"Let's" in Chinese

Oct. 20th, 2017 04:08 am
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Posted by Victor Mair

Advertisement recently spotted by Guy Freeman in the Central, Hong Kong MTR (subway) station:

It's a mixture of Chinese and English, of simplified and traditional characters.  In this post, I will focus on the calligraphically written slogan on the right side of the poster:

Hǎinèi cún 'zhī'jǐ, let's zhīfùbǎo


This slogan is not easy to translate.  Consequently, before attempting to do so, I will explain some of the more elusive aspects of these two clauses / lines.

First of all, the zhī 支 inside single Chinese quotation marks in the first clause has more than two dozen different meanings, including "support, sustain, raise, bear, put up, prop up, draw money, pay, pay money, disburse, check / cheque, defray, protrude, put off, put somebody off, send away, branch, stick, offshoot, twelve earthly branches, a surname, division, subdivision, auxiliary verb, measure word for troops".  For the moment, I'll refrain from attempting to translate it in the present context.

In the second clause, zhī 支 is part of the disyllabic word zhīfù 支付 ("pay [money]; defray"), which, in turn, is part of the trademark Zhīfùbǎo 支付宝 ("Alipay", China's clone of PayPal).  Being the name of a company, Zhīfùbǎo 支付宝 ("Alipay") is a noun.  However, since it here follows "let's" to form a first person plural command, it is acting as a verb:  "let's Zhīfùbǎo 支付宝" ("let's Alipay").

When we realize that the first clause is a literary allusion, it gets even trickier.  The first clause is perfectly homophonous with and echoes the first line of this couplet by the Tang poet, Wang Bo 王勃 (650-676):

hǎinèi cún zhījǐ, tiānyá ruò bǐlín

海内存知己, 天涯若比邻

"When you have a close friend in the world, the far ends of heaven are like next door."

Thus 'zhī'jǐ「支」己 (lit., "pay self") is a pun for zhījǐ 知己 ("bosom / close / intimate friend; confidant[e]; soulmate", lit., "know-self").

I would translate the whole couplet this way:

"You have a bosom friend (pay pal) everywhere, let's Alipay"

Guy notes that the ad "is from Alipay, a subsidiary of Alibaba, a very large Internet company from China. This shows the occasional outbursts from Chinese officials about defeating English to be useless at best."

Last question:  why did they use the English word "let's" instead of the equivalent Mandarin, "ràng wǒmen 让我们" or "ràng wǒmen yīqǐ 让我们一起"?  But that's three or five syllables instead of one, so it sounds clumsy and clunky instead of neat and crisp the way an ad should be.

If they wanted to avoid the English "let's" and use only Chinese, they could have written something like this:

yīqǐ Zhīfùbǎo 一起支付宝 ("together Alipay")

To tell the truth, in terms of rhythm, idiomaticity, and catchiness, that actually sounds better than "let's Zhīfùbǎo 支付宝 ('let's Alipay')" when paired with "Hǎinèi cún 'zhī'jǐ 海内存「支」己" ("You have a bosom friend [pay pal] everywhere").

Bottom line:  they wanted to sound international, since Alipay has global aspirations.

There have been many earlier posts on multiscriptalism and multilingualism involving numerous languages and scripts.  Here are some that specifically feature Chinese:

This is not an exhaustive list.

[Thanks to Fangyi Cheng, Yixue Yang, and Jinyi Cai]

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Posted by Kyle Cantlon

Edmonton Oilers superstar Connor McDavid made an early bid for pass of the year with a ridiculous dish against the Blackhawks. (Liam Richards/The Canadian Press via AP)

Connor McDavid’s speed and vision was on full display once again Thursday, to absolutely nobody’s surprise.

After picking up the puck at full speed at the Oilers’ blueline, McDavid turned on the jets and barrelled toward the Blackhawks’ all-world defence duo of Duncan Keith and Brent Seabrook. As he often does, McDavid made the elite pairing look like amateurs as he combined a slick spin move with a ridiculous no-look pass to Patrick Maroon, who promptly tapped a gift into the open net.

