Failure in Sochi brought big changes to the Russian hockey team. Zinetula Bilyaletdinov and the whole coaching staff (except one guy) were sacked, as was the general manager. The Russian Federation of Hockey (FHR) didn’t stop there: they also changed the team’s PR man, Mikhail Zakharov. Stepping in for him was a controversial figure: Sport-Express’ Igor Larin.

Choosing a member of the press to run media relations is already questionable (it’s like hiring a pilot to be an airline operator), but Larin’s candidacy seemed a bad idea from day one.

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The topic of Alex Ovechkin naturally came up at Tuesday’s press conference introducing new GM Brian MacLellan and new head coach Barry Trotz.

“I’m going to have a conversation with Ovi on his role with the group and how I would like to play,” Trotz said, before admitting he had some problems communicating with the Russian machine. “I haven’t really discussed that with him [though]. Actually, I talked to him when he was over in Russia and they won the World Championships, and he was at Mr. Putin’s house — I believe, or somewhere like that — so it wasn’t the proper time to really sit down and do that.”

If the Kremlin counts as “Putin’s house,” then yes Ovechkin was totally there yesterday.

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Photos: championat.com

Sometimes, words can say only so much. In the photos above and below, Russian President Vladimir Putin and Russian captain Alex Ovechkin celebrate together in the locker room after the Ruskies won the 2014 World Championship on Sunday.

They are total bros. Let’s just enjoy the moment.

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Washington Capitals defenseman Dmitry Orlov played in only three games for Team Russia during the World Championship. Dima’s tournament ended after he broke his arm and returned to North America to get surgery.

Orlov watched from home on Sunday as Russia defeated Finland 5-2 in the gold medal game. On Instagram afterwards, an excited Orlov tweeted a photo with the caption:

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Photo: championat.com

Minutes after Russia won the 2014 World Championship, suspended head coach Oleg Znarok made his way down to the ice to celebrate with his team. Znarok, who coached Alex Ovechkin in Dynamo Moscow, was immediately greeted by the Russian team captain. Ovechkin, grinning from ear to eat ear, waved over his teammates.

This is a nice moment.

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Photo: GingerHockey

Alex Ovechkin and Team Russia have won the IIHF World Championship. The Russians defeated Finland 5-2 in the gold medal game to win their fourth title since 2008. Russian captain Alex Ovechkin scored the game-tying goal. Nashville’ goaltender Pekka Rinne kept the Finns competitive, but the Russians feasted on the power play, scoring four of their five goals when a man up.

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While Team Russia won 3-1 over Sweden on Saturday, they may be advancing to the gold medal game without their head coach.

The reason: Alex Ovechkin’s KHL coach at Dynamo Moscow, Oleg Znarok, made a throat-slash gesture to Swedish assistant coach Rikard Gronborg. Oooooo, Russian drama!

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Photo: Russian Hockey Federation Instagram

In Russia’s 3-0 quarterfinals win against France on Thursday, Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin said he felt about 90% playing and was uncomfortable wearing a custom knee brace the Team Russia medical team special-ordered for him after suffering a leg injury four days prior.

Playing Sweden on Saturday, Ovechkin still didn’t feel 100%, but he did switch things up. According to Slava Malamud, Ovi wore a new knee brace. He also tallied an assist in Russia’s 3-1 win over Sweden. Russia will play in the World Championships gold medal game on Sunday.

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Photo: Andre Ringuette/HHOF-IIHF Images

Team Switzerland had a porous performance at the World Championship. Led by Roman Josi and Damien Brunner, the Swiss failed to qualify for the playoffs, finishing fifth in Group B due to Mikhail Grabovski’s game-winner for Belarus. Eliminated before the end of the preliminary round, the Swiss played spoiler for Latvia, who needed a win to make the quarterfinals.

Late in the third period, Latvia trailed 3-1. After pulling goalie Kristers Gudlevskis, the Latvians got a goal back from Zemgus Girgensons on a deflectionSoon after, Kaspars Daugavins turned the puck over, giving the Swiss a chance to seal the deal. Reto Suri and Thomas Rufenacht went two-on-none towards an empty net.

And then they blew it.

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2014 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship

Photo: Andre Ringuette

On July 1st, Washington Capitals center Mikhail Grabovski will become a UFA, free to sign with any NHL team. While I can only assume whoever the Caps hire as GM would want to re-sign him way before then (please), Grabo has been quietly raising his price halfway across the world at the 2014 World Championship.

On Saturday, Grabovski scored two goals, including his second game-winning goal of the tournament (his first gwg is here) to lead Belarus over Germany, 5-2.

On Monday, Grabovski scored the game-winning goal again, this time in a 3-1 victory against Latvia, sending Belarus to the playoff round for the first time since 2009.

Grabo is kicking ass. Amazing goal GIFs incoming.

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