If you thought the arms race between the U.S. and Russia crumbled with the Berlin Wall, think again. In recent days, U.S. sports have rolled out an unprecedented display of celebratory muscle—breaking out ice-laden chains, giant Ticonderoga No. 2s and D-II pimp canes in celebration of the almighty turnover. Russia's sleeper cells have clearly taken note, however, because on Wednesday our global nemesis fired a retaliatory shot, with VHL hockey team Izhstal unveiling an actual AK-47 as their new player-of-the-game trophy. Somewhere Gilbert Arenas is strapping on a pair of skates.
Originally designed by Soviet Union general Mikhail Kalashnikov, the Avtomat Kalashnikova, or AK-47, was officially introduced in 1948 and quickly became one of the most infamous, widely circulated assault rifles on earth. In the early aughts, Jazz center Andrei Kirilenko ushered the weapon into the American sports mainstream, earning the nickname AK-47 as a homage to his Russian heritage, initials, and, of course, the number 47 that he donned throughout his career. Not to content to have their beloved killing machine co-opted by the Yanks, however, Russia has now set out to reclaim its national icon, gifting it to Izhstal goalie Savely Kononov, who proudly (and perhaps a bit nervously) accepted the token after posting 36 saves in a 3-2 victory over Chelmet.
Meanwhile, out in Corvalis, a new space race is underway, with the Oregon State Beavers battling Izhstal to be the first nation to suffer a sideline tragedy at the hands of a celebratory prop. Stay tuned to The Loop for more as this international rivalry develops.