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McDavid has been a bright light in a dark start to the season for the Oilers, tallying seven points in six games so far. The Oilers came into action Thursday with just one win and sitting second-last in the Pacific.

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Posted by Victor Mair

In the comments to "Easy versus exact" (10/14/17), a discussion of the term "Hànzi 汉子" emerged as a subtheme.  Since it quickly grew too large and complex to fit comfortably within the framework of the o.p., I decided to write this new post focusing on "Hàn 汉 / 漢" and some of the many collocations into which it enters.

To situate Language Log readers with some basic terms they likely already know, we may begin with Hànyǔ 汉语 ("Sinitic", lit., "Han language"), Hànyǔ Pīnyīn 汉语拼音 ("Sinitic spelling"), and Hànzì 汉字 ("Sinograph, Sinogram", i.e., "Chinese character").  All of these terms incorporate, as their initial element, the morpheme "Hàn 汉 / 漢".  Where does it come from, and what does it mean?

"Hàn 汉 / 漢" is the name of a river that has its source in the mountains of the southwest part of the province of Shaanxi.  It is the longest tributary of the Yangtze River, which it joins at the great city of Wuhan.  The fact that Han is a river name is reflected in the water semantophore on the left side of the character that is used to write it.

The name of the river was adopted by Liu Bang (256-195 BC), the founding emperor, as the designation for his dynasty (206 BC-220 AD) — more specifically, the dynasty was named after Liu Bang's fiefdom Hànzhōng 汉中 / 漢中 (lit. "middle of the Han River").  After the Qin (221-206 BC), from which the name "China" most likely derives, the Han was the second imperial dynasty in Chinese history.  Because the fame of the Han Dynasty resounded far and near, it came to be applied to the main ethnic group of China, as well as the language they spoke and the characters used to write it.  Note that there could have been no Han ethnicity or nation before the Han Dynasty.

After the Han Dynasty fell, many of the dynasties that ruled in the northern part of the former empire during the following centuries were non-Sinitic peoples (proto-Mongols, proto-Turks, etc.) who actually looked down upon their Han subjects.  During that period, in their mouths, "Hàn 汉 / 漢" became a derogatory term, especially in collocations such as Hàn'er 汉儿 and Hànzi 汉子, which we might think of as meaning something like "Han boy / fellow / guy".  Such terms derived from "Hànrén 汉人 (漢人)" ("Han people"), which generally became a respectable designation again after the collapse of the northern dynasties.  It is remarkable, however, that during the Yuan Dynasty (1271-1368), when the Mongols ruled over China, non-Sinitic peoples such as the Khitans, Koreans, and Jurchens were referred to as "Hànrén 汉人 (漢人)" ("Han people").

Here are some terms in Mandarin that are based on the Han ethnonym but refer to different types of people in various ways:

hànzi 汉子    39,300,000 ghits

1. man; fellow

2. husband

3. Historically, as mentioned above, during the Northern Dynasties (386-577), hànzi 汉子 was a derogatory reference for Sinitic persons used by non-Sinitic peoples (who were rulers in the north at that time).

nánzǐhàn 男子汉 ("a real man")    11,600,000 ghits

nǚ hànzi 女汉子 ("tough girl")    7,180,000 ghits

dà nánzǐhàn 大男子汉 ("a big guy; macho man")    53,100 ghits

Comments by native speaker informants:

In terms of nǚ hànzi 女汉子, I think your translation "tough girl" sounds good! But sometimes it conveys a slight derogation to women with traits which are conventionally attributed to men, such as strong physical strength, independent mode of life, and tough personality, etc. In this sense, I would like to say "nǚ hànzi 女汉子" might also be "a masculine woman / female".

I know all these terms and I agree with all your translations. However, I also think that nǚ hànzi 女汉子could mean "tomboy" (girls who can do things that men can do). I once saw a translation of nǚ hànzi 女汉子as wo-man. I think that’s interesting too.

