Ovechkin and Alexei Yashin share a laugh before the game. (Photo: R-Sport)
On Saturday, Alex Ovechkin traveled 45 miles from his Moscow home to participate in the fifth iteration of Ilya Kovalchuk’s charity hockey game held in neighboring Chekhov, home of KHL Vityaz. The proceeds of the game, which translates to “From Pure Heart,” raised $16 million rubles (or slightly under $500k dollars) for various orphanages.
Evgeny Kuznetsov and Jan Bulis are two of the Traktor’s highest-paid players (Photo credit: Vitaly Gubin/HC Traktor)
Sports.ru has revealed the list of the 90 highest-paid KHL players. Unsurprisingly, Ilya Kovalchuk, who retired from the NHL to sign with SKA St. Petersburg, tops the list at $10.3 million per year (in US dollars). Alexander Radulov, who signed with CSKA Moscow a year ago, holds second place with $7.5 million per season. Sergei Zinovyev is inarguably the worst contract in the KHL. He’s a center in the last season of a five-year deal with Salavat Yulaev whose production has fallen dramatically during that contract, but he still makes $4.7 million per year, third highest in the league.
The list also features a few names that should be familiar to Washington Capitals fans.
Evgeny Kuznetsov is back for Traktor. After missing almost six weeks with a shoulder injury that required surgery, the Washington Capitals top prospect returned on the ice for a game against league’s top team, SKA St. Petersburg.
Editor’s note: Peter here. We’ve posted two translations in the last week about Alex Ovechkin possibly being wooed back to Dynamo Moscow while still under contract with the Washington Capitals. This idea seems outlandish, but given Ilya Kovalchuk’s recent defection and the vagaries of international hockey regulations, I wanted to get a better handle on the issue. Below is a conversation I had with Fedor Fedin that was educational for me and I hope will be for you as well.
On September 1st, Russia celebrated Knowledge Day. The national holiday marks the end of summer and the return of children to school. The day is marked by celebrations. At the beginning of the day, all the kids, dressed-up in their best clothing, present flowers to their teachers. And to call the kids to their classes an eleventh grader carries a first-grade girl on his shoulders as she rings a bell. It’s cute.
This year, Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin helped celebrate the day by visiting St. Petersburg’s boarding school #576 nicknamed Forward, along with sudden KHLer Ilya Kovalchuk and former San Jose Shark Alexei Semenov.
Also for the record, the recent law passed by the Russian Duma banning so-called propaganda of nontraditional relations to minors is hideous. Not necessarily because the Russian authorities in Sochi will be arresting athletes, journalists, or foreign spectators who are gay or show support for the gay rights cause by wearing a rainbow lapel pin – because they will not, and anybody who thinks otherwise does not understand a thing about Russia. And not because a gay teenager playing hockey somewhere in Ryazan or Ekaterinburg will now be prevented from coming out to his teammates – believe me, that kid is facing other, much more serious problems in his life, like getting through another day without being beaten into a bloody pulp. Will the law contribute to worsening of the public attitude towards gay rights? For sure. Will it be used against someone whose words or action rub the government the wrong way? Perhaps, but so could any other law in Russia. In my opinion, the real victims in this mess could be the many thousands of gay parents in Russia, who will now live their lives in fear of losing their children, adopted or biological. In their cases, how in the world do you avoid violating the aforementioned law – aren’t parents supposed to be role models for their kids, especially when they are minors?
[Ed note: After a year of doggedly researching and documenting the panoply of awfulness that are the Washington Capitals' rival cities and teams, the PuckBuddys' physicians grew concerned, recommending they take a nice, quiet rest somewhere so they could forget temporarily about hockey and focus instead on finger paints and macaroni art. Helpfully, Gary Bettman and Donald Fehr gave them just the right opportunity to lay down their burden.
Now, no longer able to keep them involuntarily committed, the Buddy's have returned to crash our net and empty the NHL's septic tanks that you, wisely, would rather not. Because that's just the sort of stand-up guys they are.
However, we caution they are still a bit on edge. So please, everyone...no sudden movements.]
The Scene: The pioneering urban anthropologist Ulf Hannerz once remarked “That which most repels us in other cultures is very often what lies buried and secret at the heart of our own.” Well, no he didn’t; I just made that up. But then again, I doubt that Ulf ever visited New Jersey.
YouTube User Alex12TV has published video of Ovechkin, Evgeny Malkin, Ilya Nikulin, Ilya Kovalchuk, Nikolai Kulemin, and Alex Radulov singing “Shaybu, Shaybu” with Russian pop star Irina Allegrova. It is delightful. In particular, I’m a fan of Alex Radulov’s air-drumming, Ovechkin’s excited hand motions, and — in general — the screaming, off-pitch singing.