dmitry-orlov

Of the three Russian Capitals at World Championships, Dmitry Orlov is certainly the least well known. Evgeny Kuznetsov was a media magnet during his brief KHL career and is on his way to becoming a household name here in the states. Alex Ovechkin’s is one of the most recognized faces among athletes on both sides of the Atlantic. Orlov is not on the same level yet.

But even considering Dima’s relative obscure celebrity status in comparison to his teammates, you would think that a reporter for the largest TV network in Russia, working at a top-level international hockey tournament, would be capable of identifying Orlov, who is, after all, one of only three defensemen already named to Team Russia’s roster for the upcoming World Cup of Hockey.

You would think so, but you would be wrong.

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Photo: Jonathan Daniel

Earlier this week, we published a partial translation of an Evgeny Kuznetsov interview with Igor Rabiner of Sport-Express. Kuzy spoke about his ‘close’ friendship with Alex Ovechkin, how the team celebrated Ovi’s 500th goal, and how important the Stanley Cup is to him.

In the second part of the interview, Kuznetsov speaks about his affinity for Barry Trotz.

“I don’t think this coach will allow us to relax,” Kuznetsov says of Trotz. “He straightens you out very quickly. And our team has character, we won’t let ourselves take it easy. We work hard every practice, not to mention the games. We are very comfortable within our team off ice, and everybody works hard in training.

Kuznetsov and Rabiner also talks about Ovechkin’s leadership inside the locker room.

Igor Kleyner has your translation.

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barry-trotz

Photo: Bruce Bennett

During a wide-ranging interview with Igor Rabiner of Sports-Express , Barry Trotz talked about what it’s like to coach four Russians and one of the best players in the history of the game.

Trotz touched on how Alex Ovechkin can hold onto his unique scoring touch — and if he does, get “very close” to Wayne Gretzky’s goal-scoring record.

“Can he do it? Yes,” Trotz said. “But as he gets older, Alex will need to pay even more attention to every little hockey detail, starting with post-game recovery. But Ovechkin is a special athlete, an extraordinary talent. He has a gift from above to score goals.”

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barry-trotz

Photo: Bruce Bennett

Tuesday night against the Carolina Hurricanes, Evgeny Kuznetsov made some nice sauce, registering his league-leading 37th primary assist of the season on Alex Ovechkin’s OTGWG. The point was Kuznetsov’s 70th on the year, making him the 12th player in Caps history to register 20 goals and 50 assists in a season. Kuznetsov’s 70 points also leads the Capitals.

If the Chelyabinsk native ends the year on top, he would be the first Capital not named Ovechkin or Backstrom to lead the team in scoring since 2003-04 when Robert Lang put up 70 points. Kuznetsov’s dominant play this season is a far cry from his initial struggles during parts of his first two seasons in the league.

Earlier this week, Capitals head coach Barry Trotz spoke to Igor Rabiner of Sports-Express about Kuznetsov’s growth as a player, and he revealed his master plan for turning Kuzy into the next Pavel Datsyuk.

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Photo: Geoff Burke

It has been a productive start of the season for Evgeny Kuznetsov. He has given his fans a team-leading 12 points, a hat trick, a highlight reel worth of spectacular moments of Harry Potter-worthy magic on the ice, and NHL Player of the Week awardnot to mention his remarkably improved command of English language.

What else could we hope for? Well, maybe a nice long interview in Kuzy’s native language. Lo and behold, we get exactly that courtesy of Aleksey Shevchenko of business-gazeta.ru (who may be more familiar to some of the readers as @Boogaard_2), which we are happy to bring to you in its entirety.

Kuznetsov talks about Barry Trotz’s “iron discipline,” how he deals with the media, and his struggles with changing diapers.

