Dmitry Chesnokov

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  • Slava Voynov finalizing contract in KHL, but it’s complicated

    Slava Voynov’s journey home to Russia last month was not something he expected to happen so early in his career. But after pleading “no contest” to a misdemeanor charge of spousal abuse and spending 90 days in jail, Voynov left North America for his homeland while still under suspension from the NHL and the Los Angeles Kings.

    However, as soon as he started skating at the Russian national team training facility over a week ago with the national team coach Oleg Znarok, his future in the KHL became a topic for debate. “My emotions are positive,” Voynov said after the first skate. “It is a shame, though, that I am coming back under such circumstances.”

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    Voynov’s KHL rights belong to Traktor Chelyabinsk, and the team, supported by the governor of the region, made a substantial offer to have him play for the team. However, Voynov decided to play for SKA St. Petersburg together with Ilya Kovalchuk, who showed support for Voynov in Russian

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  • KHL vows not to cut player salaries, considers contraction next season

    The Kontinental Hockey League’s meeting between its president and the managers of its franchises was scheduled some time ago. But it took on new, vital importance this week thanks to the league’s crisis over the ruble’s drop in value and teams struggling to pay players.

    KHL President Dmitry Chernyshenko, still new to the job, revealed what course they decided to take to steady the league:

    “For the first time the KHL and its leadership met with member clubs to openly, without the media, discuss all internal questions, problems, challenges we are facing. We need to understand that I, as a new President of the League, was tasked by the Board of Directors with presenting a new development strategy for the KHL. The League right now is a serious developed product. This is not a situation where something needs to be saved. The task is to make it more interesting and appealing [emphasis added]…”

    The most interesting notes from the meeting:        


    According to Chernyshenko the League

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  • Will plummeting Russian ruble kill the KHL?

    The talk of actual hockey in the KHL has moved into the shadow of other topics. The most pressing: In light of the massive free-fall of the Russian ruble over the last two days, there’s a financial crisis the sheer volume of which the country hasn’t seen since 1998. 

    In two months, the Russian ruble lost half of its value to the U.S. dollar and the Euro. This is an ongoing crisis, which means that the exchange rate for the Russian currency has not bottomed out. The ineptness and reactive rather than proactive response from the Russian Central Bank has not has the desired effect on the markets.

    Arkady Rottenberg, President of Dynamo Moscow and one of the most influential people in the KHL, mentioned that the League should move away from the U.S. dollar.

    He said the following to Pavel Lysenkov of Sovetsky Sport, during media day for the Russian national team in Novogorsk:

    “We live in the Russian Federation, and all transactions are conducted in rubles.”

    But surely probably all

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  • The life and legacy of Viktor Tikhonov

    As the statement to R-Sport by CSKA’s General Director Igor Esmantovich read: “Victor Vasilievich Tikhonov passed away this morning at a hospital at 1 this morning after a long illness. CSKA Hockey Club is extending its deepest condolences and will take on all of the tasks related to the organization of the funeral.”  

    There is one member of the Hockey Hall of Fame in the Builders category from Russia/Soviet Union – Anatoli Tarasov. Considered the patriarch of Russian hockey, Tarasov was considered a tough disciplinarian, heavy handed with brutal training methods. All that coupled with the hockey sense like no other in the country at the time, he was the innovator and his teams won.

    If Tarasov was the patriarch, Tikhonov was his archbishop.

    Assuming the reign of power at CSKA in 1977, Tikhonov was the architect and the engineer of the Red Machine that was the pride of the entire country for the next 15 years. All of the pride that current Russian hockey players and fans feel when they

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  • Evgeni Kuznetsov would rather someone else win the Calder

    For the Washington Capitals, the arrival of Evgeni Kuznetsov late last season was a welcome addition. The Capitals have for years struggled to fill the second line center spot that was one of the Achilles heels for the club. Kuznetsov, who was selected by the Capitals in the first round of the 2010 NHL Entry Draft, was the prime player to fill that role.

    “I haven’t really comprehended exactly what was happening due to the short amount of time I spent playing in the NHL last season,” Kuznetsov shared his thoughts with me this week, regarding last season.

    With the arrival of the new coach Kuznetsov feels he has even a better shot now.

    “We have a new coach this season, so for me everything is new again.” Kuznetsov said. “And it is a plus for me in a way, because it is new for all of the guys here with the new coach. We are all equal here now. And it is a good thing. Everyone was expecting to play defense first and only, but it is not the case. We attack, and defensemen are encouraged to

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  • Is this the year for Alex Ovechkin?

