, where the safety record is far worse than Europe and North America.

“To hear about the crash is obviously surprising,” he said, “but the planes; some are from the ’80s. Unfortunately it takes something like this to happen but now I’m sure they will remove some of the planes. There’s a lot of billionaire owners over there. I’m sure they’ll be ordering new ones.”

Danis had one close call at an airport, not in Yaroslavl. “We were sitting on our plane one day about an hour before a bomb exploded that killed 13 and about 20 feet away from where it happened,” said Danis.

Just another day in paradise.

more Oilers talking about Pavol Demitra, Josef Vasicek, Ruslan Salei, and coach Brad McCrimmon )

Smyth has been on lots of NHL charters with the winds in Denver buffeting planes regularly. “Sometimes as players we’re in a rush to get out of a city. We’re thinking ‘OK, get this plane off the ground and in the air, if we have to wait awhile’ but we should always be thinking ‘let’s take a few extra minutes and make sure they’re doing the right things,’’’ he said.


I am agreeing with Ryan Smyth over something? What is this fresh hell I have walked into?

Also, Demitra and Gaborik were 'close friends' which makes sense given their, as Puck Daddy said, "rock star" like treatment in Slovakia.


“The Dallas Stars family is shocked and saddened by the passing of Karlis Skrastins and so many other young lives in a plane crash today in Russia,” said Stars GM Joe Nieuwendyk. “It’s been a hard summer for the NHL, but this obviously is devastating news. It hits home very hard here, because ‘Scratch’ was a great teammate for a lot of guys and always gave his hardest on the ice and was very much-loved by his teammates. It’s just tragic news.”


“It’s difficult. I think a lot of these guys are devastated,” Nieuwendyk said. “I think Kari Lehtonen came in this morning, heard the news and turned around and went right out of here, home. I think he was close with Karlis and everybody respected the way Karlis played for us and gave his all every night and never complained. He had a big effect on all his teammates.”

More with the Dallas Stars

Players jittery about playing in KHL

Another agent who counts several elite Czech and Slovak players in his stable – large numbers of athletes from the former Soviet Bloc countries play in the KHL – painted a stark picture of life in the 24-team league.

“I have never been a big proponent of guys going over to play in the KHL,” Allan Walsh said in an e-mail. “It’s not just the air travel. [New Jersey Devils winger] Patrik Elias almost died in Magnitogorsk during the lockout when he was stricken with hepatitis and his liver shut down. He was in a crumbling hospital packed with seriously ill patients and subpar medical treatment.”

Yes. I never, ever, ever, ever, ever have to worry about Patrik Elias going back to Russia to play for the KHL for more money. Ever.

Remembering the NHL stars of Lokomotiv Yaroslavl
By Greg Wyshynski [Puck Daddy]

Karel Rachunek

The defenseman played in the NHL from 2000-2008 with the Ottawa Senators, New York Rangers and New Jersey Devils. Patrik Elias(notes) of the Devils was close to Rachunek, and remembered him thusly:

"This is such a sad day. I knew six or seven of the guys on that team (Lokomotiv Yaroslavl)," Elias said. "I was closest to Karel. We played together on the Czech team during the lockout. And, of course, with the Devils.

"He was very easy-going. He had a tough time in New Jersey. I always felt hockey-wise he had a chance to be our best 'D' but it was tough for him. He didn't talk much so some people got the wrong opinion of him, but everyone would tell you he was a great guy. He has two little kids. It's so sad."

Rachunek had played with Lokomotiv Yaroslavl on and off since 2002.


Alexander Vasyunov; draft pick of the Devils. According to twitter (where most of my news came from), he was the first body identified. Just looking at him, you could tell that I had high, high (Holikian) hopes for him.


And say what you will about Deadspin and it's sports coverage, but they've been on top of this too. the original updated plane crash and then the "heartbreaking" hockey funeral as well.

And in other things that I should be talking about instead:

Sidney Crosby spoke about his brains. He's not retiring, but, he's also not completely healthy either because concussions are terrible things, even when they happen to people you are generally apathatic to, like, Sidney Crosby. There is also a disturbingly hilarious converstation about how Sidney Crosby is a car (?). Which should just pick up the whole "CROSBY IS ACTUALLY A ROBOT, MARIO PICKED HIM UP AT A GARAGE SALE" theory which I always support.

Speaking of hockey heroes I don't give a fuck about because I ALWAYS pick the evil Eastern European bad boy over the boring Canadian; Yann Danis has a pretty nifty new mask for the Oilers which has the "history" of the Oilers painted onto it (in an attempt to make sure he stays with the team, I assume?)

And speaking of evil Eastern European bad boy, "Teenage girls can't resist allure of Ovechkin?" is not as dirty as I thought it would be (sad face) but pretty adorable anyway because I could see myself being that person running up NYC blocks to find him!

Also, the only parts of Eastern PA that I actually LIKE are now getting the flooding that we had last (last?) week. Terrible =/

Finally, while I am still in this fresh glow of "public posting?!" Tie Domi, THE Tie Domi, has a message to all of you.

"People think depression is a weakness. It's not a weakness. It's a negative state of mind that produces chemical changes in the brain. It's important that people realize that if they want to help. We have to send the message that depression can be beaten." -- said as he was going to Wade Belak's funeral in Nashville.

March 2012

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