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evgeny-kuznetsov

Photo: Bruce Bennett

It’s summer, which means we should be expecting Russian NHLers to do what they normally do: jet-ski on a lake in the middle of Siberia and maybe judge a beauty contest in Moscow. This summer, however, has been a bit different for Evgeny Kuznetsov, who is spending his summer break on this continent while he takes care of his newborn daughter.

In a three-part interview (1, 2, 3) with Sovetsky Sport’s Pavel Lysenkov, Kuznetsov talks about his baby (his daughter’s middle name is Evgenia) and the negotiations behind his new two-year contract with the Washington Capitals.

“It is not a secret that I wanted a long-term deal,” Kuznetsov said. “But we ran out of time. And decided that two years is the right option, and Washington did not object.”

That, and literally a million other things are covered in this mammoth interview.

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Photo: Rob Carr

One year ago, Evgeny Kuznetsov came to North America. On a spring morning, he took the ice for the first time in a Washington uniform after signing a two-year entry level contract. Save for Capitals coaches, Kuznetsov was alone. Still, cameras followed him incessantly down the ice.

Soon after, RMNB spoke to Kuznetsov for the first time. Last Sunday, we did it again. There was a fair bit to discuss. For Kuznetsov, it’s hard to imagine a more dramatic shift in just one season. So far, he’s been a fourth liner, a second-line second, a healthy scratch, and finally, a playoff hero. Off the ice, Kuznetsov endeared himself to his teammates and became a media darling.

Naturally, we had both asinine and serious questions for Kuzy. He happily obliged.

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evgeny-kuznetsov-batya

Photo: Ian Oland

When it comes to handing out cool nicknames to their teammates, we think hockey players are second to none. The current crop of Capitals are certainly doing their fair share of creative nicknaming. When the NHL mic’d up Tom Wilson for a first round game against the Islanders, we learned that Alex Ovechkin’s moniker is Destroyer – or at least that’s what Willy Baby calls him. And who can forget the “Big Cheese” Joel Ward; I mean, how can it possibly get any cooler than Big Cheese!?

In my opinion, it just did, courtesy of the two Caps players, who, as The Washington Post recently discovered, developed a strong and somewhat surprising friendship during the course of this season: Russian rookie Evgeny Kuznetsov and grizzled American veteran Brooks Orpik.

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tatyana-ovechkina

Photo: @a0gr8

The Ovechkin clan’s media footprint is usually dominated by Ovi himself. His dad Mikhail is sometimes good at generating a memorable quote or providing unexpected insight as well. But matriarch Tatyana Ovechkina, a two-time Olympic gold medal winner, is actually the family’s most accomplished athlete.

She is currently the President of Dynamo Moscow women’s basketball club, where her older son Mikhail is the Sporting Director. Under their guidance the team has climbed to the top of the European women’s basketball rankings, recently winning the European Cup. At 64 years old, the former captain of the USSR basketball national team is still going strong, but you will not often find her name in the newspapers. One has to go back a few years to find an interview with the mother of the captain of the Washington Capitals; she treats the press corps with a healthy dose of distrust and skepticism.

A few days ago, Russian sports daily Sport-Express ran an in-depth piece by acclaimed journalist Elena Vaytsekhovskaya. Elena also happens to be a former top level athlete herself, having won the gold medal in platform diving at the 1976 Olympics in Montreal – and she’s a close personal friend of Tatyana Ovechkina. In this interview, which we bring to you in translation below, Ovi’s mom talks about her views on money in modern sports, when she expects her son to retire from hockey and even tells us how big Alex the Great was when he was born. [WARNING: That last bit is not for the faint of heart.]

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evgeny-kuznetsov-practice

Photo: Sport-Express

After scoring nine points in 16 games with the Caps, Evgeny Kuznetsov has flown back across the world to play for Russia’s national team in the upcoming World Championships. On Tuesday, Kuznetsov spoke to Vladislav Domrachev of Sport-Express after practice and talked more about his NHL debut and how his English is progressing.

Apparently the NHL is like bobsledding or something.

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