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Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin is getting married to Maria Kirilenko. We know that; there’s a ring. But what about the date? Up until now, there has been nothing but speculation and rumors. Some of those rumors, to Ovi’s bemusement, implied that he had allegedly cancelled or postponed the wedding. A few days ago Ovechkin promised Sovetsky Sport’s Pavel Lysenkov a call as soon as the date is set.

Enter Troy Brouwer, who spoke to another Sovetsky Sport reporter, Leonid Varshavsky, on Tuesday.

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Photo credit: Washington Capitals Instagram

The days leading up to the start of the 2013-14 NHL season have been busy for Alexander Ovechkin. Between training sessions and preseason games, the Washington Capitals’ captain jetted across the ocean to perform his duties as Russia’s first carrier in the Olympic Torch Relay– and somehow managed to top it off with an extensive interview with Pavel Lysenkov of Sovetsky Sport, in which he talked about his dogs, his distinct Twitter style, and why he thinks the Capitals will contend for the Stanley Cup this year.

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Evgeny Kuznetsov: Rocking the Red …or the Red Army?

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Photo credit: Sovetsky Sport

September 27th Update: Puck Daddy’s Dmitry Chesnokov reports that Evgeny Kuznetsov will not be conscripted into the Russian army (via a source close to Kuzya).

I will not write any more stories about when Kuznetsov is coming to Washington…

I will not write any more stories about when Kuznetsov is coming to Washington…

I will not write any more stories about when Kuznetsov is coming to Washington…

Just when we decided that Evgeny Kuznetsov’s days in the KHL are numbered, his local draft board has mucked up the works.

Quick recap: come next season or sooner if Traktor’s postseason ends early, Kuznestov will join the Caps– unless a gazillion-ruble, long-term deal is foisted on him (unlikely in the KHL). RMNB no longer needed to relay the latest quotes from Kuzya or his agent or his team or KHL officials, because the matter was all but settled.

Enter Alexander Bochkarev, head of Chelyabinsk regional Voenkomat (military commissariat), basically the equivalent of a local draft board in the US.

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Evgeny Kuznetsov is a Bulldozer

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Photo credit: ura.ru

Washington Capitals top-rated prospect Evgeny Kuznetsov is out of action for at least a few weeks recovering from his recent shoulder surgery. But another Evgeny Kuznetsov, also a native of Chelyabinsk, is apparently ready to go to work.

The other Kuznetsov is no mercurial youngster with a propensity for spectacular goals and controversial interviews. Instead, he weighs about 20 metric tons, moves at a top speed of 5.5 mph, and does its work on caterpillar tracks rather than skates.

Yeah, someone named a bulldozer after Evgeny Kuznetsov.

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Photo credit: @wyshynski

As the Washington Capitals training camp opened to the public on Thursday, captain Alex Ovechkin had a pep in his step. “I feel great,” Ovechkin said. “Everybody is glad to be back on the ice. The first practice is fast and short. A couple of exercises, some endurance training. All you need is to feel the ice, get used to the puck again, things like that.”

Later, speaking exclusively to Slava Malamud of Sport Express, Ovi went on about his good health and what it would take to be a part of the Olympic torch ceremony, but he seems to be pretty much done discussing comments made by Dynamo’s General Director Andrei Safronov.

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Kuzya’s new avatar on Twitter. Wait, when did he get back on Twitter?

The start of the 2013-14 season has not gone very well for Evgeny Kuznetsov. In his first game, against the defending Gagarin Cup champions Dynamo Moscow, he put up a minus-4, garnering special recognition from Traktor’s head coach during the post-game press conference.

But Kuznetsov’s second game turned out to be even more of a disaster. He went hard into the boards just 30 seconds into the game and did not return. Shortly afterwards, Kuznetsov paid a visit to his favorite shoulder specialist, Dr. Emlich in Munich. Kuzya’s left shoulder joint (the same one Dr Emlich fixed a couple of years ago) was found to have sustained a tear in the capsule, and after additional tests today, Kuznetsov underwent a successful surgery.

Here is what he told Alexei Shevchenko of AllSportInfo.ru:

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We learned three years ago that Alex Ovechkin would be Official Ambassador and torchbearer for the upcoming Sochi Olympics. A centerpiece of the campaign to promote the Games, Ovechkin wields more star power than his peers– as evidenced, for example, by his Twitter feed featured prominently on the Sochi 2014 website– so it makes sense they would want his help sooner rather than later.

With the opening ceremonies just five months out, the next big promotional push is the ceremonial lighting of the Olympic torch. Sochi 2014 Organizing Committee President Dmitry Chernyshenko says he will have Alex Ovechkin there. In Greece. At the end of September.

Right as the NHL season begins.

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Dynamo Moscow's Ovechkin and SKA St. Petersburg's Kovalchuk skate during their Kontinental Hockey League game in Moscow

Photo credit: Maxim Shemetov

Last Friday, Dynamo Moscow General Director Andrei Safronov was asked in a fan forum about his team’s interest in bringing Alex Ovechkin back to Russia to play for his home team. “Ovechkin has a current contract with the Capitals,” Safronov said. “Can we try to pull him out? We’ll talk. We’ll look at each other and will have some result.”

That might have seemed at first an unrehearsed response to an informal question, but on Tuesday, Safronov doubled down on his comments in an interview with Sport Express’s Dinara Kafiskina.

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The ongoing drama of Evgeny Kuznetsov‘s impending jump to the NHL is relentless. Informally, we call this drama Fifty Shades of Red, one for each of his forecasted dates to end our second Long National [Capital] Nightmare by putting on the red sweater we thought he’d have been wearing for a couple of years by now. Just a few short days ago, as we brought you another pronouncement from Kuznetsov on this subject – the one where he appeared quite open to a new long-term deal with a KHL outfit (not even necessarily his beloved Traktor), I told myself it was time for us to kick the habit. No more Kuzya-Is-Coming-Or-Not translations!

We didn’t last the week. In yet another interview, this time with Sovetsky Sport’s Pavel Lysenkov, Kuzya talks about coming to Washington again, reasons for his recent jersey number change to #84, and a nice surprise he is preparing for his hometown fans. Also, as it turns out, in a few months Kuznetsov will file the necessary paperwork to obtain his American visa. Well, Kuzya, you can mess all you want with reporters, bloggers, followers, fans, coaches, and even GMGM – but you don’t mess with USCIS! That date of entry on your visa application better be real!

AnyFalse

Kuznetsov’s full conversation with Lysenkov is below.

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Olympic rings at the Sochi airport. (Photo credit: Alexey Maishev)

For the record, Peter makes awesome videos, both in style and substance.

Also for the record, the recent law passed by the Russian Duma banning so-called propaganda of nontraditional relations to minors is hideous. Not necessarily because the Russian authorities in Sochi will be arresting athletes, journalists, or foreign spectators who are gay or show support for the gay rights cause by wearing a rainbow lapel pin – because they will not, and anybody who thinks otherwise does not understand a thing about Russia. And not because a gay teenager playing hockey somewhere in Ryazan or Ekaterinburg will now be prevented from coming out to his teammates – believe me, that kid is facing other, much more serious problems in his life, like getting through another day without being beaten into a bloody pulp. Will the law contribute to worsening of the public attitude towards gay rights? For sure. Will it be used against someone whose words or action rub the government the wrong way? Perhaps, but so could any other law in Russia. In my opinion, the real victims in this mess could be the many thousands of gay parents in Russia, who will now live their lives in fear of losing their children, adopted or biological. In their cases, how in the world do you avoid violating the aforementioned law – aren’t parents supposed to be role models for their kids, especially when they are minors?

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