Mark French Wins First Game As KHL Coach

Former Hershey Bears coach Mark French won his first KHL game. Medvescak Zagreb blew out star-studded CSKA Moscow (managed by former Capital Sergey Fedorov) in a score of 7-1.

It was also the Croatian club’s first game in the KHL. Before this season, Medvescak played in the Austrian EBEL league.

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Kuzya is definitely taking this seriously. (Photo credit:

Traktor Chelyabinsk’s KHL training camp started a few days ago. Sadly, Russian players have waved goodbye to their summers full of vodka-flavored borscht and two-a-day video game sessions. Traktor players are now working out together and doing off-ice team-led drills in downtown Chelyabinsk.

Washington Capitals prospect Evgeny Kuznetsov was there for his final KHL training camp on Tuesday, and thanks to a robust 44-picture photo gallery from, we can document the grueling session on the stationary bike, the jumping of rope until he couldn’t jump no mo’, the lifting of impossible weights, and the kicking of legs up and down furiously at some hurdle thing.

Tuesday’s session was led by some old guy with a mullet. Embrace the summer content.

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Nicky, during his stint with Dynamo. (Photo credit: Fedor Uspensky / Sport-Express)

Nicklas Backstrom’s name will appear on the Gagarin Cup after all, KHL champions Dynamo Moscow announced Tuesday. Originally, the team decided not to engrave names of the players who played fewer than 26 games or weren’t with the team at the end of the regular season. Backstrom scored 25 points in 19 KHL games before flying back to Washington when the lockout ended.

Just like any other Russian matter, the organization has changed its mind after one Dynamo fan site posted an open letter to the club looking for more clarity. “It is unclear to us why the names of some players are absent on the prestigious trophy,” authors Artem Dorozhkin (Dynamo’s former PR guy) and Maxim Shcherbinin wrote. “We’re asking you to tell us the reason why certain players were left off the list the club submitted to the KHL. It will help avoid useless rumors among Dynamo Moscow fans.”

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Ovi wears his boot on stage. This man is clearly devoted to getting healthy. (Photos via the KHL’s Facebook page)

Alex Ovechkin played 31 games for his hometown KHL team, Dynamo Moscow, before the NHL lockout ended in January. During that time, Ovechkin scored 19 goals and had 40 points. Even without Ovi and Nicklas Backstrom, Dynamo went on to beat Evgeny Kuznetsov’s Traktor Chelyabinsk in the finals and repeat as champions. And because of his teammates’ hard work, his role as an advisor, and early season stint with the team, Ovechkin got some pretty sweet hardware for his trouble.

Ovechkin will receive the team’s championship ring, his name has been written on the Gagarin Cup, and now, Ovi has joined his Dynamo teammates on a parade through Moscow and received a gold medal. It’s not a World Championships gold medal, but hey, this will do.

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Evgeny Kuznetsov denied on a breakaway by Dynamo’s Alexander Yeremenko during the Gagarin Cup Finals (Photo credit: R-Sport)

Sport-Express is reporting a potential trade between Dynamo Moscow and Traktor Chelyabinsk involving Evgeny Kuznetsov, one of the KHL’s brightest stars and a prominent Caps prospect. According to one of  Russia’s most popular sports publications, Kuznetsov may follow two other young forwards, Valery Nichushkin and Maxim Karpov, who have already been traded from Chelyabinsk to Moscow.

From Sports-Express:

After Valery Nichushkin and Maxim Karpov, another Traktor player may move to Dynamo: Evgeny Kuznetsov. According to [Sport-Express’] information, blue-and-whites [Dynamo] have started talks with Traktor about buying the rights and contract of the 2012 World Champion and 2011 World Junior Champion. Kuznetsov is currently with the Russian national team at the World Championships, but hasn’t been placed on the finalized roster yet.

If this rumor is true, Traktor is in a state of upheaval, and it’s possible Evgeny Kuznetsov may be headed to Washington sooner than planned– or not at all.

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Ovechkin, Komarov, and some body parts of Backstrom during their stint with Dynamo. (Photo credit: HC Dynamo)

On Wednesday, Dynamo Moscow beat Evgeny Kuznetsov‘s Traktor Chelyabisnk to win the Gagarin Cup for the second straight year. After the win, some Russian media outlets reported that Alex Ovechkin‘s name will be engraved on the Cup as he played in more than half of the regular season games with Dynamo. Ovi also said he’s going to get a championship ring.

Today those same outlets, Sovetsky Sport particularly, pulled a CNN and denied their own report (and unpublished the original stories), claiming that Ovechkin, Nicklas Backstrom, and Leo Komarov doesn’t fit the definition of “loaned” players. A loaned player in the KHL is a player who was sent down to a minor professional league like the VHL. Since their contracts were voided when the three went back to the NHL, the number of games played is irrelevant. Technically, Ovechkin, Backstrom, and Komarov are no longer part of Dynamo.

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Dynamo forward Denis Kokarev celebrating the victory. (Photo credit: RIA Novosti/Alexey Filippov)

Alex Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom‘s former KHL team, Dynamo Moscow, has beat Evgeny Kuznetsov’s Traktor Chelyabinsk 3-2 in overtime to secure a championship win in game 6 of the Gagarin Cup finals, taking the hardware home for the second straight year.

Despite a few good chances, Caps prospect Evgeny Kuznetsov, was held without a point. Kuznetsov had eleven points in 25 games during his team’s long playoff journey.

Back in Washington, Ovechkin and Backstrom shared their happiness via Twitter.

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Fifteen years ago, former Capital Esa Tikkanen had a breakaway in game two of the Stanley Cup Finals. It could have iced the game for Washington and led them to the franchise’s first Cup. Instead, his shot completely missed the wide-open net and the Capitals were swept in four games by the Detroit Red Wings.

Caps prospect Evgeny Kuznetsov had his own painful playoff moment Friday. With Traktor Chelyabinsk trailing Dynamo Moscow in the KHL Finals 2-1, Kuzya had a chance to put Traktor in total control of game three, when he was sprung on a breakaway mid-way during the second period. At approximately 95 MPH, Kuznetsov performed his patented breakaway move where he fakes a forehand shot and then puts the puck waaaaaay on his backhand, trying to slip the biscuit past the goalie. It almost worked.

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Photo credit: Vitaly Gubin / HC Traktor

Caps prospect Evgeny Kuznetsov scored his team’s first-ever KHL finals goal and the fifth of his postseason, but his team couldn’t add to it. Dynamo took game one of the KHL finals, 2-1. In game two, Kuzynetsov picked up an assist, but Traktor lost again after allowing a late goal.

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Just because the NHL lockout ended three months ago doesn’t mean that the channel Russia 2 is going to stop using Alex Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom in promos for Dynamo Moscow games. During the channel’s coverage of Sunday’s Manchester United/Chelsea game, Ovi and Nicky popped up in an animated promo at the bottom of the screen, encouraging viewers to watch the CSKA/Dynamo Moscow playoff series. Because they’ll be there! Er…

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