Washington Capitals top prospect Evgeny Kuznetsov has had a tough time this year. Over the last few months, he’s suffered three injuries. When he’s been healthy, he’s struggled. Traktor Chelyabinsk, which played in the KHL Finals last season, is barely clinging to the eighth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. Kuznetsov remains out with a leg injury.

In a Russian language interview with Alexander Rogulev of R-Sport, the 21-year-old star said he has ended negotiations with Traktor and reiterated that this will be his last season in the KHL.

“It’s been decided for a long time now, there should be no questions,” Kuznetsov said. “I won’t even stay for $10 or $15 million. The people [in Washington] have been waiting for me for three years.”

Continue Reading

Tagged with:
 

evgeny-kuznetsov-color-commentator

Photo credit: @konstantinu74

Team Russia announced its Olympic roster today, and– to no one’s surprise– Evgeny Kuznetsov’s name is not on the list of 22 skaters who will fight for gold in Sochi next month. That’s an unfortunate twist for a young player who, two years ago, delayed his jump to the NHL in order to improve his chances of making of making the Sbornaya. The omission is not even controversial, as Kuzya has had a nightmare season, including a slew of injuries and below-par play when healthy.

But fear not, the few and proud members of the Kuzya fan club. While your hero’s hockey career has taken a very circuitous path, Zhenya has been testing the waters in an alternative occupation while recovering from his latest injury. No, not driving a bulldozer, dabbling in real estate market, head-butting a sitcom character, or torturing an imaginary microphone with his interpretation of an old pop song. Kuzya is trying out a new hobby that’s a bit less exotic: TV hockey analyst. Last Sunday, Evgeny acted as color commentator for Chelyabinsk local channel OTV’s broadcast team during the 2nd and 3rd periods of Traktor’s game against the visiting Slovan of Bratislava. Kuznetsov shared with the TV audience a few bits of hockey wisdom and insider information from the team’s locker room. During intermission, Kuzya provided expert analysis of his team’s performance (“What did I like? That we scored two goals and did not allow any.”… “Who has been the standout so far? Our goalie and the defense. And all of our forwards.”) and made a prediction for the final period.

Continue Reading

Andre Burakovsky is a Hugger (Video)

In all honesty, we don’t know much about Washington Capitals 2013 first round pick Andre Burakovsky. While Evgeny Kuznetsov is an open-yet-confusing book, all we know about Burakovsky is that his dad used to play in the NHL and the dude really, really likes macaroni and cheese and cinnamon rollers.

But everything changed last week when we saw a special feature on Burakovsky filmed by SVT — better known as Sveriges Television. The angle of the feature focused on Burakovsky’s reunion with his best friend in the whole wide world, Nick Sörensen, and playing on the same line together at the World Junior Championships.

We learned that Burakovsky is a playful and inquisitive guy. And that he’s a huge hugger. Like zero respect of personal space with this guy.

Continue Reading

Tagged with:
 

andre-burakovsky-wjc14

Photo credit: Lars Dareberg

Washington Capitals 2013 first round pick Andre Burakovsky was fantastic in the 2014 World Junior Championships. The 18-year-old was a point per game player for Team Sweden, scoring three goals and tallying seven points in seven tournament games.

Burakovsky had two shots in Sunday’s heartbreaking loss to Finland in overtime of the gold medal game.

Kent Jonsson of the local Malmo newspaper Sydsvenska Dagbladet caught up with Burakovsky after Team Sweden’s crushing loss in the Gold Medal game. He was upset.

Continue Reading

Tagged with:
 

GraboPatrickSmith

Photo credit: Patrick Smith

The Washington Capitals 2013-14 season has been a roller coaster, but their big summer acquisition, Mikhail Grabovski, has been one of the team’s most reliable performers. The 29-year-old Belarussian has adjusted splendidly to his new team and is on pace to comfortably exceed his career-best season total of 58 points — all earned while centering just about every winger on the Capitals roster. Grabo has received accolades from coaches, teammates, and analysts alike– a significant turnaround from the disastrous end to his time with the Maple Leafs.

