Takin' a T/O With BT: Belarus' Grabovski and Kostitsyn Chemistry Test
In sports, to be an effective team, you have to overlook the little differences.
You can hope and pray for a team nicely packaged with a neat little bow (This isn't a reference to Christmas...as far as you know) that's always going to get along and never squabble, but it doesn't happen.
I'm willing to bet that there have been very few championship teams in any sport that have ever featured each working part having a quality personal relationship with each other.
You're dealing with at least 12 different personalities, not including a coach (A basketball team) ranging to the equivalent of a small country's army, run by a coaching staff comparable in size to whichever panel chooses the Razzie's (Equivalent to a football team).
What they did have, was a great working relationship.
Off the court or field, or away from the rink, there have been teammates who have nothing in common together—absolutely nothing. In fact, some of these situations are so bad, that neither party could agree on the proper way to cook rice.
But when you get out there and start battling, everything changes.
Suddenly the extra amenities don't matter, and you're fighting for the same thing. It doesn't matter who likes blue and who likes green, which thinks How I Met Your Mother is the best sitcom running, or if it's the consistent Two and a Half Men , or whether or not Megan Fox is, or isn't, jaw droppingly hot (This is only an argument if one of the parties is married, and his significant other is in the room).
That's what professionals do in an effort to put forth the best product and achieve the most-positive end result.
That's what Team Belarus is going to need in the upcoming Olympic Winter Games.
In being the first to name their Olympic roster, Belarus has done a number of things:
1) It's taken any doubt or questioning immediately away and negated (what I'm assuming) has to be a constant line of questioning over there. It removes distractions from the players who were on the bubble and allows them to concentrate on hockey and be at their best heading in to the tournament.
2) It shows the other countries that, while their selection may be slimmer as an emerging Hockey Nation as far as National Hockey League players go, they have confidence in who they've got and won't wait around for countries like Canada and the United States to intimidate them.
3) It allows people like me to write articles like this, wondering how the hell Mikhail Grabovski and Sergei and Andrei Kostitsyn will get along.
You may notice, Grabovski doesn't seem to enjoy the company of the Kostitsyns, and Andrei and Sergei have more than replicated those feelings.
Despite the ill-will towards each other, Belarussian officials didn't really have any other course of action than to name the three combatants to the team.
For a country with just four current NHL players (veteran defenseman Ruslan Salei is the other) on its international roster, Belarus needed to add experience to its ranks.
And for a country that didn't compete in the 2006 Winter Games and is eight years removed from a monumental upset of Sweden in 2002, any experience against NHL-calibre foe is needed.
That's not to say that there's a lack of experience as goaltender Andrei Mezin brought them to the semi-finals at the World Championships last year and backstopped that win against Belarus.
Salei was also a part of that upset team, along with top talent Konstantin Koltsov and veteran Oleg Antonenko, but in international competition it's all hands on deck and only the best need apply.
Feelings for each other aside, the Andrei and Sergei Kostitsyn and Mikhail Grabovski are three of the best the country can offer, and they'll need to be on the same page.
It's a chemistry question that never got asked at the 2009 Worlds because the Kostitsyn's weren't there.
This year it'll get asked. And if the components are too combustible, there may be no miracle upset for Belarus once again.
Bryan Thiel is a Senior Writer and an NHL Community Leader for Bleacher Report. If you want to get in contact with Bryan, you can do so through his profile , or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also check out all of his previous work in his archives or at Hockey-54.com—The Face of the Game!
Also, for some reason, this never made it into the article . However, it is funny (if completely untrue, biased, and slightly off-color). You didn't hear any of this from me though.
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