Failure in Sochi brought big changes to the Russian hockey team. Zinetula Bilyaletdinov and the whole coaching staff (except one guy) were sacked, as was the general manager. The Russian Federation of Hockey (FHR) didn’t stop there: they also changed the team’s PR man, Mikhail Zakharov. Stepping in for him was a controversial figure: Sport-Express’ Igor Larin.

Choosing a member of the press to run media relations is already questionable (it’s like hiring a pilot to be an airline operator), but Larin’s candidacy seemed a bad idea from day one.

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The topic of Alex Ovechkin naturally came up at Tuesday’s press conference introducing new GM Brian MacLellan and new head coach Barry Trotz.

“I’m going to have a conversation with Ovi on his role with the group and how I would like to play,” Trotz said, before admitting he had some problems communicating with the Russian machine. “I haven’t really discussed that with him [though]. Actually, I talked to him when he was over in Russia and they won the World Championships, and he was at Mr. Putin’s house — I believe, or somewhere like that — so it wasn’t the proper time to really sit down and do that.”

If the Kremlin counts as “Putin’s house,” then yes Ovechkin was totally there yesterday.

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Washington Capitals defenseman Dmitry Orlov played in only three games for Team Russia during the World Championship. Dima’s tournament ended after he broke his arm and returned to North America to get surgery.

Orlov watched from home on Sunday as Russia defeated Finland 5-2 in the gold medal game. On Instagram afterwards, an excited Orlov tweeted a photo with the caption:

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Photos via a gallery from championat.com

After failing to medal in the Sochi Olympics, Alex Ovechkin and the rest of Team Russia wanted redemption in the 2014 World Championship. In front of President Putin at Minsk Arena, Russia beat Finland 5-2 to win gold. They went undefeated, winning 10 consecutive games in the tournament.

Ovechkin, who served as the Russian team captain for the first time since his junior days, scored a goal in the gold medal game, his fourth of the tournament.

Below, Ovechkin and his Caps teammate Evgeny Kuznetsov celebrate their 2014 World Championship win.

It’s no Stanley Cup, but what an awesome moment for Ovi.

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Photo: championat.com

Minutes after Russia won the 2014 World Championship, suspended head coach Oleg Znarok made his way down to the ice to celebrate with his team. Znarok, who coached Alex Ovechkin in Dynamo Moscow, was immediately greeted by the Russian team captain. Ovechkin, grinning from ear to eat ear, waved over his teammates.

This is a nice moment.

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Photo: GingerHockey

Alex Ovechkin and Team Russia have won the IIHF World Championship. The Russians defeated Finland 5-2 in the gold medal game to win their fourth title since 2008. Russian captain Alex Ovechkin scored the game-tying goal. Nashville’ goaltender Pekka Rinne kept the Finns competitive, but the Russians feasted on the power play, scoring four of their five goals when a man up.

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While Team Russia won 3-1 over Sweden on Saturday, they may be advancing to the gold medal game without their head coach.

The reason: Alex Ovechkin’s KHL coach at Dynamo Moscow, Oleg Znarok, made a throat-slash gesture to Swedish assistant coach Rikard Gronborg. Oooooo, Russian drama!

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Photo: Russian Hockey Federation Instagram

In Russia’s 3-0 quarterfinals win against France on Thursday, Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin said he felt about 90% playing and was uncomfortable wearing a custom knee brace the Team Russia medical team special-ordered for him after suffering a leg injury four days prior.

Playing Sweden on Saturday, Ovechkin still didn’t feel 100%, but he did switch things up. According to Slava Malamud, Ovi wore a new knee brace. He also tallied an assist in Russia’s 3-1 win over Sweden. Russia will play in the World Championships gold medal game on Sunday.

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Ovechkin’s tongue sure does look spry and healthy. (Photo: R-Sport)

For the first time since the Olympics, Russia had both Evgeni Malkin and Alex Ovechkin in their line-up. Russia defeated France 3-0, but the two superstars did not skate exclusively together. Malkin was paired with Viktor Tikhonov and Nikolai Kulyomin, while Ovechkin skated on the second line with Sergei Plotnikov and Vadim Shipachyov.

In his grand return from his definitely-not-a-knee injury, Ovechkin skated 12 minutes over the first and second periods. He was benched later in the third period and did not record any shots or points. A day after saying, “I am not wearing any brace,” Ovechkin wore a knee brace.

After the game, Ovechkin spoke to reporters about his health.

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Photo: Pavel Lysenkov

On Wednesday, Team Russia captain Alex Ovechkin practiced with his team for the first time since suffering a knee injury on Sunday against Germany. Or so we thought!

After he left the ice, Ovechkin spoke to a scrum of reporters and waxed poetic on his injury.”It’s hard to say that I have a knee problem,” Ovechkin said according to R-Sport, confusing everyone. “It’s actually something a bit different.”

When asked if he was planning to wear the custom-made knee brace the Team Russia medical staff ordered for him, Ovechkin seemed unsure. “I am not wearing any brace,” he said. “They brought it to me, but so far I have not tried the magical brace. Let me repeat, it’s not my knee, but different organs and muscles. I skated today, I have some pain, but of course, it is better than it was the first day.”

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