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Morning Reading List: Everyone's Going to the KHL

Is Viktor Kozlov heading to the KHL? (John McDonnell -- The Washington Post)

[Post on steriods bust coming up...]

Caps GM George McPhee says he can't confirm a report that veteran Viktor Kozlov, above, has signed with Salavat of the KHL.

Kozlov, however, told Russian newspaper Sport-Express last night that he plans to play in Russia next season. (Japers' Rink)

Meanwhile, Sergei Fedorov's agent says that while he's talked to the Caps about extending his client's contract, it's entirely possible that the 39-year-old forward could end up outside of Washington next season. One option, according to a Sport-Express report: playing for the KHL's Metallurg Magnitogorsk.

Three current Capitals have reportedly been in talks with KHL teams as of late, enforcer Donald Brashear being the third. Will any -- or all -- end up in Russia next season? Let's just put it this way: Money is a powerful thing.

Count The Sporting News' Craig Custance and Red Wings goalie Chris Osgood among those who aren't ready to see Fedorov walk away from the NHL:

Fedorov, 39, was a calming influence on the Capitals this season where he was a mentor to young Russians like Alexander Semin and Alex Ovechkin. Watching Fedorov beat Henrik Lundqvist in the third period of a first-round Game 7 also showed he still has an elite scorer's touch. The Capitals made serious strides this season, and Fedorov was a big part of that.
Detroit goalie Chris Osgood won two Stanley Cups with Fedorov and finds the trend of veteran Russians leaving the NHL early disturbing.
"To lose those guys is huge. We have to figure out a way to keep guys like Sergei and (Jaromir) Jagr and those great older veteran players," Osgood said. "I think it's important to have older guys like that, that younger European players can look up to when they get over here and understand how to handle themselves on and off the ice. That's what guys like Igor Larionov did for him."

Here's what Wings Coach Mike Babcock had to say about Fedorov yesterday (

Q. There's a report saying that Sergei Fedorov is about to sign with the Russian team, ending his NHL career. Do you feel his legacy, the Russian five, puck possession style, today in this organization?
MIKE BABCOCK: You know, I wasn't here for any of that. I don't know. I just hear about it. When Sergei came to play for me in Anaheim, I remember Sergei always saying to me, I never have the puck, Mike, I never have the puck. The D never pass me the puck. I never have the puck.
So I went back and I looked at our D. I compared to it Detroit's D. I knew why he never had the puck. He couldn't understand why we wanted to chip it ahead and race onto it all the time. Well, part of that is because if you don't have these people, what are you going to do?
Sergei has had a great career. I still think he can play in the league. I think he can play in the league here as a defenseman for sure. You know, I don't know about the report.

More on the Caps

Ottawa Sun's Don Brennan (hat tip to Alex Ovetjkin): "Pittsburgh advancing means more Sidney Crosby. Oh I know, he's such a great player, and all you people just love him to death. Frankly, I'm tired of watching him. Mostly, his interviews. He says nothing and does so unenthusiastically. But to me, his game lacks pizzaz as well. Give me Alex Ovechkin any day. He's a much more spectacular player and, unlike Crosby, he looks like he actually enjoys the job that gives him enough money to buy anything in the world he wants."

Who gets to play the Bruins at Fenway Park for the Winter Classic? The Caps and Flyers are rumored possibilities, but The Sporting Blog's Eric McErlain isn't so sure about Washington: "Like it or not, as much progress as the Capitals have made in terms of building their fan base -- and it's hard to overstate just how much progress they've made since the resolution of the lockout -- they simply don't have the same sort of hold on the Washington area that the Flyers have on Philadelphia."

Playoff Extras

The Penguins routed the Hurricanes last night, 4-1, to pull off a sweep and head back to the finals for the second year in a row. Sidney Crosby had two assists in the victory to extend his point streak to six games. (AP)

But the Pens are wary of the same result as last year in a potential Pittsburgh-Detroit rematch, says ESPN's Scott Burnside:

If there was a moment of celebration after this one, it was stunningly brief, as though this wasn't so much a victory as a brief stop along the way to some more exotic locale. The odd can of light beer, a couple of players sporting Eastern Conference championship hats, a couple of visitors ... that was it.
"You don't expect to get there. You work for it, but at the same time, it's a relief," Crosby said of being just four wins away from a championship for the second straight season. "We have another opportunity here. Sometimes, you go that far and you never get a chance to go at it for a while. Some of the older guys, I think Billy Guerin, it's been a while for him. And for the guys that were here last year, we know that they've got a special opportunity to go at it again, and we want to take full advantage of it."

