Ovechkin: “I Go Through Two Pairs of Gloves a Period”

Once upon a time, the heart of the uniform system madness-fiasco perpetrated by Reebok was the absence on the part of the manufacturer of any sense that hockey, with its sweater, had always had a novel connection between player and fan. By that I mean, those colors arranged in a particular style, and housed in an Everyman’s comfort, were a novelty in all of sport, and cherished by generations of North Americans. Whatever value brought about by the company’s fashion re-engineering — and that’s seriously under dispute these days — Reebok aptly demonstrated that it never valued the wishes and allegiances of the hockey fan. Reebok just doesn’t care.
But today the discussion is far more serious than fan preferences or trashing a significant tradition. The new jerseys are destroying gloves. The new socks are destroying skates. Other than that, Reebok’s uniform system is just dandy. Last week we noted the grave dissatisfaction with them on the part of the Boston Bruins. An executive with the Edmonton Oilers more or less told a journalist in town that he wouldn’t let any child of his be caught dead in the Oilers’ new look. And last weekend, Dmitry Chesnokov of Sovetsky Sport and I solicited the opinions on the new unis of the Caps’ trio of Russians — Ovechkin, Kozlov, and Semin.
What they told us wasn’t altogether surprising, as soaking evidence mounts across the league. Still, as indictments go, theirs was sober, frank, and unsparing.CCM Gloves
“Yes, I have a problem with my gloves,” Ovechkin told us. “They become extremely wet. I go through two pairs of gloves per period.”
Chesnokov, who is reporting on this matter for his Russian newspaper and granted us access to the players’ reflections, had to ask Ovechkin again if he really meant two pairs per period. “Yes, two pairs per period,” he responded.
One of the reasons hockey trainers go to great lengths to get gear dry as soon as possible is to prevent player illness. Another is to prevent infection. Fingers in wet gloves are particularly susceptible to infections, and if not treated promptly, serious, even life-threatening complications can arise.
Chesnokov then inquired of Viktor Kozlov. “At first I explained that the Boston Bruins were not happy with their uniforms and wanted to perhaps revert to the old uniforms,” Chesnokov told me. ”I asked Kozlov whether the Caps and he in particular had any problems with the uniforms. Kozlov said: “I don’t know, no one told us anything. But what do you mean ‘problems’ ?” I started to explain it to him: “Moisture is kept on the body and drips down to . . . ” At this point he interrupted me and said “to the skates!” Actually I wanted to say the gloves, but Viktor seems to have problems with water in his skates.”
“Yeah! Yeah, I think I have the same problem!” Kozlov told Chesnokov. “Actually, I have been noticing a lot of water in my skates. But I had no idea why! Maybe this is the reason! It makes sense if other players have the same problem.”
Chesnokov then thanked him for the interview, and Kozlov said, “No, thank you for enlightening me! It all makes sense now.”
It would appear that Reebok is being less than forthcoming with the league’s players about the equipment conditions that have settled in in the league’s opening month. Or, some certainly aren’t getting word of any acknowledgment.
By last weekend Semin hadn’t skated in three full games with the Caps this season, and he didn’t express concern with the equipment. “I just focus on playing,” he said, but he did acknowledge that players didn’t complain about the “old” gear. Turns out that last weekend he also had something else on his mind — a new contract with the Caps.
“I like it here because all of my friends are here,” he told us. “I am not the kind of person who likes to move to different places. I like my teammates, the management, and the fact that we are a young team.”

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16 Responses to Ovechkin: “I Go Through Two Pairs of Gloves a Period”

  1. Dan says:

    I aked Ted about this on his e-mail. His reply was that “none ofour players have complained” about the glove/skate issue. Hmmmm.

  2. pepper says:

    Well, I’m sure Reebok is delighted that players go through so many gloves. They can now sell more gloves in addition to their crappy uniforms.

  3. al says:

    its crazy that this is the first time kozlov has heard anything about this, and that this is how he finds out. what is going on here?

  4. Meza says:

    Now that the Union has a new Chief will things change back to what they were if a lot of players come out and state publicly that they are not happy.

  5. SpartyCuse says:

    Lets remember one thing about the jerseys. Yes, they may suck in terms of the moisture issues, and wet gloves/skates.
    BUT…as part of the CBA, the players get a shre of the revenue from apparel. So, the players stand to make a lot of money on fans buying all the new unis.
    Doesnt mean that RBK hasnt f-ed up big time, and caused more problems than its worth. But, the players do stand to make some nice bank from this fiasco.

  6. P-Mac says:

    I wonder if something similar happened to Jagr during the Rangers game last night, when he broke a skate and a glove against Tampa Bay.
    I also wonder what caused his Chris Clark-like heroics later in that same game.

  7. Joe says:

    With all due respect to Ted, he wouldn’t and shouldn’t know whether the players have complained about the Reebok uniforms. He isn’t the equipment guy now is he?

  8. OrderedChaos says:

    Good point Joe — there’d have to be a significant and almost team-wide uprising for such a complaint to go from equipment man, to coaches, to GM, and finally to the owner. And as we see from Kozlov’s reaction, perhaps many uniform system issues aren’t even reaching equipment managers yet. Not to say player complaints don’t exist, of course… but I wouldn’t be surprised if many players are just assuming “that’s the way it is” at this point — though the complaints do seem to be increasing.

  9. Caps Nut says:

    Interesting isn’t how some 40+ guys (including A.O. I might add) played a game in these things back in January and no such complaints came out of that game???

  10. Gustafsson says:

    CapsNut,
    I don’t think that is an accurate comparison. The number of shifts taken by each player would not be what they take in their own games. Also, I’d bet the level of effort in an All-Star game is much lower thus generating much less sweat.

  11. Joe Fitzgerald says:

    Death to the RBK EDGE Uniform System!!!!! As a long time Pens fan, I can’t stand the way the Pens new jerseys look! It’s a total disgrace what RBK has done to the jeresys!

  12. Doc Nagel says:

    SpartyCuse claims the players get a cut on jersey sales in the new CBA. That strikes me as really weird, but I’d also like to know if anyone can verify that or tell me where I can see the players’ CBA to see for myself. (Not trying to cast doubt, it’s just such an odd idea that I’d like to see how it’s provided for in the contract.)

  13. dimis says:

    Hockey can be a potentially dangerous sport. With sticks and pucks flying all over the place, it can be fairly easy to get hurt. The way that hockey players protect themselves is by wearing protective clothing over the parts of the body that could potentially be hurt during the sport. One of the places that need protecting is the hands. To protect the hands during a game of hockey, hockey gloves should be worn.

  14. Andy Grabia says:

    An executive with the Edmonton Oilers more or less told a journalist in town that he wouldn’t let any child of his be caught dead in the Oilers’ new look.
    Just to clarify, that’s the head of the ownership group saying he didn’t like the new jerseys.

  15. danae says:

    Doc,
    Here’s the CBA: http://www.nhl.com/cba/2005-CBA.pdf. You’ll have to wade through it yourself to find out if SpartyCuse is correct about jersey revenue. Have fun.

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