Tragedy in Russia, the KHL

I saw the reports of the terrible tragedy in Russia, where a plane crash killed the all but one person of the entire roster of Yaroslavl Lokomotiv. The coach, all but one player on the team, and four players from their junior division have died, and I have been mulling over some mixed feelings about writing about it.

My whole deal is snark and anti-sensationalism…or sensationalism done sarcastically because of initial sensationalism. But in this case, the news is nothing less than sensational and awful. 43 people died as the plane began to take off, carrying the team to their opening day game against Dinamo Minsk. In a few awful moments, what should have been a celebratory occasion turned into an absolute nightmare that culminated with the loss of an entire team in the KHL.

Dmitry Chesnokov has been amazing, keeping Twitter followers up to date and making sure that Puck Daddy is on top of the news. The coverage must be taking a toll on him, but he’s been plugging away since about 9:30 ET this morning. The first tweet was eerie and haunting in its simplicity.

That one person is Alexander Galimov, who has been listed in grave condition and is fighting for his life with up to 80% of his body burned (see Puck Daddy link above). There were reports earlier that he had passed, though the hospital he is in has since refuted them. There are also reports that one of the male flight attendants may have survived.

I was going to write about what this might do to me if it had been the Sabres, but I can’t bring myself to do it. The truth is I have no idea how painful this must be for the fans of Lokomotiv, the families and friends of those lost, players in all hockey leagues around the world, and the support staff and reporters who knew them as friends. Several former NHL players are listed among the dead, but that hardly matters. It doesn’t matter one bit if I’ve heard of any of these people before today or not. This is a tragedy beyond scale.

Alex Ovechkin weighed in more than I thought he would be able to.

Other players are pouring their condolences, and the scope of this event is enormous.

Of course, this does not stop ESPN from hiding this terrible news as a one line blip on its home page. God forbid we miss some news about baseball, Peyton Manning’s neck injury, the US Open, or Fantasy Football news. I don’t know what I’d do without power rankings at a time like this. It would take too much effort, or too great a measurement of testicular fortitude, for ESPN_NHL to get the “World Wide Leader In Sports” to give half a damn about an entire hockey team dying.

But, I suppose that whole “World Wide” thing is akin to the World Series…nobody gives a shit if it’s actually somewhere else in the world. Quick, ESPN, make sure you get me that update on celebrity poker.

Please excuse the drop shadow on the bottom. I usually take better care when making a quick graphic, but I was thinking about something else at the time. Oh yeah, the 43 people who died.

Snark over with. Thoughts and prayers are all I can send to their loved ones, friends, and the hockey world.




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Tags: ESPN Hockey KHL Lokomotiv Plane Crash Tragedy

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