The Red Wings' Valtteri Filppula has stepped up and shown his value as a fill-in for Pavel Datsyuk. (USA Today)

Nicklas Lidstrom and Datsyuk are both iffy for what could be a series-clinching Game 5 against the Chicago Blackhawks. (Detroit Free-Press)

By Lindsay Applebaum  |  May 27, 2009; 8:36 AM ET
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Next: Busted Steroids Dealer Says He Sold to Caps, Nats



Posted by: vjridgely | May 27, 2009 10:13 AM | Report abuse

im glad kozlov and federov are leaving for the khl that means we wont do something stupid and resign them so we can use that money else where

Posted by: vjridgely | May 27, 2009 10:14 AM | Report abuse

There are rumors that Slapshot might take a deal to work in the KHL too.

Posted by: Krazijoe | May 27, 2009 10:14 AM | Report abuse

Good that Slapshot is heading over to the KHL. He always did have a big head.

Posted by: LeftCoastCapsFan | May 27, 2009 10:25 AM | Report abuse

"Let's just put it this way: Money is a powerful thing."

What a terrible thing to imply about these 3 men. Kozlov and Fedorov are Russian. Maybe they want to play in their home country. Or maybe all 3 of them just want to play hockey and feel that they'll have a better opportunity to do so in the KHL.

Posted by: BGSU91 | May 27, 2009 11:42 AM | Report abuse

I think Kozlov knew he had no chance coming back here. He initially after the season said that he wanted to come back to us. But I think once GMGM discussed and digested of where we are in terms of cap and need they told Kozzy that they couldn't pay him $2.5 mil for 12-15 goals a year.

With Feds, Kozzy, Brashear we could clear up 7.5 mill in space.

We also have Jurcina, Morrison, Fehr, Shultz, Bourque all going into a possible arbitration.

Bottom line at some point we have to move forward, we played with these guys for 2 years. And had a good run of making the playoffs and winning SE Division. Now its time to retool and take the next step.

Would be nice to have Feds for 1 more year but given the Salary Cap era these types of players are the real casualty. Unless they are willing to play for 1-2 mil, like Roenick and Selanne then we have to move on.

Posted by: lightshow | May 27, 2009 11:50 AM | Report abuse

Tarik, I heard you are going to write a column for the Politbureau?

Posted by: 1of9000 | May 27, 2009 11:53 AM | Report abuse


oh please. Saying such things about a good comrade to the Caps. Er, I mean, friend to the Caps.

Good post Tarik, interesting, well balanced. I wonder if we'll ever get to see any KHL games on cable.

Would be great to see Feds here strictly as a defenseman, actually. But not at 3.8 mil. If he stays here he gets less money but at least he doesn't have to fly Air Kazakhstan all over Siberia. That's gotta be scary.

Posted by: WritingLight | May 27, 2009 12:56 PM | Report abuse

where is my khl contract?

Posted by: am_jim | May 27, 2009 1:07 PM | Report abuse

who is slapshot?

Posted by: deadskin | May 27, 2009 1:17 PM | Report abuse

Slapshot's the eagle mascot, deadskin. *scratches head*

Posted by: LeftCoastCapsFan | May 27, 2009 1:29 PM | Report abuse

Glad to see that Filppula is finally getting some recognition... he has the potential to be as good as Datsyuk and better than Zetterberg... it's scary how much talent the Wings have.

Posted by: MikeL-Caps91 | May 27, 2009 1:33 PM | Report abuse

Hope that the Kozlov and Federov deals with the KHL are finalized soon so we know our cap situation. I didn't think Kozlov was worth what we were paying him to play on the 1st or 2nd line. Federov is more versatile and could be used both as a PP specialist and on defense, but not for what the KHL team is offering. As a another poster said, this team has had a great run the last 2 years, but it's time to retool and either go with some younger players from Hershey and/or FA's to bolster the core of the team.

I also wouldn't be shocked to see the Caps let Morrisson walk if he is still looking for $3M/year. He simply isn't worth it and we need to upgrade our stay at home defenseman. Same can be said for Jurcina although his contract might be less.

Posted by: wizfan89 | May 27, 2009 1:41 PM | Report abuse

Forget the mascot, sport and colors, let's just hire the Oriole Bird as our new mascot!

Posted by: hockeynightincanada | May 27, 2009 4:38 PM | Report abuse

@ vjridgely

don't bother posting anything else after a "first"... it just makes your point (or lack of) seem even less thoughtful. However, congratulations on being able to count to one! Way to contribute.

Posted by: fricknoutstandin | May 27, 2009 5:22 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: suesue8709 | May 28, 2009 5:08 AM | Report abuse

Fedorov is going to Russia next Friday to consult with various clubs in the KHL. Remember KHL salaries are tax free. If Sergei signs with Metallurg Magnitogorsk for two years at $3.8 million per year he gets a chance to play with his brother Fedor who has already signed with them. Morozov and Yashin are already playing in the KHL. Maybe they like the bigger ice surface better or maybe they are just getting sick and tired of the obvious anti-Russian bias of North American NHL referees. His agent says Fedorov will also entertain offers from NHL clubs including the Caps. Babcock has been quoted as saying Sergei could play defense for his Wings right now. So who knows if Fedorov's days in the NHL are over.

Posted by: dwollkind | May 29, 2009 12:46 PM | Report abuse

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