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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.

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Evgeny Kuznetsov’s Salary is in the KHL’s Top Ten

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.

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Traktor Loses 7-0 In Evgeny Kuznetsov’s Return

Photo credit: Vitaly Gubin/HC Traktor

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.

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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.

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Photo credit: metronews.ru

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.

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Olympic rings at the Sochi airport. (Photo credit: Alexey Maishev)

For the record, Peter makes awesome videos, both in style and substance.

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?

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This story was inevitable. Russia’s strict laws regarding gay people and the upcoming Sochi Olympics have put some of our favorite players in awkward position. Luckily, Alex Ovechkin acquitted himself perfectly well during media time on Monday. Pavel Datsyuk and Ilya Kovalchuk did not fare as well. This is going to get worse before it gets better.

Note: My opinion is my own and does not necessarily reflect all of RMNB.

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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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[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.

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Photo credit: Sport-Express

When you’re super-famous, I guess you get asked to do some bizarre things. Alex Ovechkin has danced to shill for Eastern Motors, operated as hypeman for his boy Sasha Belyi, and modeled to promote a winter clothing-line for Nike. General rule: if Ovi is doing something other than hockey, minds are gonna get blown.

That’s why I was intrigued when news broke that Ovi and his compatriots sang to promote the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi. How would his voice sound? Tenor or baritone? Could he possibly improve on the lyrical perfection of Champion? We didn’t know. We had only photos.

Until now.

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.

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