Russian NHL players may be a tight-knit group, but they don't exactly know everything there is to know about each other.
For example, when asked what he knew about Capitals superstar and fellow Russian Alex Ovechkin, Flyers goalie Ilya Bryzgalov told reporters, "He's Russian. He wears No. 8. He signed a contract with Gillette."
Commercial endorsements aside, Bryzgalov said he hasn't studied much of Ovechkin's tendencies.
"I never had much experience to play against him," Bryzgalov said. "Only, I guess, two games (when Bryzgalov was with Phoenix)."
In their first meeting, Jan. 23, 2010, Ovechkin had a goal and an assist in a 4-2 Capitals win against the Coyotes. In last season's lone encounter, Feb. 14, 2011, Ovechkin was held to six shots on goal, while Bryzgalov turned aside 29 of 31 shots in a 3-2 Coyotes win.
Ovechkin said he didn't know much about Bryzgalov, either.
"I think everybody knows I have a Gillette contract," he said. "That's nothing new. … We played a couple times against him when he was in Phoenix. He's a big, huge goalie who reads the game well. We have to find a way to score some goals against him."
The pair was teammates on Russia's 2010 Olympic team, and Bryzgalov did say away from the ice, he and Ovechkin are friendly, and even had a barbecue together once.
"Not hamburgers," Bryzgalov said of the fixings. "Borscht, and kabobs."
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Just the feel for the direction they were headed and what they're trying to do, it just felt that this is a really good thing for this organization. They've got the pieces. We can put something together and go on a run or two and be together for a while, and I'm really excited about that opportunity. The team we have here has an opportunity to win, and that's the most attractive thing.
— Washington defenseman Matt Niskanen on why he decided to sign with the Capitals