Since the 1980s, the Russian government has taken umbrage with Soviet hockey players defecting to the NHL. Whether it was Mikhail Gorbachev’s minister of defense threatening internal exile of Red Army National team star Viacheslav “Slava” Fetisov or the creation of the government influenced KHL, the Russkies have always endeavored to prevent their native sons from seeking the glory of playing for the Stanley Cup.
Now, The New York Rangers Blog has received leaked documentation of a possible new Russian scheme.
Yes, that my friends is a photo of a younger Alain Vigneault palling around with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
You see, Putin is notoriously known for being the most hockey crazed of all the Russian dictators, so it’s no surprise that he’d seek to infiltrate the NHL to win back his former comrades.
Obviously, a photo of the Rangers head coach conversing with the Russian President isn’t enough to prove potential international espionage, however, based on the 30,000 e-mails my friend at WikiLeaks was able to uncover from Vigneault’s private home server, there’s reason to believe AV is in fact a Putin puppet placed in the NHL to persuade Pavel Buchnevich to return to the former Soviet Union.
While I have been unable to authenticate the above e-mail, FBI wiretaps of Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak have uncovered some additional mischief.
Apparently, last offseason Vigneault strongly advocated for the AHL’s Charlotte Checkers to hire Ulf Samuelsson as their new head coach to get him out of the Rangers organization ahead of Buchnevich arriving in New York. According to the FBI, during Samuelsson’s time coaching in the Swedish Elite League, he earned a reputation of favoring Russian players and Vigneault was concerned his assistant coach would have a comforting affect on Buchnevich.
Sure, this all seems like incriminating evidence, but where’s the smoking gun? Yes, AV has healthy scratched Buchnevich a few games and even demoted him to the AHL, but for the most part he’s been a mainstay in the line-up this season. So until I see Vigneault do the unimaginable and play Tanner Glass over Buchnevich, I’ll just assume this is nothing more than Russian propaganda aimed to distract us from the failing KHL.
Oh. My. God.