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Photo credit: Sovetsky Sport

After Friday’s training camp session, Traktor Chelyabinsk announced their captain and assistant captains for the upcoming season. Konstantin Panov will wear the “C” while former Capital Jan Bulis and future Cap Evgeny Kuznetsov will be sporting the “A’s.”

But that’s not why you’re here. Earlier this morning, Sport.ru’s Igor Eronko tweeted out this quote from Kuznetsov: “I think i’ll return to Russia from NHL when I’m 30.”

It seems Kuzya is planning the return trip even before he’s arrived in North America.

As always, context is key. Kuznetsov is speaking to a reporter from a major Russian media outlet who has asked him a loaded question– something along the lines of “Why bother going to the NHL, Kuzya, if everybody is coming back home now anyway?” The 21-year-old Kuznetsov handled it deftly, showing respect to both the league in which he will be playing in this season and Ilya Kovalchuk, who has instantly become the face of the KHL and nothing short of the national hero upon announcing his return.

Kuznetsov is entering the final season of a two-year contract with Traktor that included an enormous bonus from the KHL to keep him at home.

I’ve translated the rest of Kuznetsov’s conversation with Alexey Mikushkin of Sovetsky Sport below.

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Kuzya is definitely taking this seriously. (Photo credit: HCTraktor.org)

Traktor Chelyabinsk’s KHL training camp started a few days ago. Sadly, Russian players have waved goodbye to their summers full of vodka-flavored borscht and two-a-day video game sessions. Traktor players are now working out together and doing off-ice team-led drills in downtown Chelyabinsk.

Washington Capitals prospect Evgeny Kuznetsov was there for his final KHL training camp on Tuesday, and thanks to a robust 44-picture photo gallery from HCTraktor.org, we can document the grueling session on the stationary bike, the jumping of rope until he couldn’t jump no mo’, the lifting of impossible weights, and the kicking of legs up and down furiously at some hurdle thing.

Tuesday’s session was led by some old guy with a mullet. Embrace the summer content.

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Nicky, during his stint with Dynamo. (Photo credit: Fedor Uspensky / Sport-Express)

Nicklas Backstrom’s name will appear on the Gagarin Cup after all, KHL champions Dynamo Moscow announced Tuesday. Originally, the team decided not to engrave names of the players who played fewer than 26 games or weren’t with the team at the end of the regular season. Backstrom scored 25 points in 19 KHL games before flying back to Washington when the lockout ended.

Just like any other Russian matter, the organization has changed its mind after one Dynamo fan site posted an open letter to the club looking for more clarity. “It is unclear to us why the names of some players are absent on the prestigious trophy,” authors Artem Dorozhkin (Dynamo’s former PR guy) and Maxim Shcherbinin wrote. “We’re asking you to tell us the reason why certain players were left off the list the club submitted to the KHL. It will help avoid useless rumors among Dynamo Moscow fans.”

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We hardly knew ye. (Photo credit: Chris Gordon)

Washington Capitals goaltending prospect Sergey Kostenko has left the organization and will return to Russia to compete for a spot with his home team, Metallurg Novokuznetsk, the team’s head coach Alexander Kitov told Novokuznetsk Sports Portal. Last year, off-season shoulder surgery, several injuries, and an organizational goalie logjam limited Kostenko to just six games with the ECHL’s Reading Royals. Later in the season, Kostenko was loaned to the Ontario Reign where he made three more starts.

Kitov also commented on the future of two other Novokuznetsk-natives: Capitals defenseman Dmitry Orlov and Winnipeg Jets forward Ivan Telegin.

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Ovechkin, Komarov, and some body parts of Backstrom during their stint with Dynamo. (Photo credit: HC Dynamo)

On Wednesday, Dynamo Moscow beat Evgeny Kuznetsov‘s Traktor Chelyabisnk to win the Gagarin Cup for the second straight year. After the win, some Russian media outlets reported that Alex Ovechkin‘s name will be engraved on the Cup as he played in more than half of the regular season games with Dynamo. Ovi also said he’s going to get a championship ring.

Today those same outlets, Sovetsky Sport particularly, pulled a CNN and denied their own report (and unpublished the original stories), claiming that Ovechkin, Nicklas Backstrom, and Leo Komarov doesn’t fit the definition of “loaned” players. A loaned player in the KHL is a player who was sent down to a minor professional league like the VHL. Since their contracts were voided when the three went back to the NHL, the number of games played is irrelevant. Technically, Ovechkin, Backstrom, and Komarov are no longer part of Dynamo.

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Dynamo forward Denis Kokarev celebrating the victory. (Photo credit: RIA Novosti/Alexey Filippov)

Alex Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom‘s former KHL team, Dynamo Moscow, has beat Evgeny Kuznetsov’s Traktor Chelyabinsk 3-2 in overtime to secure a championship win in game 6 of the Gagarin Cup finals, taking the hardware home for the second straight year.

Despite a few good chances, Caps prospect Evgeny Kuznetsov, was held without a point. Kuznetsov had eleven points in 25 games during his team’s long playoff journey.

Back in Washington, Ovechkin and Backstrom shared their happiness via Twitter.

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Just because the NHL lockout ended three months ago doesn’t mean that the channel Russia 2 is going to stop using Alex Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom in promos for Dynamo Moscow games. During the channel’s coverage of Sunday’s Manchester United/Chelsea game, Ovi and Nicky popped up in an animated promo at the bottom of the screen, encouraging viewers to watch the CSKA/Dynamo Moscow playoff series. Because they’ll be there! Er…

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Photo credit: Vitaly Gubin / HC Traktor

Two days after a meteorite struck his hometown of Chelyabinsk, the normally-talkative Evgeny Kuznetsov was quiet. The Washington Capitals prospect and 20-year-old forward made no statement on Twitter. On Sunday, Kuznetsov let us know he was okay with a big breakaway goal in Traktor Chelyabinsk’s final game of the regular season, a 4-1 win over their biggest KHL rival, Metallurg Magnitogorsk.

Video below the jump.

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Best Friends

hahahahaha, best friends)))))) (Photo credit: dynamo.ru)

While the NHL and NHLPA race to a January 11th deadline to save the season, we’re reminded how weird future Capitals/Hurricanes games are going to be once/if the lockout is lifted.

Alex Ovechkin and Dynamo Moscow took on former Capital Alex Semin and Torpedo Nizhny Novgorod on Friday. And in Ovi’s first game since getting engaged to Maria Kirilenko, the Russian machine tallied two points, including his 19th goal of the season, the game-winning tally. Dynamo would win 3-1.

Video of Ovechkin’s goal is below.

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Alex Ovechkin Scores Angry Goal While Falling Down

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GIF by welshhockeyfan

Don’t make Alex Ovechkin angry. The Montreal Canadiens learned this lesson a few years ago when Francis Bouillon bloodied the Russian machine and he responded by scoring four goals — including the overtime game-winner.

On Sunday, Ovechkin, perhaps peeved after seeing his 14-game point streak end and his BFF Nicky sidelined from a neck injury, took a rare “handling the puck with his hands” penalty during the second period. Then, from the penalty box, he watched CSKA Moscow score on the resulting power play. Ovechkin scored on his next shift. Quickly. Emphatically. Angrily.

As Konstantin Gorovikov hit Ovi with a pass, the Capitals captain skated towards CSKA’s net decisively, easily curling and dragging around Denis Denisov, and then scoring on Rastislav Stana while falling to the ice. Ovechkin’s celebration? HULK ROAR.

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