Recently here at Backhand Shelf I ran a story that shared a few of Michal Neuvirth’s quotes about his teammates Braden Holtby, Alex Ovechkin, and (ex-teammate) Alex Semin, as well as ex-coach Dale Hunter. Fortunately, I only used a handful of quotes and cited Russian Machine Never Breaks‘ original work, so I avoided their shit-list.

In the interview, Neuvirth said some not very nice things about the folks he shared a dressing room with the season before.

What happened in the wake of the translation by RMNB was utterly predictable: the quotes made Neuvirth look bad, so he claimed that things had been lost in translation, and it was all a big misunderstanding. (By the way, if I’m the agent of a European player, I remind them that the hockey world is small, and to not say anything they wouldn’t say in North America while across the pond.)

It wasn’t a big misunderstanding, it was a backpedal.

Capitals senior writer Mike Vogel gave Neuvirth the chance to clarify, this is what he got:

Vogel: In the translation of that interview coming back to English, you think some things got lost.

Neuvirth: There was some misunderstanding. They changed my meaning a lot. I was talking about the boys in a good way. They translate to the way they want it. I feel like they got nothing to write about right now.

There is nothing to write about right now, correct, which is precisely why you shredding teammates is post-worthy, Michal.

Yet, since the translation was done by a blog (and I say “blog” as if I were about to spit on the lowly things), a couple mainstream outlets were quick to discredit the work of Peter Hassett and his site.

Peter wrote a follow-up post to defend his work, because frankly, dismissing it without looking into it is shoddy journalism (how ironic: blog gets it right, mainstream sources get it wrong by sloughing it off). This is the fun of the internet right now: good work is good work, and it doesn’t just come from the mainstream media anymore, and that scares them (I don’t blame them). For the record “them” isn’t everyone – there are plenty of MSMers that show ample respect to the work some of us do, and that respect is returned.

Here’s a passage from Hassett’s defense:

We are not incompetent. We twice-verified our translation before publishing, and then we checked it again after our that translation was questioned. No substantive disputes to our translation were ever offered, yet and parroted the unfounded conclusion that our work was flawed regardlesss.’s Mike Battaglino chose to call us a “fan blog” rather than use our site’s name, which I interpret as a pejorative– to undermine our work, question our motives, and distance sites like RMNB from accredited media.

The defense goes on to include a passage-by-passage translation – both his own, and that of third-party “Trans-perfect,” which match up identically in meaning. Nothing was misconstrued.

So no, the work wasn’t flawed. Head over to read the full defense of the Neuvirth posts (the original posts are here and here) - it’s thorough, and explained with precision.

Kudos to Russian Machine Never Breaks for translating a very interesting interview, kudos for getting it right, and most of all, kudos for defending your work.