I think the term nǚ hànzi 女汉子 emerged only in the last few years in the Chinese-speaking world. So it is a bit difficult for someone like me who has been living outside for the last forty years to accurately tell its exact meaning. If it applies to young women only, then "tomboy" may not be too far off.

See also:

"What does the Chinese word '女漢子' mean?" (Quara)

"Renewal of the race / nation" (6/24/17)

Joshua A. Fogel, "New Thoughts on an Old Controversy: Shina as a Toponym for China", Sino-Platonic Papers, 229 (August, 2012), 1-25 (free pdf)

Victor H. Mair, "The Classification of Sinitic Languages: What Is 'Chinese'?, in Breaking Down the Barriers:  interdisciplinary studies in Chinese linguistics and beyond (Festschrift for Alain Peyraube), pp. 735-754 (free pdf), esp. pp. 739-741.

[Thanks to Yixue Yang, Jinyi Cai, Sanping Chen, and Jing Wen]

Link In Park

Oct. 19th, 2017 09:00 pm
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By dnacreativedesign
Hy guys, this is my new design, Link In Park Mashup Jurassic Park. Vote for this design, and make this design become a T-shirt.

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Posted by By Jason Mackey / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

CORAL SPRINGS, Fla. — Matt Murray has a shutout and a 43-save gem on his 2017-18 ledger, but they may not be the games the Penguins goaltender holds in highest regard.

Much nonfiction

Oct. 19th, 2017 04:22 pm
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Jennifer Wright, Get Well Soon: History’s Worst PlaguesRead more... )
Arkady Ostrovsky, The Invention of Russia: From Gorbachev to Putin: How things went wrong in Russia, with the failure of democratic reformers to put in a structure that could survive the transfer of power. Very few heroes here.

Hillary Clinton, What HappenedCue gross sobbing )
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Richard V. Reeves, Dream Hoarders: How the American Upper Middle Class Is Leaving Everyone Else in the Dust, Why That Is a Problem, and What To Do About ItIt me )

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Jesse Eisinger, The Chickenshit ClubRead more... )

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Posted by Ryan Lambert

The New York Rangers are off to a horrendous start. (Getty)

It has been a strange start to the season.

While a lot of teams we thought were going to be good (Tampa, Pittsburgh, Toronto, Columbus, Chicago) are indeed good, so too are teams we could have never expected. Colorado? Detroit? New Jersey? Vegas?

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What’s going on out there? Obviously a lot of this can be chalked up to luck, but you knew that already. But is there more to it than all that? Let’s find out together.

Telfo asks: “Surely Vegas isn’t actually extremely good, but are they actually better than what we thought they would be?”

Surely not. However, there’s a big “but” here, and I cannot lie.

BUT: Vegas looks better than they have any right to, based on the quality of that roster. And I don’t just mean in terms of wins and losses, or goals for and against.

In terms of adjusted corsi share, they’re at 48.3 percent, good for 20th in the league heading into Wednesday night. But that’s only an average of getting out-attempted by a little more than two a game, and I don’t think anyone would have said that was gonna happen. The other stats aren’t as kind to them, but they’re keeping up with the competition in that one regard.

Goes without saying that their PDO is extremely high right now — fourth in the league — and they are assuredly not going to continue either shooting 11-plus percent or stopping 93.6 percent of the shots they face at 5-on-5. (The same, it must be noted, goes for everyone’s favorite upstart Devils. They’re shooting the same but getting better goaltending. That won’t last either.)

Also, keep in mind their quality of competition for most of Vegas’s games (Arizona twice, Detroit, Boston, Buffalo). Once they get into the more difficult stretches of the schedule, things will get a little hairier.

But hey, it’s a great way to get everyone excited right off the bat. They led their division for a good week at the start of the year! Cool.

James asks via email: Is there any one metric that you think is the best proxy for a skater’s value?”

Obviously, in an ideal universe, the answer is “WAR” but there’s not really a nailed-down version of WAR everyone agrees upon. That metric would have to account for quality of teammate and competition, deployment, special-teams time, and so on, plus get to the actual value of every shot attempt for and against, and its result, then maybe even account for good or bad luck. Not easy.

