Nikolishin and Evgeny Kuznetsov at a child hospital in Chelyabinsk during the 2009-10 season.

Andrei Nikolishin spent parts of six seasons with the Washington Capitals from 1996-2002. Nikolishin played a crucial role for the only Caps team to make the Stanley Cup Finals in 1997-98. He’s also played with some of the franchise’s biggest (and most controversial) stars including Peter Bondra, Olie Kolzig, and Jaromir Jagr.

When he spoke with Denis Romantsev of the Sports.ru blog Soul Kitchen, Niko touched on a few topics Capitals fans should take interest in. Nikolshin dished on Jagr’s trying years in Washington, saying that the future hall of famer clashed with then-captain Adam Oates. He also talks about his relationship with former Capital defenseman Mikhail Tatarinov, who struggled with alcoholism and spent time in jail for murder after his career ended.

RMNB’s Igor Kleyner has your translation.

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Chris Simon

A portrait of Chris Simon taken by the KHL’s official magazine, Hot Ice

After leaving the Washington Capitals in 2002, Chris Simon played for five different NHL clubs over the following seven seasons. He received four suspensions during that time, including a 25-game ban for slashing Ryan Hollweg in the face and a 30-game sit down for tripping Jarkko Ruutu and then stomping on his leg with his skate.

In 2008, Simon opted to have a clean slate and joined the KHL. He signed with the league’s toughest team, Vityaz Chekhov. Known as the “Indian” among Vityaz fans, Simon quickly became a fan favorite and was named captain of the team. With Vityaz, he participated in the mega-brawl against Avangard Omsk, which resulted in both teams accumulating 600 PIM and a cancellation of the match. However, Simon’s scoring totals steadily grew every year in the KHL (eight goals in 2008-09, 13 in 2009-10 and 16 in 2010-11) and he was recently named to the 2011 KHL All-Star Game. Rumors that he would be traded at the deadline were circulating and finally, five days before the All-Star Game, he was traded to UHC Dynamo Moscow, who were looking to add some grit to their line-up for the playoffs. The second seed in the East, Dynamo was upset by Dinamo Riga in the first-round in a heart-breaking six-game series. Shortly after, Sport-Express spoke with the former Cap.

Below the jump, RMNB’s Igor Kleyer has translated the rare Simon interview. The 39 year-old talks about what it was like to learn Russian, who helped him settle in with his new team and why he decided to become a “tough guy” in the first place.

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Avangard vs. Vityaz: the Bloodiest Rivalry in Hockey Escalates

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Darcy the Fighter (photo via KP.ru)

UPDATE 12/11, 3PM: Suspensions have been doled out. Belokon has been suspended for 13 games, Verot for 12, Gratton for 15, and Larin for 13. Avangard will pay 100k RUR (3.3k USD) to the KHL, and Vityaz will pay 400k RUR (13k USD). Justice is served. Go about your day, citizen.

Editor’s note- Fedor is a total fanboy for Avangard. This is not dispassionate reporting.

We’ve written before about the Avangard-Vityaz rivalry and how it all started back in ’09. After almost two years and two fight-ful games, 12/10/10 begins a new era in the rivalry. For the newbies, here’s a little background:

  • Vityaz Chekhov (stars: ex-Cap Chris Simon, ex-Bear Brandon Sugden, ex-Cap Darcy Verot, Josh Gratton) is the toughest team in the KHL, full of provokers and shameless punks. They were rumored to have signed the legendary Chris Chelios a few weeks ago. They are dead last in the West– 8 points behind the next spot, 17 points out of the playoffs. Their coach is the best Russian fighter in the NHL history, Andrei Nazarov.
  • Avangard Omsk Region (stars: ex-Cap Jaromir Jagr, Martin Skoula, Marek Svatos, Kari Ramo) is one of the most successful and richest teams in the league.  They are currently fifth in the East.

How is this fight unlike its predecessors? For the first time, one team didn’t fight at all, the Hawks (Avangard’s nickname) were simply pummeled by the Vityazes (Vityaz is a Russian knight). Vityaz started their thugs (Verot, Simon, Sugden, Gratton) and sent them after Avangard immediately following the opening face off.

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D.J. King: Did the Caps Need a Regulator?

