dmitry-orlov

Photo: Igor Kleyner

Caps breakdown day is never a particularly festive affair, and yesterday was no exception, as the Washington Capitals brought down the curtain on their dismal 2013-14 season. Understandably, none of the players were in a particularly cheerful mood as they addressed the media for the last time before summer break. Not all of them, however, are putting away their skates for the season. Some, including defenseman Dmitry Orlov, are looking forward to joining their national teams in preparations for the World Championship, which opens early next month.

The 22-year-old Russian is joining the Sbornaya training camp in a few days, and hopes to put his country’s uniform on for the first time since he was a prominent member of the 2011 WJC gold-winning Russian team. A consolation prize, at best, as the dream of winning the Stanley Cup – or even playing for it – will remain just that at least for another year. But it made for a good conversation starter.

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Evgeny Kuznetsov

Photo: Chris Gordon

The Washington Capitals spent about 20 minutes Thursday morning posing for pictures with cute animals, both domestic and wild, and then proceeded to a grueling practice session featuring something that looked suspiciously like a bag skate.

After almost an hour and a half on the ice, the players started trickling in to the locker room. Some of the guys, though, stayed on the ice a bit longer, including Dmitry Orlov, Mikhail Grabovski, and the latest addition to the Capitals roster, Evgeny Kuznetsov. The Russian-speaking troika remained on the ice, enjoying a game of King of the Hill on the center circle.

Finally, the Russian rookie and his buddies made their way to their locker room stalls, where he patiently answered RMNB’s questions until no stone was left unturned in the first chapter of what hopefully will be Kuzya’s long tenure in a red jersey with #92 on the back.

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This illustration will make sense at the bottom. I promise.

By all accounts, Evgeny Kuznetsov’s move to North America has been a success, both on and off the ice. Eight games in, the young Russian has managed a three assist game, scored twice in the shootout, and on Tuesday night scored his first NHL goal.

Kuzya has surprised us with his command of English and his willingness to interact with the media despite of limited language skills. Also, let’s not forget Zhenya’s love of social media, especially Instagram. Imagine how boring our lives would be without his baby pictures and Ovi doing pushups. So what if the captions are in Russian.

Google Translate is on the case.

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aller

Photo: Justin K. Aller

It is silly to compare Evgeny Malkin (500+ games, Stanley Cup, Conn Smythe, Hart, two Art Ross Trophies) to Evgeny Kuznetsov (one game, 10 minutes on ice)–  even if they were born a couple hundred miles away from one other– basically the same neighborhood by Russian standards.

Then again, it’s also fun, which is why people have been doing it for awhile– including Valery Belousov, Kuznetsov’s old coach at Traktor and the man who oversaw Malkin’s development at Magnitogorsk.

In our brief conversation on Sunday, Kuzya flatly dismissed all comparisons to his much more famous namesake. But what does Geno think about it? Well, let’s take a look at today’s edition of Sovetsky Sport, where we find Dmitry Chesnokov’s interview with the Penguins’ star after Monday’s game.

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Photo: @katie_brown47

Evgeny Kuznetsov‘s debut as a Washington Capital was a little like that first crepe, which, according to Russian proverb, tends to come out as a lump. The Capitals came agonizingly close to victory in Monday’s loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins, but walked away with no points to show for their effort. In the end, that loss had little to do with how well the 21-year-old Russian rookie played.

Playing for a team on the wrong side the playoff line, Kuznetsov seemed to understand the gravity of his situation as he spoke in Russian after the game to Dmitry Chesnokov of Yahoo Sports, Igor Tichonenko of Voice of America, and yours truly. Zhenya didn’t really want to talk about his individual performance, no matter how much it probably meant to him. The team lost, he wasn’t able to help, and that’s what was on his mind.

Here is the translation of our short conversation.

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igor-kuznetsov-photo

Photo: Chris Gordon

Sunday was Evgeny Kuznetsov‘s first full day as an official Washington Capital, and we were all over it. Our intrepid reporters were at Kettler Capitals Iceplex first thing in the morning, taking photos, and covering his first press conference. But we also got a couple minutes with the man himself to chat in his native tongue.

RMNB’s own Igor Kleyner and Kuznetsov chatted about his first few hours in Washington, expectations for the Penguins game, and comparisons to Evgeni Malkin. Igor’s got your translation below.

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kuzya

Photo: chelyabinskhockey.ru

While the best hockey players in the world are duking it out for gold in Sochi, the KHL — just like other domestic leagues — is shut down for the Olympic pause. With the break almost over, Traktor Chelyabinsk held their mid-season “preseason” game against Avtomobilist Ekaterinburg. After the game, future Capital Evgeny Kuznetsov talked to Oleg Savinkov of Chelyabinskhockey.ru about the Olympics and his departure for North America.

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horizontal Ovi Patrick Smith

Photo: Patrick Smith

With only a couple games left before the NHL shuts down for the Olympics, the international hockey press’ interest in Capitals captain and Sochi goodwill ambassador Alex Ovechkin has increased from Unhealthy to InsatiableSpeaking with Sovetsky Sport correspondent Pavel Lysenkov during his recent pre-Olympic media tour, Alex Ovechkin recounted Olympics of yore, cheering fiancee Maria Kirilenko onto winning bronze in London, and meeting 22-time Olympic medalist Michael Phelps.

And also the time he nearly wrecked his car a few weeks ago, but didn’t. So that’s good.

Your translated interview is below.

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neuvy

Photo: Luke Glendening

Editor’s Note: Peter and Chris are totally not here tonight. They’re at the Neutral Milk Hotel (who?) concert at DAR Constitutional Hall. Instead of having Ian recap the game poorly in English, we’re throwing a bone to our Russian readers tonight and letting Igor do the recap in Russian Machine’s native tongue! Please translate what we wrote in the comments below. If you’re nice, we’ll help.

Сегодня Кэпиталз привезли свой кошмарный Январь в Детройт. Десять поражений в течении первого календарного месяца нового года и предпоследнее место в таблице своего дивизиона – это уже довольно серьёзно, ну а то как команда проиграла вчера свой поединок в Коламбусе… перечень неприятных впечатлений довольно длинный – совершенно безалаберная игра в обороне, беззубая атака, невероятно “бесполезный” (аж -5!) Овечкин, потенциально серьёзная травма Грина – в общем ситуация хуже некуда. Всего одно очко отделяло Детройт от Кэпиталз  в таблице Восточной Конференции перед игрой, да и играли Ред Уингс в прошедшем месяце не намного лучше чем Вашингтон; если бы регулярный сезон закончился сегодня, обе команды вместо плэй оффс учасвовали бы в североамериканском варианте Кубка Надежды – на площадках для гольфа. А ведь Ред Уингс не пропускали борьбу за Кубок Стэнли уже почти четверть века! Смогут ли парни в белых свитерах с зимней классики закончить этот жуткий месяц на победной ноте – или Лорд Волан-де-Морт опять появится на нашей стартовой странице?

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Alex Ovechkin Calls His Injury “a Micro-Bruise”

OvechkinSharks

Photo: Rob Carr

Tonight, Alex Ovechkin will miss his second straight game with some kind of lower-body aliment. From New Jersey, Katie Carrera of The Washington Post reported that it was a groin injury. The man himself, though, has not been made available to the media — at least not in English. However, in a recent interview with Pavel Lysenkov of Sovetsky Sport, Ovi discussed the injury, which he termed “a micro-bruise.” Ovi also discussed Alex Semin‘s new spot on the Russian Olympic team and whether or not he goes to church.

Here’s your translation:

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