Photo: R-Sport

Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin and the team he’s now captaining, the Russian National Team, arrived in Minsk, Belarus earlier today for the 2014 World Championships, which begin tomorrow. When Team Russia arrived at the President Hotel, they were greeted by a hotel official. Then things got weird.

As Ovechkin approached, the official came up to him and said (as translated by Fedor Fedin), “We’re welcoming all of you, dear friends, and we’ve been assigned by the Belarus National Committee manager to present you this Karavai, hoping this will be a victory Karavai.”

The official gave Ovechkin a giant loaf of bread. A victory loaf.

The bread presentation.

Ovechkin gives the loaf away to a friend. (Videos by Alena Shilova of R-Sport)

A smiling Ovechkin took the loaf and handed it to teammate Evgeny Kuznetsov as if it were bags from the Nike store.

Alright, why did Team get a giant loaf of bread? Wikipedia explains:

When important, respected, or admired guests arrive, they are presented with a loaf of bread placed on a rushnik (embroidered towel). A salt holder or a salt cellar is placed on top of the bread loaf or secured in a hole on the top of the loaf.

[. . .]

In general, the word “bread” is associated in Russian culture with hospitality, bread being the most respected food.

So there you go.

Meanwhile, in other news, Team Russia head coach Oleg Znarok caught Kuzya sneaking an Xbox into the hotel lobby. When asked by the media later what he thought, he said he didn’t mind Kuzya’s actions. “Let him play,” Znarok said, thus ending the drama of the day.

Additional reporting by Fedor Fedin and Igor Kleyner. Yes, two Russians contributed to this report.

  • The things at the top of the loaf look like french fries. Mmmmm, fancy looking french fries.

  • holtbysaidno

    “victory” fries, fancy victory fries.

    now I’m hungry. Thanks, Ian.

  • Yes, you are right. Oversight by me. They are most definitely going to be victory fries.

  • Igor Kleyner

    Wheat ears

  • No it’s a Russian victory french fry. Also, important question: has anyone ever given you a victory loaf, Igor?

  • Jake Ettawakapow

    Wouldnt be surprised if Ward got a letter after his breakout season. Would have loved him to have 30 goas, he was close, Brouwer too.

  • Igor Kleyner

    Next time you try to steal my fries, I’ll just give you a #VictoryLoaf instead

  • Sarah

    Definitely. Wardo should get his own victory loaf.

  • dc homer

    why is he captaining anything?…this guy is the opposite of a team leader

  • Jon A

    I agree!

  • Diller M

    I totally thought fries too. Makes me want five guys…

  • … a team employee?

  • Sarah

    I’m guessing this is meant as a satire of Ovie’s critics, given that the poster is calling himself a homer. If not, well, truth in advertising at least.

  • Sarah

    Well, if we get a majority that agrees, I volunteer to bake it. I love to bake but suddenly everybody seems to have decided gluten is the new formaldehyde.

  • Sarah

    …a dc homer?

  • Eric Schulz

    He doesn’t even try hard; all he does on the ice is loaf around. Zing!

  • airbus1094

    I totally agree, Crosby should captain Team Russia, show them how it’s done 🙂

  • Lawrence

    I love that Kuzy and Ovi are still best buds when they are around many buds.

  • Ryan

    Pierre mcDbag referred to Crosby as a “thoroughbred” during the rags/pens game last night, god i can’t stand the words that come out of his mouth……

  • Rob Reichhelm

    “Victory loaf” sounds like it is something that happens after a big, delicious meal.

  • irockthered

    I watched that game with the sound OFF for a reason… (((>.<)))!