The Inquirer sent Frank Fitzpatrick to Sochi… to do things like cover the USA-Russia game from a bar. While the merits of business decisions like that are debatable, Fitzpatrick’s story turned out to be both unique and entertaining. He was one of only a few English speaking patrons at a no-name bar with a palm tree on its sign just four and a half miles north of the center ice dot that kept serving up pucks to T.J. Oshie. One gracious patron translated the comments of a pissed off bald Russian guy:
He gave his name as Vasily and agreed to translate for me.
“That one,” he said, pointing to the bald man, “thinks he is a hockey teacher. He said Malkin was passing too much and that he must shoot more because the American goalkeeper is very weak.”
Noticing we were discussing him, the bald man looked quizzically at Vasily, who informed him I was a sportswriter from Philadelphia.
“Ah, Philadelphia. Flyers no sportsmen,” the bald man, who obviously recalled the Red Army team’s walking off the Spectrum ice in 1976, said in English far superior to my Russian.
When there was an animated physical scrum in front of U.S. goaltender Jonathan Quick, the room hummed excitedly. The noise increased when American Dave Backes, checked hard from behind, sprawled onto the ice.
“Hoo-hoo!” yelled one young fan.
Ah, Adler. Russians no sportsmen.
“They are saying they think the Americans try to bully us,” Vasily explained.
It’s our culture, bald guy. It’s our culture.