Until that time, I’m gonna say there’s no one single number I buy into fully and completely. There can’t be. However, I think expected-goals percentage does a good job of at least approximating how much a guy does to push play in the right direction, and either generate or suppress shot quality. It’s not perfect, but it can be quite telling.

Christopher asks: Exactly how bad are the Rangers, really? How do they fix it?”

They’re not great, certainly, but I think everyone would agree that they’re also not “1-5-1” bad.

They are, however, in the bottom 10 in the league in terms of 5-on-5 xGF%, which is sub-optimal. The problem, as one might expect, is defense. The offense is roughly league average, which I think makes sense if you look at the roster, but they’re not finishing at all. You can call that bad luck, I think.

But as to the defense: They allow the fourth-most expected goals per 60 minutes of hockey in the league, at nearly three per hour. It’s a terrible number. It’s almost enough to make you want to cut the goalies some slack, but not quite.

Lundqvist being .902 is, perhaps, an unavoidable because he’s getting up there (he’ll be 36 in March) and he’s got a lot of miles on him. But man, it sucks nonetheless.

As to what they can do to fix it, well, there’s no good answer that’s not “Blow it up and hope someone will take all their big contracts.” No one will. So I don’t know… ride it out I guess?

Casey asks: Can a team win the cup without an elite goalie? Murray was a rookie a few years ago but has proven himself to not be a fluke. Is it possible?”

You don’t need the league’s best goaltender to win a Stanley Cup. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

I guess the last team to win a Cup without an elite goalie is the Kings, right? Jonathan Quick is often cited as a roughly average goalie who had a couple amazing runs.

He was the only reason LA even made the playoffs in 2011-12, as he went .929 in the regular season, and those are beyond-elite numbers. After that, mostly he’s been plus-1, plus-2 on the league average save percentage, and you might say a lot of that had to do with the quality of the team in front of him.

The caveat here is that Quick was also dynamite in the 2011-12 Cup run, going .946(!!!) in 20 games.

But at the same time, he went just .911 in winning the Cup two years later, which is bad. And even then, they ground it out over 26 games; the only series in which they didn’t go seven games was the Cup Final. Funny how that works.

So that’s the answer to your question: You need to have one of the very best teams in recent hockey memory to get by with mediocre-ish goaltending.

Dylan asks via email: As a fancy stats kind of guy is there an advanced stats explanation, or I guess any explanation really, of why Derrick Pouliot was such a disappointment for the Penguins?”

It’s hard to get a real good read on a guy with so few minutes (only about 1,100 in his entire career).

His numbers are mostly pretty good. Solid CF%, good relative to his teammates (which you’d expect given that he’d play mostly lower-level competition). But he didn’t really drive offense even against weaker competition, and he actually took a hit defensively against them. Which, y’know, you don’t want.

If you can’t do much to push around bottom-six opponents, that’s not gonna win you any friends in the coaches’ offices. Especially because, surprise, the Pens also got badly outscored when he was on the ice, so even if you’re doubling back against the “fancy stats” and just looking at how the team did with him out there, the answer was, “Bad.”

Sometimes guys just don’t work out. That’s life.

Jimmy asks via email: How do you project Alex Tuch’s career to play out? Is his game good enough for him to be an NHL regular?”

I saw plenty of Tuch in college and I always thought he was a well-above-average college player. Played both ends of the ice well, scored at a good clip (but not overwhelmingly so). Plus he’s big, so people are always gonna love that.

As a 20-year-old rookie last year he put up decent numbers in the AHL, which earned him the look at the NHL level. Clearly, he’s a guy that can score at the lower level (39 points in 43 career games).

That probably makes him look at a lot like a top-six talent, and probably middle-six at worst. There’s just so much runway with a 21-year-old and he’s going to get a lot of opportunities in Vegas just because they don’t have a lot of offensive pop to go around. Let’s put it this way: He’s already on their No. 1 power play unit, right? He’d have to play his way off it at that point.

