Photo credit: Jared Silber

So, it’s the Rangers again. For the fifth time in seven seasons, the Washington Capitals will square off against the folks from Madison Square Garden in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. These series have produced signature moments in Capitals history, such as Sergei Fedorov‘s game seven winner in 2009, and crushing defeats, like when the Rangers outlasted the Capitals by just one goal in game seven of the second round in 2012, booking a spot in the Eastern Conference Final. But, as is their pattern this year, the Washington Capitals will tell you this team is different. They don’t pay attention to the past.

“All that old stuff, get rid of it,” head coach Barry Trotz, in his first year with the Capitals, said. “Let’s look to a new era. Let’s build something.”

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Not sure. (Photo: championat.com)

Before getting injured on Sunday by German enforcer Markus Kink, Washington Capitals forward Alex Ovechkin was having a splendid World Championships. Team Russia, for whom he is captain, is undefeated in six games with a plus-23 goal differential — the highest in the tournament. Ovechkin ranks second in points in the tournament. Plus, he got to ride a tank and shoot off guns and stuff.

Speaking to reporters for twenty minutes on Friday, Ovechkin spoke about a wide range of fun topics. He talked about his duties as captain for Team Russia, his on- and off-again relationship with Evgeni Malkin, and if he’d ever leave for the KHL. Ovechkin also was asked about his upcoming wedding (which, c’mon, that’s inevitable) and his ideal linemates. He really misses Sasha Minor and Sergei.

RMNB’s Igor Kleyner has translated most of the press conference, transcribed by Sport-Express, below.

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Photo credit: AP

Newsflash: former Washington Capitals center Sergei Fedorov is playing hockey again. The Russian legend — who retired two years ago after spending two seasons with KHL’s Metallurg Magnitogorsk to become the general manager of CSKA Moscow — played in a Spengler Cup game today against the Rochester Americans. Fedorov played on the second line with Ilari Filppula and Igor Saprykin.

CSKA won 4-3 and Fedorov didn’t do much. He had two shots on goal. But who cares? He played an actual hockey game again. That’s worth celebrating.

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CSKA Acquires KHL Rights to Dmitry Orlov

Dmitry Orlov during his stint with Metallurg Novokuznetsk in 2009-10 season. (Photo credit: Metallurg Novokuznetsk)

CSKA Moscow, managed by former Washington Capitals forward Sergei Fedorov, has acquired the KHL rights to prospects Dmitry Orlov (of the Washington Capitals) and Ivan Telegin (of the Winnipeg Jets) from Metallurg Novokuznetsk in exchange for financial compensation. Both Telegin and Orlov are hometown kids and alumni of Metallurg. After playing in the same system for many years, they know each other very well; they’re even friends.

Orlov, 22, was assigned to the American Hockey League’s Hershey Bears to start the year after being unable to make the Caps roster out of camp. He’s in a tight competition for spots with many other young defensemen in the organization like Nate Schmidt and Tomas Kundratek. He played 60 games for Washington in the 2011-12 season before two concussions sidelined him and lost him his spot in the NHL. With Jack Hillen out four-to-six months, now may be the time for Orlov to step up and take back his position in the NHL before it’s too late.

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Sergei Fedorov Still Uses His Capitals Gear (Photo)


Photo credit: Alexey Shevchenko

There have been some absurd rumors floating around Russia that former Capital Sergei Fedorov is considering a comeback at age 43. While that is about as likely as the Redskins changing their name, Fedorov has been skating with the team he is the general manager of, the KHL’s CSKA Moscow, every now and then. Wednesday was one of those instances.

Russian journalist/funny man Alexey Shevchenko photographed Fedorov’s sweaty gear in the locker room and instagrammed the following sarcastic comment: “Sergei Fedorov’s workplace. Peak of offseason preparation. I’ll remind you that this year SE [Sport-Express] said he will play. In the KHL. Play in the KHL.”

What I’m more interested in, however, is in the middle of the photo. Fedorov still uses his #91 Capitals bag from Washington. He appears to have left DC with different feelings than Alex Semin.

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Photo credit: allhockey.ru

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.

