If you see some hockey player Instagram accounts, you would believe that they spend every waking hour in the summer either in the gym or on the ice working on their puck skills. It’s performative fitness, the type of personal branding that will give the training camp “best shape of my life” quotes some form of legitimacy.
Fans see these pictures and videos, and think, “Look how hard he’s working, he’s going to have an amazing season.” But every hockey player trains hard in the off-season. Sure, some might work harder than others, but you can’t tell that from Instagram, a social media site that is pretty much designed for people to put out an image that doesn’t accurately reflect their real lives.
Nikolay Goldobin, however, doesn’t seem at all interested in convincing people that he’s working his tail off in the gym this summer. His one video from the gym is of him shooting a puck into a bucket while wearing sunglasses indoors, followed by an absurdly over-the-top dance celebration.
It’s not that Goldobin isn’t working hard; he just doesn’t seem to have any interest in proving to you how hard he’s working.
All of that makes sense to me. What doesn’t make sense is the video he just linked to from his Instagram, a video that starts with one of Goldobin’s nicer goals from last season, but then just turns into him hanging out with two other hockey players. That may not sound compelling — and you’d be right, it really isn’t — but what’s utterly bizarre to me is how much work clearly went into it.
The title of the video is “NHL hockey players in Russia,” but that seems more than a little inaccurate, considering the only NHL player in the video is Goldobin.
The second player is Semyon Babintsev. He certainly plays in North America, but the 23-year-old winger played in the ECHL last season and has never even played a single game in the AHL.
The third player, Dennis Yan, is at least signed to an NHL team. Yan is a prospect for the Tampa Bay Lightning and had 23 points in 43 games in his rookie AHL season last year. But still, he’s not an NHL player just yet.
So, the title of the video is already confusing, promising us “NHL hockey players” as in players, plural, and providing us with only one NHL player, singular.
But that’s just the beginning of the confusion. Just watch.
The number one question I have to ask is “Why?”
That question comes with several sub-questions. Such as...
Why did someone make a video of three hockey players meeting up for afternoon tea on a boat?
Why does this video have the most absurd theme song to a tea party since The Unbirthday Song?
Why is Babintsev manspreading that hard with an open robe?
Why is only one of these hockey players actually shown playing hockey?
Why isn’t Goldobin’s Gucci t-shirt available for purchase on the Gucci website?
Why do Gucci t-shirts cost $500 to $1000?
I don’t know why I’m over-analyzing this video, but it vexes me. I am vexed.
If you’re thinking the Cyrillic at the end might give some clues, nope. According to Google Translate, it simply offers some appreciation for those who helped make this pointless video happen: “Special thanks to the company sytu24.on and personally Ksenia Babintseva, Kamzolovu Alexander, Skorikova Kristine.”
Honestly, I wonder if it's someone’s project for a film class. I took a few film classes as part of my Communications degree and I’ve seen projects like this: a collection of different shots stapled to the most bare bones narrative in order to prove to a professor that you have absorbed the course material and deserve a passing grade. It’s competently shot. Depending on the purpose of the project, I’d probably give him a B.
So, is Goldobin just helping out a friend in film school by appearing in his video? Did he just randomly decide to make a video of himself meeting some friends for tea? Or did someone want to capture a day in the life of Nikolay Goldobin and this is literally how he spends every day? I almost don’t want to know. I just want this weird and completely unnecessary video to exist entirely unexplained.