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Photo: @washcaps

Brendan Witt spent his twenties on the Washington Capitals’ blue line. From 1995 to 2006, Witt loosened fillings and racked up PIMs in the old bronze and blue uniforms. If you grew up loving the Capitals at the same I did, Witt was a big part of your childhood.

So Witt’s hourlong studio appearance on DC101′s Elliot in the Morning on Friday was a big treat. Elliot Segal and Witt exchanged stories like old friends, which I suppose they are.  They talked about pranking Dale Hunter during the 98 finals, being Chris Simon‘s roommate, Jaromir Jagr‘s work ethic, and the disparate coaching styles of Glen Hanlon, Bruce Cassidy, and Ron Wilson– some very interesting opinions on that one.

They also talk about like 73 other topics. It’s a very long, very good interview.

Video below. Get down on it.

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Ovi to soccer ball: “I must stop you.” (All photos taken by Pavel Lysenkov of Sovietsky Sport)

Ahead of its quarter-final matchup Thursday with Canada, Team Russia assistant coach Igor Zakharkin ordered his players to abandon the team’s scheduled morning practice and instead play soccer at Rapid Stadium in Bratislava. Much like former Capitals head coach Ron Wilson, who would arrange team-building bowling outings when the Caps were struggling, Zakharkin is looking to take pressure off of his team.

Russia, who has lost two straight games and is 3-3 overall in the tournament, has not gelled at any point during their time in Slovakia and has played in five straight one-goal games. The dominant team that had won 27 straight World Championship games last year has not appeared. If they lose against Canada, Russia will be eliminated.

Zakharkin spoke with Sovietsky Sport’s Dmitri Ponomarenko and Vitaly Slavin about his decision to avoid the rink today and also discussed the shirtless soccer goalie above, Alex Ovechkin. Fedor Fedin has your translation.

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Catching Up with Capitals Great Olie Kolzig

Olaf Kolzig speaking at the 2011 AHL Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony

Photo by Chris Gordon

Olaf Kolzig is announced to the Hershey crowd as the Eastern Conference's Honorary Captain. (Photo by Laura G.)

Olaf Kolzig is announced to the Hershey crowd as the Eastern Conference's Honorary Captain. (Photo by Laura G.)

On Monday, the AHL formally inducted four new members into its American Hockey League Hall of Fame: Maurice Podoloff, Larry Wilson, Harry Pidhirny, and Mitch Lamourex. Foster Hewitt Award-winning broadcaster Mike Emrick was the master of ceremonies, while Caps’ head coach Bruce Boudreau served as the keynote speaker.

Among the honorees at the event was former Capitals great Olaf Kolzig. Kolzig, in Hershey to serve as the Eastern Conference’s Honorary Captain at the All-Star Game, was recognized for his six stellar seasons in the AHL. Olie backstopped the Rochester Americans to the Calder Cup Finals in 1993 and won the championship with the Portland Pirates in 1994, where he was also named playoffs MVP.

After the induction ceremony concluded, I caught up with Kolzig downstairs at the media luncheon in the Hershey Theatre. With the rare opportunity to speak to a childhood hero, I asked Kolzig about the Capitals’ run to the Stanley Cup Finals in 1998, the playoffs meltdown last year, and why he reunited with the team after their messy divorce three seasons ago.

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