Ovi celebrates his goal. (Photo credit: Championat.com/Getty Images)
Despite allowing the first goal, the Russians dominated the Finns for almost the whole game, winning 6-2. Evgeny Malkin scored a hat trick, while Alex Ovechkin, Denis Kokarev and Sergei Shirokov each added a goal of their own.
Top-seeded Team Russia defeated Team Norway today with a score of 5-2 to advance to the semifinals of the World Championship being held in Stockholm. Alex Ovechkin and Alex Semin joined their national team on the ice for the first time and had an immediate impact, with Ovechkin scoring the first goal of the night and Semin providing two assists.
Ovechkin broke a World Championships pointless streak stretching back through all five games of last year’s tournament, scoring nearly eight minutes into the game. His tally began with teammate Alex Semin going strong to the net with the puck, allowing the Russian superstar to collect a rebound behind Norwegian goalie Lars Haugen. Ovechkin then knocked the puck in when he attempted to center the puck.
Meanwhile, half a world away, at Team Russia’s training facility Novogorsk, the Caps’ highly touted prospect, Evgeny Kuznetsov, is quietly preparing for his first World Championship tournament (at least when the power doesn’t go out). Kuznetsov found some time to talk to the Dinara Kafiskina of Sportbox.ru about his KHL playoff experience, his chances to make Team Russia’s final roster for the, and… ah, who are we kidding? We know you only care about one thing: Is Kuzya coming to Washington? Sure enough, that very question comes up at the very end of the interview.
Follow us past the jump for our translation and analysis.
R-Sport’s Alyona Shilova talked to Evgeny Kuznetsov about… you guessed it: heading to the NHL. Kuznetsov reveals that Washington has made an offer to him, but he has not responded.
Alyona Shilova: How do you feel? Is it possible to grow professionally here, in the KHL?
Evgeny Kuznetsov: Yes, that’s a very good level. Possibly our league will be on the same level as the NHL soon.
Alyona Shilova: During the playoffs you said you’ve made the decision regarding your future: you will stay for one more year… Has anything changed or you said it not to get asked this question for some time?
Evgeny Kuznetsov: I wanted people to leave me alone for some time. You get tired of that. April 30th [KHL qualifying offers deadline] will come. Traktor will have to make me an offer, and we’ll see then. There’s no talks about that yet. I can’t do anything yet, I can only think, dream and talk about it all the time with everybody.
The Evengy Kuznetsov saga continues. After making comments to Russian television indicating he wanted to remain in Russian next season and then backtracking, the time for Kuznetsov to make his decision has come. Kuzya’s KHL team, Traktor Chelyabinsk, was eliminated from the playoffs in the Eastern Conference Finals in five games. He had two goals and two assists in the series.
He now has two options: sign Traktor’s qualifying offer worth around $1.5 million per year with the possibility of receiving an unknown KHL stipend or bolt to the NHL and sign an NHL entry level contact worth a maximum of $925,000 a season plus possible signing and performance bonuses. There are also outside factors likely to be at play — Kuznetsov was married last year and moving to America would be a big step for the 20-year-old non-English speaker. Kuznetsov is a part of the Russian national team so we likely won’t know anything until after the World Championships, taking place in Helsinki and Stockholm throughout May.
Evgeny Kuznetsov sprints down the wing during Game 1.
In the first two games of the KHL’s Eastern Conference Finals, Traktor managed to split their home games with Avangard. Evgeny Kuznetsov, who just came off a dominant, five-goal performance in the Semifinals, continued his torrid pace, netting two goals and an assist in Games 1 and 2. Let’s review.