While teammates Andre Burakovsky and Stan Galiev watched what the NFL billed as a “professional football” game in Maryland on Monday night, Evgeny Kuznetsov pal’d around D.C. with one of his idols, Detroit Red Wings center Pavel Datsyuk.
Kuzy posted a photo of himself with Datsyuk and an unidentified other serious-looking man Monday night, using the graduation cap emoji, presumably because he’s hoping to learn a thing or two from the Russian “Magic man.”
Ever since the Capitals drafted Evgeny Kuznetsov in the 2010 draft, the young Russian has tried to emulate Russian NHL superstars. One of those superstars is 37-year-old magic man Pavel Datsyuk, whom Kuznetsov will face tonight in Detroit.
After scoring one of the prettiest goals of the year, Pavel Datsyuk nabbed all the headlines after the Wings-Bruins game on Friday night. In the neutral zone, the 35-year-old Russian reached behind his body, pulled a puck through his legs, skated into Boston’s offensive zone, and scored. That was the game one game-winner.
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?
In one of the biggest KHL regular season games of the year, Alex Ovechkin, Nicklas Backstrom, and the rest of Dynamo Moscow crew took on Alex Radulov, Pavel Datsyuk, and CSKA on Friday. Ovechkin, who has been on a tear since he scored a hat trick last week, continued his production, scoring a powerplay goal and assisting on an empty-net goal by Nicklas Backstrom. Dynamo would win a barnburner 6-4.
Ovechkin now has 13 goals in 24 KHL games on the season. He’s also riding a 10-game point streak in which he’s scored 6 goals and 8 assists.
Over the last week, CSKA general manager and former Capital Sergei Fedorov has been a busy man, signing Ilya Bryzgalov, Pavel Datsyuk, and Mikhail Grabovski to lockout contracts. CSKA’s roster, which also includes former KHL MVP Alex Radulov, is much like the New York Yankees: they are rich, and they sign the best players.
Coming into Thursday’s game with Evgeny Kuznetsov‘s Traktor Cheylabinsk, it was obvious who the favorites were. But thanks to a stunning goal by Andrey Popov in the final minutes and a meltdown by Radulov, Traktor prevailed 4-3.
Pavel Datsyuk seemed tired, but satisfied, following Russia’s dominant 6-2 win over the Finnish national team. He did not score in the game, but with the victory, Russia will now have the opportunity to win its first World Championship gold medal since 2009.
His good mood did not mean, however, that he wanted microphones in his grill. “Don’t too close,” he said, watching the microphones. “It’s not ice cream, guys.”
This is probably not a week that you want to remember in great detail, things didn’t go, uh — exactly as planned, but don’t worry, we’ll whip right through this quickly and painlessly and move along, there’s another game tonight, so there’s no time for moping. The Caps went 1-3-0 this week with losses against the Lightning, the Canes, and the Sens. Sad trombone. And just because a TSN commentator chose to utter the words “How could things get worse for the Washington Capitals?”, Alex Ovechkin also suffered a lower-body injury, didn’t participate in multiple team skates, and missed the game in Ottawa. Despite all this, the week did end on a good note when Ovechkin caught the Brooks Laich fever and unexpectedly declared himself ready to go, and then promptly scored against Montreal in a game that the Caps won. It’s a huge relief that it ended well, but I think most of us are just glad this week is over.