Top Washington Capitals prospect Evgeny Kuznetsov came into Friday’s game against Yugra on a roll: three goals in his last three games and loads of confidence leading Traktor back in the playoff picture.
Kuznetsov kept up the pace in a 4-3 overtime win for Traktor Chelyabinsk over Yugra Khanty-Mansiysk. And he did it in style.
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.
Friday, during a fan forum, Dynamo Moscow general director Andrey Safronov said that he’d talk to Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin about coming back to Russia. Ovechkin, a Dynamo alum who played for the club until 2005 as well as during the 2012 lockout, is under contract with the Capitals until 2021. The reigning Hart trophy winner is slated to receive $79 million over the next eight seasons.
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.”
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.
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.
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.”
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.
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.