Photo: Championat.com

Former Washington Capitals and Hershey Bears forward Oskar Osala has won the Gagarin Cup. His Metallurg Magnitogorsk won game seven 7-4 over Lev Praha.

In the NHL, Osala played in all of three games (two with Washington, one with Carolina). For the most of his North American career, Osala played in the AHL with the Hershey Bears (where he won the Calder Cup in 2009), the Albany River Rats, and the Charlotte Checkers.

Osala, who was traded by the Caps as part of the package for Joe Corvo (sigh) in 2010, has spent the past three seasons in the KHL. Metallurg traded for him last December after Osala played for Neftekhimik Nizhnekamsk for more than two years.

During the finals, Osala drew criticism from TV analyst Sergey Gimaev who said on air that Osala’s skills aren’t sufficient to play on one of the KHL’s top clubs (in 20 postseason games, Osala didn’t score a single goal and had just five assists). Two days later though, Gimaev had nicer things to say about Osala, mentioning his agressiveness on the forecheck and cost efficiency. The coach of the 26-year-old Finn, Mike Keenan, called him a “solid team player”.

Late in the postseason, Osala played on Metallurg’s fourth line, skating alongside fellow ex-Hurricane Tim Brent and Russian powerforward Evgeny Timkin.

In game seven, Osala recorded an assist on an empty-net goal by another Capitals draft pick, Mikhail Yunkov, selected by George McPhee in the third round of the 2004 Draft.

Small world.

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  • Graham Dumas

    DAMMIT! Was really pulling for Lev.

  • Sarah

    Forget about the hats. I’m intrigued by the presence of nicely groomed beards on some players, and the absence of beards on others. I take it facial topiary is not a KHL playoff tradition?

  • Fedor

    Matter of personal preference. Some NHL players don’t grow beards either. (Or it just doesn’t grow, I don’t know).

  • yv

    Maybe Caps should call Keenan?! By winning Gagarin Cup with MM just in one year in foreign country he has shown again that he still an exceptional coach.

  • Fedor

    I already said that in another thread, I find Mark French’s success with Medvescak a lot more impressive. First-year team built almost from scratch, tough conference, extremely limited (aka league-lowest) budget, European taxes (which makes budget even smaller), makes playoffs as a fifth seed.

  • RonfromLongIsland

    I think Keenan would work well with Ovechkin. He could be the match that lights the fire. If I’m the Caps, I’d definitely have Iron Mike on my speed dial.