Photo: Nash Futbol via Sports.ru
After training and skating with future aviators last week, Alex Ovechkin decided Sunday was the right time to take a load off, attending a CSKA Moscow / Spartak Moscow soccer game at Arena Khimki in Northwestern Moscow. CSKA and Spartak are heated rivals of the Russian Premier League. Spartak won 1-0.
On June 1st, Washington Capitals rookie forward Evgeny Kuznetsov traveled to the city of Kopeysk, located in the region of Chelyabinsk, to play a friendly. Every Children’s Day, Kopeysk hosts a charity soccer game. This year’s pitted hockey players against the city’s district administration.
Kuznetsov, joined by KHL players Georgy Gelashvili, Danis Zaripov, Anton Burdasov, defeated the city officials, but it took an extraordinary effort by the Caps young gun.
(Yes, we’re writing seriously about a soccer game right now. Summer can’t end soon enough.)
Grabovski’s player ID from the Belarusian Football Federation. (Photo: Pressball.by)
Early Monday, the television channel Belarus-1 reported news that I’m not sure any of us were expecting. Unrestricted free agent Mikhail Grabovski has signed a new deal, but it’s not with a hockey team. It’s with the Krumkachy Minsk (Minsk Ravens), a soccer club in Belarus’ Second League.
Ravens chairman Denis Shunto announced the news on TV, saying that Grabovski will suit up for the team in late July. For those of you beginning to worry, we have been assured that while Grabo will indeed play for the Ravens, it’s intended more as a summer workout for next year’s hockey season than a change in career.
Before every game, the Washington Capitals usually play soccer. That’s what you get when half your team is European.
The players usually form a circle and kick a soccer ball around in the air. In addition to waking up their muscles and tuning hand-eye coordination, the kickaround is a common team-building activity.
Except tonight, either because the players wanted to change things up due to their seven-game losing streak or because they forgot to pack the right equipment– the players used a giant yoga ball instead of soccer ball. CSN opened their telecast with a clip. It was silly.
Whoops. (Photo credit: Marc DesRosiers)
Maybe we should reconsider if we actually want that as it seems Grabo forgot how to play the sport of hockey during the Ottawa Senators game.
Sorry, ladies. Shirts stayed on this time. (Photo credit: slo-vo.ru’s Naumkov Yaroslav)
It’s summer, and Washington Capitals super-prospect Evgeny Kuznetsov has nothing to do. Along with some Traktor teammates, Kuznetsov recently participated in a charity soccer game against a team of municipal bureaucrats from the Chelyabinsk suburb of Kopeysk. Of course the local media was there to report on every shot, pass, and save by the hometown hockey heroes.
Without hesitation, Kuznetsov volunteered for goalkeeping duty – only to suffer the ignominy of allowing a goal in the game’s first minute. Kuznetsov was nutmegged (i.e. like a five-hole, but more embarrassing). Undaunted, Kuzya carried on with the game. Not limited to a defensive role, Kuznetsov was active in organizing his team’s offense as well, volunteering to take his team’s penalty kick. So did teammate Stanislav Chistov. Paper-scissors-rock was chosen to resolve the stalemate, and Kuzya was forced to yield. The game ended in a 7-7 tie and settled by the universally hated penalty kicks, won by Kuzya and his boys. As if anybody cares.
Meanwhile, RMNB readers can look forward to next summer and the inevitable barrage of pictures featuring Ovi, Dima, Stan, and (finally!) Evgeny kicking a soccer ball somewhere in Arlington. Maybe Orly won’t get stuck in goal next time!
Alex Ovechkin has been scoring a lot of goals lately — 17 in his last 15 games — making him the NHL’s league leader. At the Capitals’ season-ticket holder party at Six Flags on Sunday, he proved that his touch transcends hockey. Ovi for
Hart whatever trophies soccer players get!
break head you.”
Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin didn’t score in Dynamo Moscow’s 4-3 shootout win over Salavat Yulaev on Saturday, but he did have eight shots on goal in 22:09 on ice. Twice he shot for Dynamo in the skills competition and twice he came up empty. But that’s okay. The coolest part of today’s game was what actually happened before it, as the Russian language television channel TNV captured Ovi and his Dynamo teammates performing a pre-game ritual with which we Capitals fans should be pretty darn familiar.
Ovechkin, in his constricting (see below) bright, red Capitals shorts, kicked around the soccer ball outside of the locker rooms in Kazan with his Dynamo teammates, who were all in their dark blue team-issued sweats.
Photos expertly taken by Perry Keating. (Copyright Perry Keating 2012)
Soon after representing the NHLPA in Toronto, Alex Ovechkin was back at home in Virginia playing soccer with his shirt off. Along with girlfriend (and Olympic bronze medalist!) Maria Kirilenko and Capitals teammates Stan Galiev and Dmitry Orlov, Ovi kicked the ball around on Wednesday night, letting us all know he’s fit and active during this hopefully not overlong offseason.
This is just the latest in the continuing saga of A.O.’s love affair with unamerican football. Recall if you will last year’s world champs, when Team Russia ditched morning workouts to kick the ball around sans shirts. And also that time Ovechkin wore that thing at that place that made us giggle.
Ovechkin’s fitness comes as a huge relief to the Caps community, who last summer suffered terribly under the extinction-level crisis we now know as Fat-Gate. Ovechkin appears lithe and healthy here, which is exactly what any rational person would expect of an elite professional athlete.
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