So I think you’re not gonna see him score more than a point a game at any point but he’ll be a guy that can help your team long-term. Which, hey, that ain’t bad to have.

Rhys asks: The Oilers have (roughly) a zillion dollars in cap space this year. What should they use it on?”

First and foremost, we all know it would have to be a pure rental, since there’s the whole issue of that Connor McDavid contract next season. From what I remember, it was a big one.

So who’s a guy they might be able to trade for? It’s someone who their team would be willing to give up, who makes a decent amount of money right now but isn’t signed beyond this year. The problem for the Oilers is that anyone they might want to target has at least some no-move or no-trade protection.

Rick Nash, limited no-trade. Joe Thornton, full no-move. The Sedins, no-moves and Vancouver wouldn’t move them if it could (due to dumbness).

Frankly, the Oilers’ biggest issue is on defense, and the crop of pending UFA defenders right now is……woof. Not a whole lot of big-ticket guys I’d want regardless of their availability. Hell, not a lot of small-ticket guys I’d want either.

Looks like that cap space is just gonna go to waste. Unless they can convince Thornton to come aboard. And they totally should.

Ryan Lambert is a Puck Daddy columnist. His email is here and his Twitter is here.

All stats via Corsica unless noted otherwise.

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Thursday: Creator's Workshop

Oct. 19th, 2017 05:20 pm
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Posted by cap_im_daily

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Need help with creating the atmosphere for that sleazy bar Tony likes to hang out in? What would a college student in the 1980s spend his money on? Looking for someone to help beta read your fic or just cheer you on? How do people draw hands, damnit? How do you make your neighbour's dog stop make an appearance on your podfic? Ask a weird question that now taints your search history but still have not found the answer to? Would you like to share a great resource that you found recently?

Here's the place to direct all your questions (no judgement, no shame!), offer help, share some advice, cheer people on, or just chat about your current projects!

Join the discussion on DW! No account required there.
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Posted by Justin Cuthbert

The Detroit Red Wings have had to deal with a murderers’ row of NHL snipers this week. (Getty)

Nikita Kucherov, Auston Matthews, Alexander Ovechkin.

That’s the murderers’ row of NHL snipers that the Detroit Red Wings have their hands full with this week. Some reward for a team that returned from an early-season four-game road trip with an improbable 4-1 record to start the year.

The marksmen on tap this week for Detroit currently sit one-two-three in NHL goal scoring. This of course is no fluke; when lumping in last year’s totals, Kucherov, Matthews and Ovechkin make up three of the top five rungs in terms of top NHL goal getters. It’s the best of the best in the NHL on a bi-nightly basis this week for the Red Wings. And so far it hasn’t gone particularly well.

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These are the talents that need merely a crumb to feast in this league. The sort of superstar that puts immense stress on a team’s defence because they are skilled enough to turn a harmless look into an unstoppable strike.

It really does take something special to score with any regularity in the NHL, early-season trends be damned. So when a coaching staff sees three of them in a week, and must consider the distinct skillsets and tendencies that sets these players apart, it bears the question: Is the video coach working overtime to prepare for these dynamos?

Because scrutinizing the most dangerous players in the NHL must take up a significant portion of the game-planning, right?

“You have to do everything you can to take away time and space, and to limit how much time they have with the puck. Once they have a chance to take a stride or two with the puck, those players are going to deliver,” Red Wings coach Jeff Blashill said this week.

“There’s individual tendencies that we certainly touch on. Every guy is a little bit different. We certainly make sure our guys know. Our guys are aware of a lot of them already – especially guys that have been in the league.”

Alright, that sounds good enough. Blashill does point out in his coachspeak that the certain subtleties of superstars are discussed with the players. In a league where it wakes everything in one’s being to single out the individual, this isn’t nothing.

But how much study actually goes into it?

Not a whole lot if you ask the players.

Maple Leafs defenseman Morgan Rielly explained that conversations on specific tendencies of superstars happen between partners and the defense coach, but team-wide breakdowns are usually reserved to lines and systems. He pointed to the partnership between Matthews and William Nylander, and Nylander’s ability to score “just as much” as the reason why the focus can’t be on one individual.

