I admit, my first reaction to Klim Kostin’s response to losing to Team USA at the World Juniors by a score of 2-1 wasn’t focused on his maturity.
Someone needs to have a discussion with him. Now. Be passionate, but don't be a poor sport. https://t.co/sTL4GSIELM— Laura (@hildymac) January 5, 2019
To be 100% honest, it also wasn’t focused on his “fuck you” to the Canadian fans who, as Chris Kerber pointed out on Twitter, are generally awful to their own players let alone anyone else’s.
My concern was mostly for the helmet toss. That was the behavior that made me raise an eyebrow. Yes, it’s passion, and God knows we all want to see that in a Blues prospect before this team drains it out of him like the hope succubus that it is. But holding on to that behavior at the NHL level, especially as a Russian, is going to get him branded all sorts of things that he won’t want to deal with. Canadians get labeled with “passionate.” Russians get labeled with “baby.”
The dumbest thing about all of this is that there shouldn’t be a label, because Klim Kostin - like most of the rest of the players at the World Juniors - is a flipping teenager. He’s 19. Yes, that’s an “adult” but not brain development-wise and not emotion-wise. He’s not 40.
I’ve chosen to surround myself with hundreds people who are teenagers 180 days a year for the past 15 years (it’s more fun than it sounds), and I’ve seen kids react worse to less frustrating circumstances. Missing this point is why I’ve made it a point not to watch the World Juniors for years now. The pressure that is placed on these players is absurd. It’s not a prospect tournament anymore; it’s hazing. I’m curious as is anyone as to how these kids will play, but it really does frustrate me to see an entire nation come down on a group of kids who basically just graduated high school.
To his part, Kostin released an apology that was more mature than anything I’ve seen from an adult on social media in years. Maybe there’s not that much to worry about after all.