Daugavins feels the support from home
It's never an easy task to deke and go five-hole on Henrik Lundqvist to win a hockey game, so when Kaspars Daugavins did just that on Thursday night, the excitement was justified.
While it may have looked pretty on the ice or on TV, it didn't exactly go the way Daugavins had planned in his head. What looked like a changeup shot sliding through the Rangers netminder was actually a simple whiff.
"Definitely didn't go the way I wanted to but it worked out well, and actually had I got it to my forehand I would have had an empty net," said Daugavins. "So, either or it would have worked out."
The Daugavins praise among Sens fans extended well beyond the Capital Region as fans were thrilled to see one of the team's sparkplugs finally be rewarded for that hard work. In fact, those who pay close attention to the team's social media venues will know that there is consistent support pouring in from Kaspars' home country, Latvia.
With a population of a little over two million and just one NHLer to their credit, Daugavins' success means a lot to the country and their support means a lot to him.
"Latvia's a pretty small country and they love hockey. In Latvia hockey is the same as it is in Canada pretty much. I'm their only player in the NHL right now and I was playing during the lockout at home," said Daugavins. "It's huge. There's a lot of kids that look up to you and you try to do your best for someone who follows you and is trying to make the NHL after you."
It's fairly common in Canada to speak of the microscope players are under. With such a hockey crazed population and seven devoted fanbases, there isn't much room for players outside of the public eye. For many, the pressure is a lot to deal with.
And with that you have to wonder if perhaps being the sole citizen of a country to make the NHL comes with a microscope that's just a little bit more magnified.
"It was a little bit tougher playing back home during the lockout, especially with all the hockey fans there. They expected me to score every game and it was a little tough," said Daugavins. "Apart from that they know I'm a hard worker and I can chip in offensively and defensively. They know what I can do, they don't expect me to be Sidney Crosby, they just expect me to play good every night and hopefully I can play here for a few more years."
Latvian hockey fans may not expect Daugavins to be Sidney Crosby, but they both belong to a pretty exclusive club. Both players have gone five hole on Lundqvist in a shootout to win a game.
Even if they don't go in the way you planned, they all count the same.