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Russia’s war in Ukraine has turned the mundane, such as flying back to North America for the hockey season, into a politically charged operation for some Russian NHLers who flew back to their home country this summer. Wild superstar Kirill Kaprizov was denied entry to the US twice due to visa issues and is wanted for allegedly buying a miliary ID card in 2017 (he is now in the US) while Ivan Fedotov was possibly poisoned and taken to a military camp for evading service after signing a contract with the Philadelphia Flyers.

With Evgeny Kuznetsov and Alexander Alexeyev in North America, only Russian capitals under contract, Alex Ovechkin and Dmitry Orlov, are out of the country. Ovi and Orly played in a charity hockey game in Moscow with Artemi Panarin on Saturday.

After that, Orlov mentioned his travel plans.

“I will fly to the USA somewhere at the end of August, there are no problems,” Orlov told R-Sport via Google translation.

As for Ovechkin, there were some rumblings behind the scenes that he would return in August as well. Last season, the captain returned to DC in early September. Ovechkin flew back with Orlov for the start of the 2020-21 season.

Capitals general manager Brian MacLellan was asked if there was concern or uncertainty about the two players returning to the team after free agency began in July.

“I haven’t heard anything,” MacLellan said of the sensitive topic. “As far as I know, there is no concern about them coming back to North America.”

The Capitals’ first preseason game is on September 25. Training camp would begin the week before.

Orlov touched on several other relevant topics during the interview, including his offseason workouts.

“Physically I feel good, I have been training for a long time,” he said. “I am satisfied with the current form, although I need to lose a few extra pounds. The preparations are going according to plan.”

Orlov also admitted he was heartbroken to see Ilya Samsonov, the team’s young goaltender he was close with, leave over the offseason. The Capitals did not tender Samsonov a qualifying offer, allowing him to leave as an unrestricted free agent. Sammy signed a one-year contract with the Toronto Maple Leafs worth $1.8 million.

“Of course it’s sad and disappointing when a Russian guy leaves the team,” Orlov said. “But now he has a new chapter in life, good luck to him. As for the pick of Ivan Miroshnichenko in the first round, I’m happy with him. Again – a Russian guy in the team, God forbid he goes as soon as possible trained. We are waiting for him in Washington.

Miroshnichenko is recovering from Hodgkin’s lymphoma and is slowly trying to get back into playing shape for next season.

Иван Мирошниченко is signed to us. And t? 😉

— ХК Авангард (@hcavangardomsk) July 28, 2022

Caption photo: Elizabeth Kong/RMNB

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