    It was a few years ago when the Washington Capitals started rebuilding the hockey capital, encouraging their fans to “rock the red.” Led by the core of “Young Guns” – Alex Ovechkin, Alexander Semin, Mike Green and Nicklas Backstrom – the team was hyped to compete for the Cup for years to come. Alex Ovechkin was viewed as positively as anyone in the NHL.


    At some point it all started to change. The “Young Guns” were not so young anymore, and even lost one of their musketeers. Alex Ovechkin has – fairly or unfairly – become more of a villain in the eyes of a lot in the media and amongst fans. And the Washington Capitals are in search of a new identity yet again, after a major – and an overdue – overhaul in their front office after the end of last season.


    Alex Ovechkin is entering his 10th season in the NHL. And over the summer he has taken some time to reflect on the decade gone.


    “Of course I thought about it,” Ovechkin told me this week. “Time flies and you stop for a minute to
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  • Alex Ovechkin on plus/minus being overrated, asking Putin for cars and Barry Trotz

    Alex Ovechkin of the Washington Capitals spoke with Pavel Lysenkov of SovSport recently for another wide-ranging interview, one that covered everything from his injury at the world championships to asking Vladimir Putin for cars as gifts for his teammates to dealing with another new coach in D.C.

    Oh, and he also addressed his problem with plus/minus.

    Here’s the interview; the Russian language version is here.

    Q. After a disappointing season the Capitals started cleaning the house, and the head coach Adam Oates and the general manager George McPhee were let go, you said ‘It’s good that I wasn’t kicked out.’ Is this even possible? Ovechkin is the symbol of the city. You were given keys to the city!

    OVECHKIN: “This is business. Right now we are sitting, and suddenly I will get a call: ‘Man, you have been traded to another team.’ And I just bought a house, and haven’t made it my own yet.”

    And what to do with the house then? Sell it?

    “Why? I will keep it. I like living in Washington.”


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  • Lokomotiv crash investigation concludes flight crew was allowed to fly unlawfully

    Two and a half years after the plane crash that took lives of the entire Lokomotiv KHL team, authorities finished their investigations into the crash, concluding that the flight crew was allowed to fly unlawfully, according to First Yaroslavl TV Channel and Sovetsky Sport.

    Investigators performed forensic analysis of all evidence, interviewed hundreds of witnesses of the crash, spoke to the relatives of players and coaches and employees of Yak Service airline that was responsible for the flight. Following the investigation, only one person will be criminally charged as a result of the crash – the former deputy general director of Yak Service airline Vadim Timofeyev. Working at the airline he was responsible for flight operations. The prosecutors are charging Timofeyev with criminal negligence related to safety and operation of a plane. 

    The official spokesman of the Investigations Committee Vladimir Markov issued a statement saying, “The flight crew was unlawfully sanctioned to fly by

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  • Alex Ovechkin and the KHL? Medvedev ponders Kovalchuk path

    KHL President Alexander Medvedev has long desired to have Russian stars in the NHL come back home to play for his League. Last summer, Ilya Kovalchuk’s “retirement” followed by his signing with SKA blazed a path for others to follow.

    The question being asked now: Would Washington Capitals star Alex Ovechkin attempt to follow it?

    Medvedev, through a KHL spokesman, told earlier this month that, "Per the terms of our memorandum of understanding with the NHL as it relates to respecting player contracts, Ovechkin would only be free to join a KHL club if he negotiates his way out of his existing contract with the Washington club. Should that situation come to pass, I have no doubt there are KHL clubs who would have interest in his services."

    In a recent interview with, Medvedev went into further detail on Ovechkin and whether or not he’d make the jump to the KHL:

    Q. How possible is it, in your opinion, for Ovechkin to repeat what Ilya Kovalchuk did and come to the

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  • Carolina goalie Anton Khudobin wonders if Cam Ward is past his prime

    Cam Ward has played just 47 games in the last two seasons for the Carolina Hurricanes due to injuries. This season, he was 10-12-6 with a save percentage of .898. He’ll earn $6.7 million next season and then $6.8 million in 2015-16, after which he’ll become a free agent.

    Anton Khudobin was Carolina’s best goalie this season, is three years younger and costs over $4 million against the cap cheaper than Ward.

    Khudobin respects Ward. But he also feels like, perhaps, his time is over in Carolina.

    “Of course he is a strong goaltender. He is a good goaltender. No one is counting him out. They [Carolina] will decide what to do with him this year, this summer. Maybe he, how can I say, has presented everything he could have,” said Khudobin at a Russian National Team press conference on Monday.

    Presented everything he has with Carolina or in the NHL?

    “Maybe at this club. Maybe in his career. He has been playing in the NHL since he was 19,” said Khudobin.

    This should make for an interesting

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