After he was put on waivers by the Montreal Canadiens in December, former Capitals forward Alex Semin flew home to Russia and completed the 2015-16 season with Metallurg Magnitogorsk. Semin scored five goals and nine assists in 20 regular season games. In the playoffs, Semin did even better, notching seven goals and eight assists in 23 playoff games. Semin and Magnitogorsk won the Gagarin Cup as league champions.
Despite spending 11 seasons and playing 650 games in North America, Semin will not test the NHL free agent market. Instead, last Tuesday, Semin agreed to terms with Magnitogorsk. Sports.ru was the first to report the news.
Photo: Art Livak
Alex Semin is a champion.
Tuesday, the former Washington Capitals “Young Gun” and current 19-year-old Caps goaltending prospect Ilya Samsonov won the Gagarin Cup with Metallurg Magnitogorsk. Metallurg defeated CSKA Moscow at home in Game Seven, 3-1. The win comes after firing coach Mike Keenan part way through the season.
The Gagarin Cup is the KHL’s equivalent of the Stanley Cup. It is the same cup that Alex Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom kinda-sorta technically won while they played in the KHL during the lockout shortened 2012-2013 NHL season. Semin scored 7 goals and put up 15 points in 23 playoff games en route to the final Game Seven victory. Samsonov was the backup goaltender throughout the playoffs, but he did post a 2-2 record in 6 appearances with a 2.29 GAA and a .916 save percentage.
SKA’s mascot Firehorse is confused.
The KHL’s SKA St. Petersburg and Spartak Moscow may have set a record for the largest trade in hockey history as Spartak acquired 24 of SKA’s players and prospects for monetary compensation.
A few days after the Toronto Maple Leafs announced the signing of one of the KHL’s top young players Nikita Soshnikov from the Atlant Moscow Region, some interesting details about the move have come up.
Via Maple Leafs Hot Stove, here’s what Leafs’ Director of player personnel Mark Hunter had to say about the move.
We got a lead from Evgeny Namestnikov, who we hired as a scout for us over in Russia. He said come over to watch this young man who he liked a lot, who he coached.
The Maple Leafs hired Namestnikov, a former NHL player and father of current Tampa Bay Lightning forward Vlad, to scout for them while working as an assistant coach for Soshnikov’s Atlant. This went mostly unnoticed in North America, but Russia’s top hockey reporter Alexei Shevchenko, after confirming Namestnikov’s double affiliation, referred to situation as “awkward.”
I think what the Leafs did was an unfair practice and requires an NHL investigation regarding its legality and possibly prohibiting it in the future.
Photo: Dave Sandford
In an interview with SovSport on Saturday, Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin was asked straight up if he wanted to return to Russia next year. Ya know, to debunk the rumor once and for all so we could all move on. Instead, Ovechkin left the door open for a possible return and even sounded like he has put a lot of thought into the idea.
Sochi’s Olympic boss Dmitry Chernyshenko will face the hardest challenge in the KHL’s history in his first year as president. (Photo: Sergey Kuznetsov / RIA Novosti)
Russia’s financial crisis is in full throttle as the ruble fell below 65 to one dollar (as opposed to 33 one year ago), while Russia’s main export, oil, has fallen below 60 dollars per barrel for the first time since May 2009.
The changes in the economy will affect Russian hockey.
Like the changing of the seasons and the turning of the tide, you can depend on rumors of Alex Ovechkin returning to the KHL to pop up on a regular basis. You can set your watch to it, if you want your watch to be really unreliable.
On Thursday afternoon, we got our latest dose of Ovi-back-home panic, as quoted by Slava Malamud.
Dynamo Moscow boss Arkady Rotenberg has told Sportbox.ru "there is desire on (Ovechkin's) part" to return to the KHL. #Caps
— Slava Malamud (@SlavaMalamud) November 13, 2014
The full text of the interview isn’t quite so inflammatory.
A few years ago, Polish-born forward Wojtek Wolski came to the Washington Capitals as a reclamation project. Instead of becoming a permanent member in the team’s top six, he became a permanent denizen of Adam Oates’s doghouse and left for the KHL. Since then, he has had some success with Torpedo Nizhny Novgorod.
And by success I mean setting insane records. Today Wolski set the KHL record for the fastest hat trick ever. He did it pretty fast.
On Saturday, Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin participated in Ilya Kovalchuk’s charity hockey game, “From Pure Heart.” Also at the game was KHL president Alexander Medvedev.
A member of Sport-Express’s sports department caught up with Medvedev, asking a bunch of questions about the charity game and the KHL. At the end of their conversation, the interviewer asked a rote question about when Ovechkin and other Russian NHL stars might leave North America and come back home.
Medvedev’s answer was portentous.
Photo: Elsa/Getty Images
St. Louis Blues forward Vladimir Sobotka has signed a three-year contract with the KHL’s Avangard Omsk. It’s been reported by iSport.cz and translated to Russian by Sports.ru that Sobotka has a clause in his contract that would allow him to return to the NHL during any offseason. Reports of his salary have varied: the initial report by iSport had Sobotka’s salary at $4 million per year. Andy Strickland of CBS Sports Radio St. Louis tweeted that according to his sources Sobotka will be making $4.3 million average throughout the life of the deal. Sobotka’s agent Darryl Wolski tweeted that his client will be making just $2.8 million per year.
There’s even more confusion as to whether he could return to St. Louis or any other NHL team.
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