Dmitry Chesnokov has an article on the “End of Russian player names as we’ve known them”:
From the IIHF:
Q: So what has been wrong with how the names were transcribed until 2010?
A: Simply, the English transcription didn’t reflect how Russians really pronounce their names. And this is the whole point of transcription — to write Russian names with Roman letters so it comes as close as possible to the original pronunciation.
Q: Can you give some examples of that?
A: Take a name like Fyodor. It most places it was “Fedor” which is wrong. The Pittsburgh Penguins star Malkin’s first name must be spelled Yevgeni and not “Evgeni” or “Evgeny”. Very few Russian first names start with an “E-sound”. Two examples are Enver and Eduard. The first sound in the original spelling of Malkin’s first name is Cyrillic “E”, which looks like the Roman “E” but is pronounced “Ye”. Thus: Yevgeni.
The IIHF added, “We are three years away from the first Olympic hockey tournaments in Russia. We felt that come Sochi 2014, the names of the hosting country should be transcribed correctly. It’s long overdue already. But primarily, we wanted to get it right.”
The idea that this is “right” and the former system “wrong” is of course absurd. But the change is certainly worth it for people like Washington Capitals goaltender Semyon Varlamov, who was tired of being called Semen. Who can blame him? (Thanks, Keith!)