Kuzya and his new gold medal. (Photo credit: argumenti.ru)

While former World Junior Championship teammate Vladimir Tarasenko announced on Saturday that he’d play in the NHL next season, today Caps prospect Evgeny Kuznetsov sealed the deal with Traktor Chelyabinsk, signing a two-year extension which will keep him in Russia until 2013-14.

In a television interview conducted with Evgenia Skroznikova of the local Chelyabinsk TV channel Canal 31 last week, Kuznetsov revealed that it was a very difficult decision for him to make, but one that he had finally found peace with.

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Bad Romance: The Saga of Tomas Vokoun


Photo credit: Patrick McDermott

Tomas Vokoun got all dressed up for 2011 summer free agency, put on his glittering career numbers and his solid veteran history and waited for a dancing partner. It didn’t go as planned.

He watched his old team hook up with a new French Canadian flame, watched the Philadelphia Flyers fall all over themselves for Ilya Bryzgalov and the Phoenix Coyotes chase a tall dark unknown. Somehow, at the end of all the frenzy, Vokoun was left without an offer.

Left with few options, Vokoun agreed to a mercenary marriage of convenience with the Caps, an embarrassingly cheap, $1.5 M one-year deal. The Czech veteran got to play on what should have been a contending team and get his name back out there; the Caps got an apparent upgrade in goal. Everyone wins, right?

Wrong. The loveless arranged marriage quickly went sour, and abruptly came to an end today as the Caps traded Vokoun’s rights to bitter rivals, the Pittsburgh Penguins, where he promptly signed a two-year deal. How could things have gone so wrong with a goaltender who could been the MVP? Let’s take a look.

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One of the greatest Russian singers of the Soviet era, Eduard Khil, has died at the age of 77 in St. Petersburg. Our condolences to his family, friends, and millions of fans in Russia and all over the world.

Those of you in North America may know Khil as Mr. Trololo, the smiling singer from the internet meme that was the spiritual successor to RickRolling. Video of Khil lip-syncing to “I’m Very Happy Because I’m Finally Going Home” has been a crutch of internet yucksters for the last few years, but Khil has been a big deal in Russia for decades.

In addition to being a beloved singer, Khil was also a big sports fan. He sang what is maybe the famous Russian song about hockey: “Coward Doesn’t Play Hockey.” It’s basically a hockey anthem (like Tom Connors’ “The Hockey Song” in North America), and it can often be heard at games or other hockey-related events.

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2011-12 Year-End Review: Roman Hamrlik


Photo credit: Chuck Meyers

Roman Hamrlik was good for two things this season: “Hamr”-related puns, and being used as a comparison point to demonstrate how young or old other people are, such as Dmitry Orlov (three years old when Hamrlik’s career began!) or Marc Bergevin (played hockey with Hamrlik!).

There’s one more year remaining on Hamrlik’s contract with the Caps, which means there’s one more year for the Caps game entertainment crew to make him an MC Hamr montage. They are officially on the clock.

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