Ovi to soccer ball: “I must stop you.” (All photos taken by Pavel Lysenkov of Sovietsky Sport)

Ahead of its quarter-final matchup Thursday with Canada, Team Russia assistant coach Igor Zakharkin ordered his players to abandon the team’s scheduled morning practice and instead play soccer at Rapid Stadium in Bratislava. Much like former Capitals head coach Ron Wilson, who would arrange team-building bowling outings when the Caps were struggling, Zakharkin is looking to take pressure off of his team.

Russia, who has lost two straight games and is 3-3 overall in the tournament, has not gelled at any point during their time in Slovakia and has played in five straight one-goal games. The dominant team that had won 27 straight World Championship games last year has not appeared. If they lose against Canada, Russia will be eliminated.

Zakharkin spoke with Sovietsky Sport’s Dmitri Ponomarenko and Vitaly Slavin about his decision to avoid the rink today and also discussed the shirtless soccer goalie above, Alex Ovechkin. Fedor Fedin has your translation.

Continue Reading

Dmitry Orlov during warm-ups with the Hershey Bears

Orlov in action with the Hershey Bears (Photo credit: Ian Oland).

The 2010-11 season was a whirlwind for young defenseman Dmitry Orlov. The Novokuznetsk, Russia native started the season at Capitals Development Camp in July before going on to play for the Kontinental Hockey League’s Metallurg Novokuznetsk, tallying two goals and 10 assists in the regular season. In December, Orlov joined Team Russia at the World Junior Championships. The Caps’ 2009 second-round pick was a standout, playing on Russia’s top defensive pairing and being named first-team all WJC as the Ruskies went on to win the gold medal.

Metallurg, however, had an awful season, finishing with the worst record in the KHL. Instead of joining Metallurg’s minor league club, the Novokuznetsk Bears, at the end of the season, Orlov reached an agreement to play for the Capitals’ AHL affiliate, the Hershey Bears. Orlov played in 25 games for the Bears, including six in the postseason, tallying two goals and eight assists.

Below, Igor translates Orlov’s interview with Metallurg’s official site, where the 19 year-old discusses his first season in North America and what next year holds.

Continue Reading

Finland Beats Russia, 3-2; Ovechkin Speaks

Photo credit: Matthew Manor

After being mostly a non-factor in Team Russia’s loss Sunday, Alex Ovechkin was back in action Monday afternoon against Finland as he looked to regain his form. Ovi was certainly more noticeable against the Finns, registering an impressive nine shots on goal in 18:29 of ice time while failing to convert on a breakaway. Despite his efforts, Russia was defeated for the second day in a row, this time narrowly, 3-2, in the shootout. With Canada beating Sweden, 3-2, later in the day, a sure to be intense match-up of arch-rivals is set for the quarter-finals on Thursday between Russian and the Great White North.

Below, friend of the blog Aleksey Imaev translates the Great Eight’s video interview on Saturday with Russian website Sportbox.ru (Igor was unavailable and is listed as day-to-day with an upper body injury). The clip was only viewable in Russia until RMNB’s Fedor Fedin stepped in, so props to him.

Continue Reading