After he was put on waivers by the Montreal Canadiens in December, former Capitals forward Alex Semin flew home to Russia and completed the 2015-16 season with Metallurg Magnitogorsk. Semin scored five goals and nine assists in 20 regular season games. In the playoffs, Semin did even better, notching seven goals and eight assists in 23 playoff games. Semin and Magnitogorsk won the Gagarin Cup as league champions.

Despite spending 11 seasons and playing 650 games in North America, Semin will not test the NHL free agent market. Instead, last Tuesday, Semin agreed to terms with Magnitogorsk. was the first to report the news.

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Photo: Art Livak

Alex Semin is a champion.

Tuesday, the former Washington Capitals “Young Gun” and current 19-year-old Caps goaltending prospect Ilya Samsonov won the Gagarin Cup with Metallurg Magnitogorsk. Metallurg defeated CSKA Moscow at home in Game Seven, 3-1. The win comes after firing coach Mike Keenan part way through the season.

The Gagarin Cup is the KHL’s equivalent of the Stanley Cup. It is the same cup that Alex Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom kinda-sorta technically won while they played in the KHL during the lockout shortened 2012-2013 NHL season. Semin scored 7 goals and put up 15 points in 23 playoff games en route to the final Game Seven victory. Samsonov was the backup goaltender throughout the playoffs, but he did post a 2-2 record in 6 appearances with a 2.29 GAA and a .916 save percentage.

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SKA’s mascot Firehorse is confused.

The KHL’s SKA St. Petersburg and Spartak Moscow may have set a record for the largest trade in hockey history as Spartak acquired 24 of SKA’s players and prospects for monetary compensation.

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Photo: Getty Images

SKA St. Petersburg’s forwards Artemy Panarin and Viktor Tikhonov intend to come over to North America this summer, as reported by Mikahil Zislis and Konstantin Nuzhdenov of the national news agency TASS. Tikhonov’s versatility and proven chemistry with Caps’ captain Alex Ovechkin should immediately put him on Washington’s radar. Panarin oozes offensive talent and has high-reward potential for any NHL team.

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How Will The KHL Get Through Russia’s Economic Crisis?


Sochi’s Olympic boss Dmitry Chernyshenko will face the hardest challenge in the KHL’s history in his first year as president. (Photo: Sergey Kuznetsov / RIA Novosti)

Russia’s financial crisis is in full throttle as the ruble fell below 65 to one dollar (as opposed to 33 one year ago), while Russia’s main export, oil, has fallen below 60 dollars per barrel for the first time since May 2009.

The changes in the economy will affect Russian hockey.

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A few years ago, Polish-born forward Wojtek Wolski came to the Washington Capitals as a reclamation project. Instead of becoming a permanent member in the team’s top six, he became a permanent denizen of Adam Oates’s doghouse and left for the KHL. Since then, he has had some success with Torpedo Nizhny Novgorod.

And by success I mean setting insane records. Today Wolski set the KHL record for the fastest hat trick ever. He did it pretty fast.

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Mike Keenan Nearly Assaults KHL Referees (Video)

Photo: KHL Photo Agency

Mike Keenan is not an easy guy to deal with; everybody knows that.

During his 20-year-long NHL career, Iron Mike got into more than a few personal conflicts. Yet the Washington Capitals reportedly interviewed Keenan for the head coaching gig two years ago, and his name has been floated again this year.

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If only all Gagarin Cup Finals were this good.

In game three,  the underdog Lev Prague, the first non-Russian team to make it this deep,  led 2-1 against powerhouse Metallurg Magnitogorsk, coached by Mike Keenan, late in the third period in front of home crowd of 16,435 spectators, the all-time KHL attendance record. That crowd got quite a show.

With the faceoff near the Lev blue line, Magnitka pulled the goalie for an extra attacker. They won the draw and set up in the offensive zone. A shot by KHL star Sergei Mozyakin was blocked, but the puck hopped right to the stick of an ex-Grand Rapids Griffin Francis Pare who put it past Lev’s Petri Vehanen. Tie game.

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Photo: @Kuzya92

Evgeny Kuznetsov‘s Traktor Chelyabinsk was eliminated from playoff contention a few hours before their game against Ak Bars on Tuesday. It was still a big game for Kuznetsov, who has been treating it as if it would be his last in Chelyabinsk.

This post contains everything we know so far. We’ll be updating throughout the day.

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Early on Tuesday morning, Admiral, the eighth best team in the KHL’s Eastern Conference, defeated Amur 4-1. Admiral has now qualified for the KHL Playoffs. This also means that Evgeny Kuznetsov‘s Traktor Chelyabinsk, who was the Eastern Conference Champions last season, will miss the playoffs entirely for the first time since 2010-11.

Despite high hopes for this season, Traktor couldn’t quite get it together. Kuznetsov, the hometown star and offensive leader, suffered a shoulder injury that required shoulder surgery on September 6th, just a few games into the season. A few months later, Kuznetsov suffered a freak knee injury that also required surgery.

Traktor will now participate in the Nadezhda Cup, the KHL’s “loser” tournament for teams that don’t make the postseason.

It remains to be seen what Kuznetsov will do next.

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