Backstrom holds his cake and poses with Dynamo fans. (Photo credit: dynamo.ru)

Since arriving in Russia to play for Alex Ovechkin’s Dynamo Moscow, Nicklas Backstrom has gotten the royal treatment. He’s lived at Dynamo’s practice facility, forced to take #99 as a jersey number (because he’s so darn great), and been invited by Ovi to some sweet celebrity-hosted parties. On Backstrom’s 25th birthday bash on Friday, the Dynamo organization and its fans went even further, creating giant banners and signs for Nicky. After his four-point game, Backstrom was then given a birthday cake. Granted, it didn’t have any of those rocket-fueled candles like Ovi’s did earlier this year.

Hm. It’s almost like they’re trying to steal him away from us or something…

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Ovechkin on his GWG: “YEEEEEEESS!!” (Photo credit: Dynamo.ru)

Nicklas Backstrom and Alex Ovechkin are on quite a streak. Backstrom has points in his last six contests (including one hat trick) and has been held without a point in just two of ten games since joining Dynamo Moscow. Meanwhile, Ovechkin has a five-game point streak going and has been held without a point in just three of his 19 games in the ‘K’.

On Friday against Severstal Cherepovets, Dynamo’s first line got even deadlier, as Toronto Maple Leaf Leo Komarov joined the team after a stint with the Marlies of the AHL. The trio combined to put up 8 points and 3 goals in Dynamo’s 5-3 win over Severstal. Backstrom, who was celebrating his 25th birthday, had four points (a goal and three assists) while his BFF Ovi had two goals, including the game-winner.

Let’s see this video.

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Nicky celebrates his GWG! (Photo credit: dynamo.ru)

A week after he tallied a hat trick against Vityaz Chekhov, Nicklas Backstrom destroyed Vityaz again, scoring two goals, including the game-winner, in Dynamo’s 3-2 win Tuesday.

At this point, one thing’s crystal clear: Nicky loves sixty-nine. Ever since changing his number early last week, Backstrom has morphed into the Swedish Gretzky, tallying 8 points in 4 games. In his previous 5 games with that other number, he had 3.

Now let’s see those goals.

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McKayla Maroney Is Impressed By Her New Capitals Hat

McKayla Maroney and President Barack Obama not impressed with meeting each other.

Photo by Kayvon Sari (@TheAbsolomb)

Despite a prolonged lockout, there are still Washington Capitals fans out there doing brand evangelism. These people still rep their Caps fandom, no matter how much the absence of NHL hockey bums us out. Kayvon Sari is such a man.

A few days before every blog on the internet posted that photo of Barack Obama and McKayla Maroney meeting at The White House, the Kellogg’s Tour of Gymnastics Champions rolled into town. The tour– including the gold medal-winning Fab Five of Gabby Douglas, McKayla Maroney, Aly Raisman, Kyla Ross, and Jordyn Wieber– features gymnasts pairing their talents with performance art. Following on the heels of the London Summer Olympics, the tour has sold out venues across the country.

17-year-old Kayvon Sari, a native of Bethesda and a former gymnast himself, had tickets for the show at the Verizon Center on November 12. A huge fan of Maroney, Kayvon was well aware that the smirking gymnast would be visiting Washington DC for the first time. He wanted to give her a souvenir to commemorate the visit.

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Photo credit: hcdinamo.by

After suffering a rare loss to Severstal on Friday, newly-named/temporary captain Alex Ovechkin vented about the officiating, inferring implying that some calls would have been made only at a kids’ game. On Sunday, with Yuri Babenko still out with injury, Ovechkin kept the C and practiced leadership of another kind. 2:45 into overtime and on the power play, Ovechkin, who played a game-high 29:09 minutes, crashed the net to knock a rebound past Pekka Rinne, giving Dynamo Moscow a 3-2 win over Dinamo Minsk (who recently severed ties with Evander Kane).

Nicklas Backstrom, two games removed from his first KHL hat trick and multi-point game, had two assists in 19:05 of ice-time.

Let’s see that game-winner.

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Michal Neuvirth is Losing Hope for an NHL Season

2 weeks brake?!?! U gotta be kidding me.. Losing hope!!

Michal has since deleted the tweet. I’d make some crack about “brake”, but I don’t want to set up any “lost in translation” jokes for you.

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Caps Color Commentator Craig Laughlin to Host New Radio Show

Without a season to cover, Caps color man Craig Laughlin has found a new outlet for his talents. Laughlin has joined the E.Y.E.S. Radio Network, where he will host a weekly radio show called Lunchtime with The Locker: The Craig Laughlin Show.

The two-hour program will begin on Wednesday, January 2nd, and will apparently include comedy and politics among the hockey talk. We are so there.

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“I help make scoar!” (Photo credit: dynamo.ru)

A few days after Alex Ovechkin signed a lockout contract with Dynamo Moscow, the Capitals captain did an interview explicitly saying he did not want to take over the captaincy like his friend Ilya Kovalchuk did with SKA St. Petersburg.

“This is a new team, I don’t know most of the guys here,” Ovechkin was quoted as saying by Dynamo’s official website. “Even if they offered me the C, I would decline. This team has leaders, veterans. And then a player with a big name shows up and muscles his way in? It would be disrespectful.”

Circumstances have changed. As Ovechkin and co. suited up against Severstal Cherepovets on Friday, normal Dynamo captain Yuri Babenko was unavailable (without explanation). Ovechkin was awarded the temporary captaincy of the team. Despite having Ovi as “kapitan,” Dynamo suffered a rare defeat, 4-2 loss to Severstal.

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Dmitry Orlov On Life During The Lockout

Photo credit: Kyle Mace of Sweetest Hockey on Earth

Washington Capitals defenseman Dmitry Orlov has been in North America for parts of just three seasons, but he’s already had four head coaches, two broken noses (okay, the same nose broken twice), and has suffered through a benching that spanned the Caps’ entire 2011-12 playoff run.

Now, during a season Orlov should have started in Washington, he’s back with the AHL’s Hershey Bears, experiencing his first ever lockout.

On the first day of the lockout, Leonid Vaisfeld, general manager of Metallurg Novokuznetsk, expressed his interest in bringing Orlov home. “[Orlov] has a two-way deal,” Vaisfeld told Sports.ru. “So it’s up to Washington if they want to send him to the farm to learn English or let him come here, where I think it would be better for Dima’s development. As far as I understand he just wants to play at home.”

Way back in February of 2011, Orlov negotiated out of his contract with his KHL team to start his professional career early in Hershey. Now, while some of his friends are making big-time money playing in the KHL, Orlov– whose family is still in Russia– is staying the course in Hershey, doing everything the coaching staff has asked of him.

RMNB caught up with Orlov on Saturday before Hershey hosted the St. John’s Ice Caps (for whom Orlov’s best friend Alex Burmistrov plays). RMNB’s Igor Kleyner asked him about the possibility of going home, how his English is progressing, and what it’s like playing under a Hall of Fame coach.  We also talked about what it’ll be like to play against his former teammate and good friend Alex Semin.

Igor’s transcript of the interview is below.

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