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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
On September 16, 2011, In Opinion, By Chris Gordon
Photo credit: Nick Wass
Editor’s note: To get you properly revved up for the season, each member of the RMNB crew will take a longing look back at some of our favorite goals from days gone by. You can call it nostalgia or cheap summer content, but it’s really a reminder: WINTER IS COMING.
I’m the young one, so allow me to use recent history.
It was April of 2009. With the Capitals making the playoffs for the second year in a row, I decided to give this hockey thing a shot. Up until then, baseball had always been my sport.
After enjoying a couple games on TV, I got tickets to Game 2 of Eastern Conference Quarterfinals against the Rangers. 60 minutes of play later, I was hooked. Really hooked. The Caps were shut out 1-0, but the excitement, the speed, the gritty beauty of game had me. So I got tickets again. This time: Game 7, 7PM April 28.
When a Caps Prospect goes above and beyond the call of duty, a one paragraph summary in Prospect Watch does not suffice. Today, we detail the fantastic first half of Evgeny Kuznetsov’s sophomore KHL season. Take it away, Fedor.
Kuznetsov gestures to Traktor fans during a post-game celebration. See the video below for more.
Evgeny Kuznetsovfell to the Caps at pick number 26. “We think he’s a very, very dynamic player,” McPhee said of Kuz at the time. ”He can skate, he thinks the game well, he moves the puck, he really attacks the net.” Braden Holtby agrees.
Fast-forward five months. You’ll find the 18 year-old tearing up the KHL in only his second season. Since being put on the “Young Guns Line” with Andrei Popov (a Philadelphia Flyers ’06 draftee) and Anton Glinkin, Kuznetsov has found some serious chemistry with his linemates. He has four goals and two assists in six games since the EuroHockeyTour break ended on November 17th. His team, Traktor Chelyabinsk, has won five straight games.
Alex Semin cries after receiving his silver medal.
Today, Russia’s 27 game World Championships winning streak came to a devastating end in a post-olympic rematch against Jaromir Jagr’s Czech Republic team. And much like the match in the Olympics earlier in the year, the pivotal play of today’s World Championships gold medal game was a huge Alex Ovechkin hit. But this time, it was the Russian Machine accidentally laying out and injuring one of his own teammates, Sergei Fedorov (above), which led to Tomas Rolinek’s game winning goal in the second period. Riding stellar goaltending from Tomas Vokoun and an incredible team defense, the Czechs took a 2 goal lead into the third period that they would never relinquish. Our beloved Ruskies fall to the Czech Republic 2-1. Silver has never tasted so bitter.
Like one would expect, the Russians came out and played with fire. But much like the Canadiens/Capitals series, most of Russia’s chances came from the perimeter. And the Czechs waited and pounced on any mistakes Russia made. A sense of real urgency only revealed itself towards the end of the third period. And by then it was too late for Russia.