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Photo: Bruce Bennett

Alex Ovechkin‘s skates aren’t the only things looking more patriotic for the Sochi Olympics. During Monday’s practice at the Bolshoy Ice Dome, the Russian machine debuted brand new sticks, specially designed by Bauer to match his skates and uniform. The bottom half of the stick is boring: a simple black with Ovechkin’s number eight and the Bauer logo. The top half is where the design gets fancy.

There’s a stripe of blue, as seen in the country’s flag. Then there’s Россия, Russia written in the mother tongue, over a white background. Then the stick concludes with a bright red and the Russian coat of arms overlaid in white.

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Photo credit: AllHockey.ru

After his tennis superstar girlfriend Maria Kirilenko won a bronze medal at the Olympics on August 5th, Alex Ovechkin tweeted to the world,”we take [the medal] to Moscow and make party!!” But that wasn’t the only reason Ovechkin returned to his home country.

A few days later, on August 10th, Ovechkin hosted a master class for children at the Yantar hockey rink in downtown Moscow (which coincidentally is only four miles away from Fedor’s house).

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Photo credit: Bruce Bennett

Concussions have become the topic du jour around the NHL in the last few years, and for very good reason. Nearly a hundred cases of head trauma have been recorded just this season, and with Caps star Nicklas Backstrom missing forty games with concussion the issue has now hit DC  fans closer to home. Despite his highly physical style of play, Alex Ovechkin has managed to avoid concussion so far in his career. Still, he hasn’t been ignoring the epidemic, and for several months Ovechkin has been testing Bauer’s new trauma-preventative RE-AKT helmet. It’s now being worn by several other Bauer-sponsored NHL stars, but Ovechkin was the first to agree to test the RE-AKT — even before Backstrom’s incident with Rene Bourque.

We spoke to C.J. Ficek, Bauer’s Product Manager for Helmets to find out more about the helmet and Ovi’s decision to wear it.

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Alex Ovechkin Signs Six-Year Deal with Bauer

Ovi sports his new gear. Click to enlarge. (Photo credit: Bauer)

Photo credit: Chris Gordon

The world’s most famous hockey player has got some new gear. After dropping CCM over the summer, Alex Ovechkin unveiled a new six-year sponsorship with rival manufacturer Bauer, whose equipment Ovi used for the first three years of his career. This is Ovechkin’s second new sponsorship of the week after news of his long-term deal with superpower Nike for “lifestyle” and “performance” products surfaced on Thursday night.

“I think that CCM treat me well,” Ovechkin told reporters Tuesday afternoon. “They help me a lot and without that project I can’t score 65 goals. But in that kind of moment and that kind of situation right now, I feel that Bauer is company who I’m looking forward to work with. I played with this stick a couple years ago and I like it.”

The move doesn’t exactly come as a surprise. With Ovi’s ditching CCM — and therefore their parent company Reebok — that left Bauer as the only company with the cash to pickup a superstar endorsement.

The move was also teased on Bauer’s Web site over the holiday weekend, with their home page sporting a picture of skates with the Great Eight’s trademark yellow laces and the banner “This year will be different.”

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