If there is one true dynasty in the world of sports, it is Mother Nature. She is always undefeated. And unfortunately, it looks like Vlad Putin is her latest victim.
There was a time when it was just a given that every time Vladimir Putin stepped on a sheet of ice, he was going to have anywhere between 8-10 goals. It was just a given. He is hands down one of the greatest talents the game has ever seen. The man’s hands are absolutely lethal and not only is he a threat to the world, but he’s a threat to score any time the puck is on his stick.
But after only putting up 5 goals in this year’s “Legends of Hockey” game, is it time for the Russians to start worrying? I mean we’ve been seeing a gradual decline in Putin’s production over the last few years, but this is now an all-time low for him. What makes the situation even worse is that Russia just gave the guy a contract extension this year. He’s 65-years-old right now. Can you imagine how bad that extension is going to look in a few years especially if his numbers keep dropping lower? Sheesh.
So now Russia has too ask themselves a pretty tough question. They need to take a good, hard look at their organization and assess where they’re at. Because I think they’re at a point right now where if the right deal presents itself at the draft, they at least have to be willing to move on from Putin. I’m not saying you have to trade the guy right away. But you at least have to start thinking about it. If you let Putin finish out this contract, the rebuilding process is going to take so much longer. I think at the very least you need to try to pull the trigger come next year’s Trade Deadline. Send him to a legitimate contender where he can play in their middle 6, and then start working on the draft/grooming your prospects. The days of Putin being your 1C are over, unfortunately. Unless he’s able to get his hands on some Russian steroids and start doping. But I think Putin has too much character for that. Call him what you will (i.e. a murderer). But the one thing you can never call Vladimir Putin is a cheater.