While Team Canada finishing up the World Juniors with nothing to show for it but some wildly impressive statistics and a 2nd place medal, you could argue that the Russians had an even more disappointing tournament.
Leading up to the World Juniors, Russia was being touted as one of the biggest threats for Gold. During the group stage, they surprisingly couldn’t score a goal on the Czech Republic, and in the medal rounds they fell flat against Canada, and then again against Finland in the Bronze Medal game.
Against Canada, there was one truly bizarre story line that seemed to analogize the game in itself. While the Russians scrambled to solve Canadian goalie Devon Levi, Russian goalie Yaroslav Askarov inexplicably kept losing his stick.
It was first pointed out by Ray Ferraro in the 1st period, as the TSN commentator explained that he’d never seen a goalie lose his stick so many times. Then it happened again… and again! For two of the Canadian goals, Askarov was either without a stick or using one of his defenceman’s.
Askarov – drafted in the 1st round by the Nashville Predators – told a Russian sports news outlet the two reasons why he was having trouble with the stick, and offered up a funny solution as to how he could avoid it next time.
NOTE: This is translated from Russian to English, so it isn’t perfect.
There are two points here when it comes to club losses. Often the Canadians played very well on a nickle, and when the puck was in the fight, I went to shove it away. Second, the Canadians often deliberately blocked the stick, and I had only to let go of it in order to have time to switch. I'm thinking of buying myself superglue, glueing a stick. True, there will be a problem if you leave the gate. I need to figure it out somehow, I'll think of something. You make such an accent ... But the goals from the Canadians were not conceded because of her," Askarov told reporters.
So our best decoding of this translation is that he kept losing his stick because (1) the Canadians play well in tight spaces, so Askarov would lose his stick when he was trying to poke it out of crowds, and (2) because his stick would get stuck behind the Canadians so he would be left with no choice but to drop his stick to get into position.
We probably don’t need to clear up the solution part of the translation. Superglue is superglue. He’s right though, it would cause issues when he would leave his net (or “gate”) to play the puck.