So, how is Misha settling in the new city, how does he get along with gracious host Alex Ovechkin, and, of course, what led to the conflict between him and his old coach? Those are just some of the questions Igor Tichonenko of the Russian Service of Voice of America asked Grabo a couple of weeks ago when they met up at KCI. They went for a ride in Grabo’s car — in spite of having roomed with his captain for a few months now, Grabo does not drive 250 km/hr (at least not with camera rolling). You can watch the whole interview, and just in case your Russian has gotten a tad rusty, you are welcome to cheat and follow along the translation below.

Continue Reading

Tagged with:
 

Evgeny Kuznetsov is having a rough time. He has had no points in the last five games and has been left off the national roster for the Channel One Cup, suggesting a slim chance of making the Olympic team.

Now it seems the hometown fans have turned on him.

Continue Reading

ovechkin-with-milestone-puck

Photo credit: Igor Kleyner

Alex Ovechkin had a pretty good night at the rink Tuesday. The Washington Capitals captain almost single-handedly (okay, Nicky and Grubi helped) dragged the team out of the 3-0 hole they had dug. Four goals and an avalanche of hats later, Ovi’s night to remember was in the books. And that outrageously awesome tying goal celly – was Alex the Great going for a swim at center ice?  Showing off a triple Salchow? Channeling his inner Superman? Whatever it was, it must have been something Alex devised ahead of time and saved for a special occasion, right?

Well, maybe not.

Continue Reading

Burakovsky carries the puck during a game against USA at the U18 World Championships last spring. (Photo credit: Matthew Murnaghan/HHOF-IIHF Images)

Washington Capitals prospects Andre Burakovsky and Christian Djoos have been selected to the list of 26 players named to Sweden’s preliminary roster for the World Juniors, which will be held in Malmo, Sweden.

Djoos, 19, won silver with Team Sweden last year in Ufa, Russia, while Burakovsky was left off the roster.

Djoos is an offensive defenseman with good passing and a high hockey IQ. His size and defensive abilities are question marks as he looks to move to the next level (the Caps have until next June 1st to sign him). He has struggled offensively this year with Brynas in the SHL after an impressive second half of last year.

Burakovsky is on a roll as of late. On a stacked Erie Otters team, he has 39 points in 27 games so far. This will be a special tournament for Burakovsky, who was raised in Malmo and played there for the local Redhawks before coming over to North America to sign with Erie, where he plays with his fellow countryman goaltender Oskar Dansk.

Continue Reading

Tagged with:
 

alex-ovechkin-maxim-russia

The caption reads: “I wasn’t looking at the welding arc. May I now lick the frozen iron?” (Photo credit: Maxim Russia)

Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin has been making the rounds lately to promote the upcoming Olympics and his (Gilette-sponsored) “steely character.” Last week, Ovechkin spoke to R-Sport about his impressive car collection and how his parents remain confused as to why he needs more than one car.

This week, Ovechkin strapped into a robot suit for Maxim Russia and yapped about more fascinating things. Ovechkin detailed his training regimen and how much he does or does not lift weights during the season, he mis-remembered where the phrase “Russian machine never breaks” comes from, and he revealed the last time he was scared.

Below, Igor Kleyner has your translation.

Continue Reading

Tagged with:
 

ovi-tennis

Photo credit: rsport.ru

With the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi approaching, Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin has been doing a bunch of Russian-language interviews to promote the games and his sponsors. Over the weekend, Ovi spoke with R-Sport and– after he got in a plug for Gillette and his steely character– he talked about his family, Maria, and his favorite spots in Washington. It’s a good read.

Weird thing: despite being world-class athletes back in the day, Ovechkin’s parents don’t understand why Ovi needs more than one car. Kids these days.

Continue Reading