There once was a time when Detroit was at the center of a Russian hockey revolution and the "Russian Five" helped the Red Wings to the top of the NHL.
In recent years, the greatest contingent of Russian players on this continent has shifted East to Washington, D.C., and no player has been more responsible for that than Alex Ovechkin. The Capitals have dressed as many as five Russians at a time, and guys like Ovechkin, Alexander Semin, Semyon Varlamov, Viktor Kozlov and Sergei Fedorov have been pivotal to the franchise's resurgence in the past five seasons.
Ovechkin is not only the face of the franchise, he is the reason why there is likely to be more Russians playing hockey in America's capitol city in the future. While other teams have taken fewer Russian players in the NHL Entry Draft in recent years, general manager George McPhee's stance has been that Ovechkin's presence will help in recruiting players to play for the Capitals.
"When I was younger, my favorite player was Mario Lemieux, but as I've gotten older I think the Russian colony here in Washington has become my favorites," former Capitals prospect Dmitry Kugryshev said during one of the team's developmental camps.