evgeny-kuznetsov

Photo: Bruce Bennett

It’s summer, which means we should be expecting Russian NHLers to do what they normally do: jet-ski on a lake in the middle of Siberia and maybe judge a beauty contest in Moscow. This summer, however, has been a bit different for Evgeny Kuznetsov, who is spending his summer break on this continent while he takes care of his newborn daughter.

In a three-part interview (1, 2, 3) with Sovetsky Sport’s Pavel Lysenkov, Kuznetsov talks about his baby (his daughter’s middle name is Evgenia) and the negotiations behind his new two-year contract with the Washington Capitals.

“It is not a secret that I wanted a long-term deal,” Kuznetsov said. “But we ran out of time. And decided that two years is the right option, and Washington did not object.”

That, and literally a million other things are covered in this mammoth interview.

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ilya-samsonov-caps

Photo: Mike Ehrmann

When the Capitals drafted Ilya Samsonov 22nd overall at last month’s NHL Draft, many people were surprised that the team, already stocked with goaltending talent, would select another netminder. In spite of conventional wisdom, the Capitals insisted that they always draft the best player available. In this case, Samsonov was the best player available.

“Our scouting staff as a whole, individually and as a whole, were more than happy to be able to call his name,” Capitals assistance general manager Ross Mahoney told reporters at the draft. “We’ve always talked in the past about trying to draft the best player that’s available to us and for sure we thought he was our best player that we could take with that pick, so we went ahead and took him.”

Despite a contract with Metallurg Magnitogorsk that runs for three more years, the Capitals planned on Samsonov’s attending their development camp in July to work with goalie coach Mitch Korn.

“He has a contract, but we’ve had players in the past, some Russian players that we’ve drafted and they were able to come over,” Mahoney said. “We have tremendous confidence in our goalie coaches, being able to help this young man develop his game and bring it to a level that’ll get him to succeed in the NHL.”

That, however, never happened. While the Capitals first claimed Samsonov was missing camp due to a visa issue, he was actually attending Metallurg’s training camp as first reported by our own Ian Oland. Despite the mix-up, the Capitals didn’t purport to be concerned when they addressed the issue last week.

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ilya-samsonov

With the 22nd pick in the 2015 NHL Draft, the Washington Capitals took Russian goaltender Ilya Samsonov. Due to an ankle injury, the 18-year-old goaltender missed the NHL’s combine in Buffalo. The day before the draft, however, TASS’s Mikhail Zislis spoke to the young Russian and asked him about everything: from which goaltenders Ilya models himself after to his entire experience leading up to the draft.

Fedor Fedin has your translation.

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backstrom-hip-injury

Photo: Greg Fiume

Two weeks ago, the Washington Capitals announced that first line center Nicklas Backstrom went under the knife to have an arthroscopic procedure done on his hip. The club added in a statement that they were “confident” he will be “completely healthy” before the start of the 2015-16 regular season.

Over the weekend, Backstrom spoke to Erik Illerhag of his hometown Swedish newspaper Gefle Dagblad and revealed that this injury was something that was bothering him all year.

As translated by Malin Elis of Hockey Ramblings, Backstrom told GD.se, “I’ve been in pain since sometime in November so we had to fix it.”

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don-loves-ovechkin

Hahaha. Yeah, ooooooook, Don.

Old, yelling, Canadian relic Don Cherry left his piano desk on Wednesday and spoke to SovSport’s Pavel Lysenkov after game four. Cherry answered questions about a variety of Russian hockey topics, but our RMNB radar went into panic mode when he brought up Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin.

Over the years, Cherry has made Ovi one of his favorite athletes to flog. From telling the three-time MVP to “have a little class” to declaring some NHL player is “gonna cut him in half,” Cherry has made his feelings known about the Russian star.

Wednesday, Cherry revealed that “Ovechkin is one of my favorite players.” Wait, what?

Igor Kleyner has your translation.

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matt-hendricks-yes

On Friday, Sovetsky Sport’s Pavel Lysenkov published the second part of a Russian-language interview he had with 2012 first overall pick, Nail Yakupov. Yakupov spoke mostly about things we marginally care about like the Russian National Team and his dog. Then Lysenkov asked Yak if he had any good stories to tell from his time in Edmonton so far.

Yes, he did, and it involved former paralyzing Capital/wagon, Matt Hendricks!

Igor Kleyner has your translation.

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kuzy-russia

Photo: @kuzy092

On Tuesday, Evgeny Kuznetsov and teammate Dmitry Orlov flew home to Russia. By Wednesday, Kuznetsov was already dishing to the Russian media.

While speaking with Moscow sports radio station 93.2 SportFM, Kuznetsov spoke about his first season playing under Barry Trotz and the differences between the NHL and KHL. He sounded like Christopher Columbus discovering a new world.

Igor Kleyner has your translation.

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ovechkin-sad

Photo: championat.com

Alex Ovechkin‘s 2014-15 season came to an end Sunday as Team Russia got crushed by Team Canada 6-1 in the World Championship gold-medal game. Yes, that’s two crushing defeats for the Russian Machine in five days.

Ovechkin left DC for the Czech Republic Thursday afternoon approximately 15 hours after the Caps lost to the Rangers in game seven. Ovi scored a goal and tallied an assist in Russia’s 4-0 semifinal win against the United States Saturday.

On Sunday, however, Ovechkin managed only two shots on goal in 15:57 of ice time. Russia’s roster, filled with mostly KHL players (and Evgeni Malkin), could not overcome Canada’s team full of NHL all-stars (plus Cody Eakin).

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ovechkin-celebration

Photo: Capstagram

Last night, the Washington Capitals found out that they had earned a playoff spot while flying back to DC from Detroit. According to the Caps’ Mike Vogel, there was a “loud cheer on the plane as [the] boys learned the news.”

If that wasn’t endearing enough, the Caps took a ridiculous celebration picture as Mike Green, Nicklas Backstrom, and Alex Ovechkin emerged from the plane. They smiled for the camera flailing their arms like it was an R. Kelly video.

Ovechkin didn’t stop there. Not even a little.

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evgeny-kuznetsov-dmitry-orlov

Photo: @kuzy092

On Monday, Evgeny Kuznetsov did a Russian language interview with Sport FM radio host Vladimir Dekhtyarev. Kuznetsov gabbed about his season to date and explained what it has been like playing under Barry Trotz.

“His plan was easy to understand,” Kuznetsov said, as translated by Fedor Fedin. “It was hard though to do all the little things that he demands, everything, even what side to place the stick on. Nothing escapes his attention. He watches very carefully and it was tough to change early on.”

The interview even features a cameo by Dmitry Orlov who started talking while in the car. Check it out.

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