Highlights below.

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Alex Ovechkin skating with Dynamo in 2010. (Photo credit: Sport-Express)

Over the weekend, it was widely reported that Alex Ovechkin‘s former Russian Super League team, Dynamo Moscow, would try to sign the Capitals captain if the NHL enters into a lockout on September 15th. According to rsport.ru, Dynamo general manager Andrei Safronov said to the press, “[Leafs’ forward Leo] Komarov (who played on the team last year) will come. We will talk with Ovechkin. It will be up to the head coach.” And headlines across Russia and North America followed.

Well apparently, not everyone in Dynamo’s front office are as open to Ovechkin returning — even for a potential asking price of $3 million (plus insurance). In an extended meeting with the press on Sunday, president Arkady Rotenberg distanced himself from Safronov’s earlier comments.

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Photo credit: Greg Flume

The final day of media availability is often referred to by reporters as the longest day of the year — and probably the least enjoyable. The news about Dale Hunter deciding to go back to his digs in London created a lot of buzz, and stories were told– like about how Jay Beagle tried to put his skates on over his swollen, broken foot before Game Six. But the general mood was one of somber –- not surprising, given how close the team came to Eastern Conference Finals.

The Capitals have a handful of free agents to deal with during this offseason, but none of them are as high-profile or as controversial as Alexander Semin. Will he bolt for the riches of the KHL, sign with another NHL team –- or return to the Capitals? I didn’t expect a straight answer to the question, so we just talked about… well, whatever he wanted. That includes Hunter hockey vs. Boudreau’s open style, the success of Braden Holtby, and his ice time.

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All photos via the KHL’s Facebook Fan Page.

On Saturday, the KHL will host their 3rd annual All-Star Game in Riga, Latvia. Former Washington Capital Sergei Fedorov will be captaining one team at the game — a team that includes Caps prospect Evgeny Kuznetsov, who has 16G and 15A as of the All-Star break, leading Traktor Chelyabinsk in scoring. Kuznetsov was nominated as a starter for the game by a landslide fan vote, finishing second overall in all voting.

Ahead of the KHL’s All-Star Game, Fedorov spoke to Sport Express’ Dmitry Kuznetsov about Kuznetsov. Below the jump, Igor Kleyner offers a translation of the interview, where former Cap Fedorov talks Kuznetsov’s scoring, overwhelming fan popularity, and offers some perspective on the choice that’s coming up for Kuznetsov — whether to continue to play in the KHL, or make the jump to the NHL.

The 42-year-old future Hall of Famer also participated in a highly silly photoshoot to promote the All-Star Game, along with the other team captain and former NHLer Sandis Ozolins, which we’ve preserved here in a post for historical purposes. Please enjoy.

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Evgeny Kuznetsov speeds down the middle during Traktor’s game against Yugra Khanty-Mansiysk (Photo credit: Vitaly Gubin, Traktor PR Service)

Caps prospect Evgeny Kuznetsov, currently sitting in the top 15 in both goals and points (12g, 12a), was named a KHL All-Star for the second time on Monday. Unlike last season, Kuznetsov was overwhelmingly voted in as a starter this year by fans and will represent “Team Fedorov” of the Eastern conference. The 19-year-old Traktor Chelyabinsk forward finished second overall in total votes (33,800), trailing only Mikelis Redlihs of the Western Conference’s “Team Ozolins.”

To put Kuznetsov’s immense popularity in perspective, consider that he garnered more votes than reigning MVP Alexander Radulov, Roman Cervenka (the KHL’s leading scorer), Vladimir Tarasenko, and Russian National Team Captain Alexei Morozov.

Recently, Sovetsky Sport’s Pavel Lysenkov did a lengthy feature story on Kuznetsov, who some have called the new face of the KHL. Like most interviews with Russian players, the story starts off with questions about Vityaz Chekhov, who was recently beaten by Traktor on the scoreboard and tried to beat them back with their fists.

Most importantly to Caps fans, Kuznetsov discussed his possible NHL future, his contract situation, and who he idolized as a kid. Below the jump, I have the translation.

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