Language Fun, Part I
While Caps fans debate what to call Ovechkin and Semin (A-Plus, Alex Squared, A1 and A2, Alexanders the Great, the A-Team, Sevechkin, etc.), and Ted trots out his suggestion (Alex 2.0), I was more interested in their different post-game interviewing styles.
Ovechkin, who has spent one season in the U.S., insists on doing his own interviews, funny quotes be damned. Semin, who also has spent one season in the U.S., uses a translator. On Saturday night, it was Slava Malamud of Sport-Express, a Russian newspaper that "makes its readers feel sporty fashionable keeping them up to date with what everyone is talking about in sports every day." Frankly, that's my goal too. I want you all to feel sporty fashionable.
(Read the paper's game write-up here.)
How, I wondered, could teammates communicate with Semin?
"It's difficult," Brian Sutherby said. "On the ice, I think he understands 'Go,' and obviously, 'Yup Yup!' And he knows his name. So, I mean, if you're yelling at him, I'm sure he figures it out."
And how much English does Semin really speak?
"Almost zip," Glen Hanlon said, an assessment Semin agreed with, through a translator. "We talk in hockey. And between his English and my Russian, we can seem to find a way to get it done."
Hanlon, of course, has coached the Belarusian team in international competitions, so he knows enough Russian "to order a meal," which is pretty good in my book. Plus, his young son is also picking up the language.
"What's green in Russian?" Glen asked him after Saturday's game. "I'll give you a treat if you tell me."
"Zelenie," his son said, and forgive these transliterations, my Russian is a little spotty.
"What's red?" Glen said.
"Krasnie," his son said, thoroughly impressing me, if no one else.
"Daddy, the Capitals won," his son said, proving that he knows what's really important.
October 10, 2006; 9:39 AM ET
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