In the opposite room, Jonathan Ericsson echoed these comments but did reveal more, somewhat contentious insight. He admitted that the Red Wings would “never do” film on one specific player. And beyond the highlights he may see, he relies on growing familiarity with the opposition to understand what makes them dangerous.

For this reason, he admitted that he doesn’t have a particularly strong read on Matthews. So should we be surprised that the second-year superstar did this last night?

What should we make of this admittedly insufficient survey on all things sniper study? Are teams leaving stones unturned in their efforts to neutralize the greatest threats to score in a league where it’s already so awfully difficult to score already?

Well on one hand there are no limitations to the inbred unwillingness in hockey to take away from team. But also on the other, between putting a light soak on the equipment and napping at the hotel, there’s only so much time in the day … we guess?

In any case, let’s hope wait-and-see is the strategy for most teams. Because while they strive for familiarity, we can enjoy the show that snipers both unsolved and unsolvable have been able to put on so far this season.

More NHL coverage on Yahoo Sports:

Justin Cuthbert is the NHL editor for Yahoo Sports Canada and Puck Daddy. His email is here and his Twitter is here.

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Posted by By Jason Mackey / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

HB: Sprong is playing very well in WBS so could we see an earlier call up if someone were to get injured?
Jason Mackey: Not sure, HB. The goal with Sprong has been -- all along, I should add -- for him to develop down there, score a bunch and get his confidence. If it happened in October or November, no. If it happened in December, I think it's more likely.

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Posted by rjnaugle2

Pens head south for another back-to-back set. Cole adjusting to missing teeth and new headgear. Power play clicking clicking on all cylinders. Hunwick diagnosed with concussion.

Another off day for the Penguins before they head back to Florida for yet another back-to-back set featuring the Florida Panthers and Tampa Bay Lightning over the weekend.

Now, here is your daily dose of Pens Points...

October is a busy month for the Penguins with 13 games, including eight of those games being played away from home. Consistency on the road will be key for the Pens all season long if they hope to keep pace in the loaded Metro division. [Pittsburgh Post-Gazette]

Ian Cole returned to the lineup on Tuesday in New York but the Pens lost another defenseman in the process. After the game, head coach Mike Sullivan revealed that Matt Hunwick will be sidelined due to a concussion he received in practice on Monday. [CBS Sports]

As mentioned above, defenseman Ian Cole returned to the lineup against the Rangers after missing 10 days recovering from a puck to the face from Roman Josi of the Nashville Predators. Cole is adjusting to missing a few teeth and his new headgear he’ll wear while he continues to heal. [NBC Sports]

Seven games into the new season and the Penguins’ power play has been clicking on all cylinders so far and it’s not just the top unit doing the damage. Their success can be attributed to contributions from all over the roster. [FanRag Sports]

During his team in Pittsburgh, Hall of Fame defenseman Paul Coffey was a key piece in turning the Penguins franchise into a champion. His impact on the franchise is forever etched on the Stanley Cup but it’s time to give him his proper due in the rafters of PPG Paints Arena. [Trib Live]

It is often the people behind the scenes who play the most vital role in any production. For the Pens that man is team physician Dr. Dharmesh Vyas, who has been labeled as a team MVP of sorts for his care of injured players during his time with the team. [Penguins]

Tuesday night’s game against the Rangers may have been the quintessential Evgeni Malkin performance. Malkin scored the game winning goal in overtime, added two assists in regulation, and engaged Rangers’ defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk in a few fisticuffs during the third period of play. [Pittsburgh Post-Gazette]

News and notes from around the NHL...

Two weeks into the season and the league’s bottom five teams include two you would expect and three who were picked as potential Stanley Cup champions. Just how worried these teams should be depends on several factors. [USA Today]

Several KHL stars have made the leap across the pond to the NHL and seen great success. Vegas Golden Knights center Vadim Shipachyov projects to be the next great star to make the move at the midpoint of his career. [The Hockey News]


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