Since Donald Brashear parted company with the team in 2009, we’ve been hearing that the Caps need an enforcer. Apparently to sate these voices, GMGM picked up Dwayne “D.J.” King during the offseason.  Before Tuesday, all we really knew of the guy is that he does not provide a blockbuster interview. But during  Tuesday’s game with the Bruins, we saw D.J.’s expertise in action.  Without any clear provocation, King and Shawn Thornton sparred at center ice.

Washington Post’s Katie Carrera observed,

After his first fight in Washington, it’s hard to imagine many teams will want to take many liberties against the Capitals this season when King has dressed for a game.

This is the good-as-gospel rationale about enforcers we keep hearing: by virtue of having one on the roster, our guys won’t get smacked around quite so much. At the risk of echoing  a lovely piece by Stephen Pepper on Japers’ Rink last year, I just don’t see it.

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KHL-Vityaz-Chekhov-VS-Avangard-Omsk-691-Penalty-Minutes-January-2010

Russian fans are very, very passionate about hockey. If you need proof, look no further than the buildup for the upcoming KHL game between heated-rivals Avangard Omsk and Vityaz Chekhov. Avangard’s best player is former DC malcontent Jaromir Jagr, while Vityaz – known more for its boxing than hockey skill – has former Caps Brandon Sugden, Chris Simon, and Darcy Verot filling out their ranks.

The team’s beefs with each other have been simmering for a while now, stemming from one sad event. During the 2008-09 KHL season, Avangard’s Alexei Cherepanov passed out on the bench during a game against Vityaz in Chekhov. He later died. The cause of his death filled headlines in Russia for years, with both teams getting their fair share of the blame. Wikipedia’s wordy explanation is the most fair:

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USA Network Pilot Season Will Include NHL-based Hourlong

Nikki Finke of Deadline Hollywood provides this summary:

STICK
Chris “Stick” Blake is a player in the NHL prominently featured in the majority of the top 10 hockey fights on YouTube. He just got suspended from his team, and now has to attend court ordered anger management classes. He’s not a bad guy… he just loses it when people are bullied. After an old friend shows up with a life-threatening problem, Stick focuses his considerable energies on solving it and discovers a new line of work—helping people that the law can’t. From writers Mark Altman & Steve Kriozere (“Castle”) and Executive Producers Steve Stark (“Medium,” “Girlfriends”) and Russ Buchholz (FACING KATE). From Universal Cable Productions.

This raises many questions:

  • Will the NHL license/endorse a show whose main character is a shamed ex-player famous for fighting?
  • Will that player have been suspended under the new headshot rule?
  • Can the player be a Capital? (Please!) Will the show be set in D.C. (or Vancouver passing for D.C.)?
  • Can Chris Simon act?  Is Donald Brashear available for cameos? (Answer: yes)
  • If picked up, how many episodes in before an ice skate is used as a murder weapon? If it happens, even odds that the victim is an official.

Just because a show is picked up in pilot season does not guarantee it ever gets produced or makes it to air.  In fact, most shows that we hear about are so apocalyptically awful, we never here from them again.  We’ll keep you posted on STICK.

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Caps in Russia: Updates on Kozlov, Fedorov, Zednik, Jagr & More

Richard Zednik and Chris Simon chat during a KHL Game

We Miss You, Sergei.

We Miss You, Sergei.

We finally have another update from Fedor Fedin. It’s been awhile, but it’s for good reason. Since the KHL is about to wrap up the first half of it’s current season, we  gave Fedor the tall task of tracking down every KHL player with any Washington Capital ties and asked him to let us know how they’ve been doing – good or bad.  So basically if a guy has played for the Capitals in the past (Andrei Nikolishin), played on one of our AHL Affiliated Teams (Brandon Sugden), or been drafted by the team (Dmitri Orlov), they’re on the list.  We thought this was a good idea because we honestly miss some of our favorite erstwhile Caps from the past like: Viktor Kozlov, Sergei Fedorov, Richard Zednik, and Chris Simon, and thought this would be a great opportunity for everyone to get caught up.  Sadly, that human-ball-of-waste known as Jaromir Jagr is on the list, too, but since he’s one of Fedor’s favorite players on Avangard Omsk, we’re going to let it slide.

Anyways, below the fold is a huge table full of stats and information on all the Former Caps in the KHL.

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