Star Players May Sit Out.
A couple weeks have gone by since Slava Fetisov was selected to head up Team Russia but still the problems are growing with this team. Fetisov’s position hasn’t been made official yet, and now some players are wavering on their commitment to playing.
Fetisov’s position hasn’t been made official by the Russian Hockey Federation, even though he has the public support of Vladimir Putin, the Russian President. Until the official announcement occurs, Fetisov cannot even begin naming the rest of his coaching staff. Meanwhile, to Fetisov’s frustration, Canada and the United States have just wrapped up their summer orientation camps.
Fetisov had hoped to have staged a mini camp in either Toronto or New York by now but because of all the red tape, he hasn’t even been able to meet with anyone. One report has legendary goaltender, Vladislav Tretiak joining Fetisov on the bench.
On top of this major disorganization are overtures that a small group of elite players may decline to play in the games. Detroit’s Sergei Federov, new Leaf Alex Mogilny and Sergei Zubov of Dallas have already said that they don’t have much interest in playing. Fetisov says that he hasn’t given up on those players and he will try to convince them to still play.
Perhaps the largest problem is that starting goaltender, Nikolai Khabibulin, is also considering to sit out. Khabibulin is still angry that his ’92 gold medal was stripped from him by the Russian coaching staff. They calimed that a backup goalie did not deserve a gold medal so it was taken from him and given to a high ranking official!
“I can appreciate his hurt. I’ll do my best to get Khabibulin his rightful medal,” promised Fetisov.
If these four players do in fact, sit the games out, the chances for the Russians to reach the podium are reduced drastically.
“We’ll only invite players who really want to play for their country. My team will not consist of stars but rather, of patriots,” stated Fetisov.
The coming months will see this team either, come together or begin to crumble, just in time for the games in February.