New Jersey Devils: Yegor Sharangovich Flips The Bird At World Championships, Apologizes

Belarus' Yegor Sharangovich . (Photo by Jonathan NACKSTRAND / AFP via Getty Images)
Belarus' Yegor Sharangovich . (Photo by Jonathan NACKSTRAND / AFP via Getty Images) /

There was a little bit of controversy at the World Championships on Friday. Yegor Sharangovich was named the captain of Team Belarus and they were playing one of their big rivals in Slovakia. Sharangovich came to play, scoring two goals but it wasn’t enough to win the game. In fact, both goals came when the score was 4-0 and 4-1 in the third period.

He was named captain despite having 12 players on the roster over the age of 30. It was definitely an honor for the 22 year old who is coming off a breakout season with the New Jersey Devils. However, Sharangovich didn’t really uphold that honor as one would expect.

The situation should have been about his huge performance against a rival, but then he made one move that had everyone talking. He gave the middle finger to the Slovakia bench after scoring one of his goals. Obviously, that shows bad sportsmanship and isn’t the type of leadership one would expect from a captain. On the other hand, not everyone hated it. In fact, the Devils fanbase seemed to get behind the act.

So, here’s the thing. Sharangovich was losing at the time of the motion. Obviously, he’s the best guy on his team, which is why he was named captain. He was the only person to score a goal and he did it twice. However, if he flipped off a bench while down two goals in the NHL, the reaction would be much different. That includes the reaction on the ice and off of it. For one, someone would definitely fight him. So that’s not what you want from your 22-year-old scoring forward. Also, it would be the only thing anyone on hockey Twitter talked about. Every major podcast would discuss it. It would be all any Devils player would have questions about for a week.

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This is the IIHF World Championships, so the coverage is different. It also happened at the same time Latvia beat Canada, so when it came to the WC, that was all anyone was paying attention to. So, Sharangovich can learn from this without much blowback, and his apology after the game shows he probably understands that.

It was definitely a smart move to apologize. He made a move out of frustration. Who knows what else happened before that in which he felt said frustration, but the fact of the matter is he flipped off an entire bench in a tournament that’s trying to move past dangerous plays. A fight in the IIHF comes with a match penalty, so it’s usually not worth it. Sharangovich will learn, but it’s great to see this kind of passion. Hopefully, the next time he’s in the news it’s for something he did in a win.