On Sunday night, a large number of NHL stars will board NHLPA chartered flights from Russian to North America. One player who will not be on that flight is Washington Capitals forward Marcus Johansson.
While the best hockey players in the world are duking it out for gold in Sochi, the KHL — just like other domestic leagues — is shut down for the Olympic pause. With the break almost over, Traktor Chelyabinsk held their mid-season “preseason” game against Avtomobilist Ekaterinburg. After the game, future Capital Evgeny Kuznetsov talked to Oleg Savinkov of Chelyabinskhockey.ru about the Olympics and his departure for North America.
Photo: Winslow Townson
Team Russia defeated Norway 4-0 on Tuesday to advance to the quarterfinals tomorrow against Finland. Despite leading his countrymen in shots again today (4), Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin did not score. He hasn’t tallied since Russia’s first game and first goal of the Olympics against Slovenia – a drought of three games – though he leads all of Team Russia in shots fired (21).
Ovechkin spoke after the game to RBC.ru and was asked about the lack of goal scoring. He also had intense words about playing Finland.
For everyone hoping Evgeny Kuznetsov would be in Washington as soon as the Olympics ended: he will not. On Monday, Kuznetsov invited Russian rapper Basta to the last four Traktor home games of the season. Also, Traktor appears likely to squeak into the playoffs as the Eastern Conference’s number eight seed.
So obviously, he won’t be coming over right away, but Kuznetsnov wants everyone to know it’ll happen “very soon.”
Photo: Jayne Kamin
Alex Ovechkin and Team Russia played John Carlson and Team USA Saturday morning. The game was an instant classic, the best of the Olympic tournament thus far. Russia lost 3-2 in the shootout after TJ Oshie scored the deciding tally on Sergei Bobrovsky five-hole.
Ovechkin spoke to R-Sport after the game.
“Today’s game was even worthy of a final,” he said to Alexander Rogulev. “It was a good game, unfortunately we lost in the shootout.”
Photo: Winslow Townson
Alex Ovechkin scored a goal and an assist in his first game of the Sochi Olympics. Russia won handily, defeating Slovenia 5-2.
Despite the win and his own personal production, Ovechkin wasn’t satisfied with the game. Russia struggled in the second period and watched helplessly as Slovenia’s Žiga Jeglič scored twice. Those goals made the game a tight, one-goal affair heading into the third period.
Screenshot via Christoffer S.
Britt Bäckström, the 84-year-old grandmother of Nicklas Backstrom, gave a video interview earlier in the week to the small-town newspaper Östersundsposten, later picked up by Aftonbladet. Her comments about her grandson are curious. “He’s gonna make a fool of himself [in Sochi],” Grandma Backstrom said, as translated by reader Magnus. “He’s been playing so bad. For a long time.”
Here’s one newsworthy thing (according to RMNB’s somewhat loose definition) that happened in the interview: Grandma Britt shared this baby photo of Nicklas Backstrom’s daughter, Haley.
Britt says of Haley, “She looks so much like Nicklas when he was born.”
Photo: Linda Forsell
Nicklas Backstrom is no stranger to Russian hockey. During the 2011 lockout, Backstrom put up 25 points in 19 games with Alex Ovechkin‘s Dynamo Moscow. Now back in Russia with Team Sweden for the Sochi Olympics, Backstrom will once again suit up for European hockey– but this time he’ll be playing against his BFF Ovi.
Nicky and Alex spoke with Henrik Sjöberg of Expressen about what it’ll be like to play against each other, and if Nick expects kid gloves from Alex should they collide on ice.
(No, he does not.)
And things got a little testy– in a playful way. Jake Ware has your translation.
Ovi sits with head coach Zinetula Bilyaletdinov and Pavel Datsyuk (Photo: Getty)
Around 2AM eastern time, Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin and fiancee Maria Kirilenko landed in Sochi. Russian dudes Artem Anisimov and Pavel Datsyuk were there as well. The arrival signaled the beginning of a long day for the Russian machine, which I will now document for you.
Photo: Patrick Smith
With only a couple games left before the NHL shuts down for the Olympics, the international hockey press’ interest in Capitals captain and Sochi goodwill ambassador Alex Ovechkin has increased from Unhealthy to Insatiable. Speaking with Sovetsky Sport correspondent Pavel Lysenkov during his recent pre-Olympic media tour, Alex Ovechkin recounted Olympics of yore, cheering fiancee Maria Kirilenko onto winning bronze in London, and meeting 22-time Olympic medalist Michael Phelps.
And also the time he nearly wrecked his car a few weeks ago, but didn’t. So that’s good.
Your translated interview is below.